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'It's kind of daft, it's a poor decision by Armagh to come on TV and reply to it'

Armagh county board chairman Paul McArdle appeared on The Sunday Game last night to tackle a number of recent “inaccuracies.”

Image: RTÉ Player

TOMÁS Ó SÉ wasn’t too impressed by Armagh county board chairman Paul McArdle’s decision to appear on The Sunday Game last night.

McArdle took the opportunity to avail of a ‘right to reply’ following a war of words between the county and pundit Joe Brolly.

RTÉ analyst Brolly was scathing in his criticism of Armagh senior football team boss Kieran McGeeney following the Orchard County’s dismal Ulster SFC collapse against Cavan eight days ago, and suggested that a number of Crossmaglen Rangers players don’t want to play for the county team.

That led to claims from ex-Armagh boss Paul Grimley that Brolly is “poisonous” and McArdle had his say last night in a pre-recorded interview.

He said: “We recognise in Armagh that we’re a small county, with limited resources but we still aspire to be back in the top 8 in Ireland.

“However, we have to do that within our means.

“We don’t have vast resources to pour into our senior county team.

In fact, this year, our spend is down significantly on the same time last year. Our county senior footballers have not been on a foreign training camp, nor indeed have they had a training weekend. 

“Kieran McGeeney fully understands this and indeed since he’s come back to Armagh, has been very instrumental in cost savings around the senior team.

“I’d just like to talk about the availability of county players to clubs. With our clubs’ backing this year, we restructured our Leagues and a key driver behind that was to widen the period where county players would be available to clubs.

“The claim that Armagh players don’t play for their clubs is simply incorrect.

“Stefan Campbell, for example, who’s been our most prolific forward this year, in the period up to two weeks before the Cavan game, he played in four of his club’s five League matches.

mcardle 2 Armagh county board chairman Paul McArdle on The Sunday Game last night.

“The claim that eight Crossmaglen players left our panel within two weeks is again, incorrect.

“Likewise, the suggestion that Kieran McGeeney will not work with Crossmaglen players is incredible, given that both James Morgan and Tony Kernan played for Armagh last Sunday and, as always, demonstrated their total commitment to the Armagh county team.

“Jamie Clarke relayed his own very personal reasons for not being involved this year and backed that up with his full support for Kieran McGeeney and the county players.”

Responding to suggestions that the demands on county players have become almost intolerable, McArdle said: “I wouldn’t use the word intolerable. The demands on county players nowadays are immense but I don’t know of too many other county managers as concerned for the welfare of his players than Kieran McGeeney.

Finally, I would like to say, as far as Armagh GAA is concerned (and) having had the opportunity to correct these inaccuracies, we will be making no further comment on these matters. I would reiterate my total support for Kieran McGeeney, his backroom staff and county players.”

But McArdle’s comments were met with a sceptical response from The Sunday Game pundit and former Kerry star Ó Sé, who insisted that it wasn’t necessary for the top-ranking official to appear on TV.

I have great respect for Armagh but I feel it’s kind of daft they feel they have to come on TV and explain about it.

“Joe’s a pundit, he’s well entitled to his opinions, right or wrong. Armagh shouldn’t be focusing on Joe Brolly, Armagh should be focusing on what’s going on inside their own county.

Tomas O’Se Tomás Ó Sé: 'Joe's a pundit, he's well entitled to his opinions.' Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“They shouldn’t feel the need to respond to what an analyst is talking about. If it happened in my own county and I saw the county board reply to somebody like that, I wouldn’t be too happy about it.

“I couldn’t see how Kieran McGeeney would be happy about that either. It was a poor decision by Armagh to come on TV and reply to it.”

Former Tyrone star Brian McGuigan added: “Joe’s Joe. He makes some very good points but he does be very personal in some of the things he does say.

“As regards Armagh, they want to make a statement to back up their stalwart Kieran McGeeney but I think we all know that the only real way to retaliate is to do it out on the field.”

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