Player boost for McGeeney ahead of Derry decider
13 January 2018 - by Elaine Leddy
Dr McKenna Cup – Section B
Armagh v Derry
Sunday January 14, 2pm
Armagh boss Kieran McGeeney says he’s pleased to have players coming back into the panel for tomorrow’s rescheduled Section B McKenna Cup match against Derry and he’s happy with some of what he saw in Wednesday night’s draw with UUJ.
Although relieved to have nabbed a point in the end at the Athletic Grounds, leaving a semi-final spot still within their reach, McGeeney wasn’t thrilled with the result, but he did however take plenty of positives from the 0-12 to 1-9 draw after his men came back from a three-point deficit in additional time to steal a point.
“Listen, it definitely wasn’t perfect but there was I suppose the old cliché, ‘character’. But that’s what you’re looking for, especially from new players. Young Ryan McShane I thought was excellent. He put in a great shift. And in the game when we had a lot more seasoned players whose body language was down, Ryan kept going, so that’s good,” said McGeeney.
“Ronan Lappin came in and had a good game again and Ben Crealey, it was great to get him back on the pitch. Oisin Mac Iomhair put in a great shift too in the first 40 minutes. Oisin Lappin did well at full back, it was his first full game for us and Paddy Burns was doing well against quality players in there,” he added.
“We had a lot of new players doing well but I would say I was unhappy with the score.”
Despite conceding the goal, Paddy Morrison did well in the number one shirt. Blaine Hughes also had a big year in 2017, but McGeeney revealed that he has another keeper waiting in the wings to keep the fight for places constant with Killeavy’s Sean O’Hanlon now part of the panel.
McGeeney had men missing on Wednesday evening.
“Aaron McKay picked up an ankle injury in the last game, so he was out on Wednesday. Aidan Forker had the flu and Paul Hughes hurt his knee but he’s alright. There’s a list of them there. It’s very early in the year but there’s a lot of colds and flues and then training on top of that doesn’t help,” McGeeney explained. He’s hoping to have some other injured players back for the game on Sunday when they return to the Athletic Grounds for take two against Derry after a frozen pitch last weekend caused its postponement.
“Hopefully there’s five or six returning from the physio table. Gavin [McParland] is back running. Eugene McVerry’s back in. Ciaran Higgins is back in and Ryan Owens is back in. There’s about another three or four actually.
“Eugene McVerry had a problem with his elbow so he was back tonight for a wee bit of contact, so over the next two or three weeks we’ll be seeing more of him as well. And we have Miceal McKenna back, he was a bit rusty but it’s good to see him back as well. Gavin is back training but no serious contact.
“We just have to be extra careful with that because it obviously didn’t go well for him and if he takes another bad back he’d be out for the year, so we’d rather err on the side of caution with that one. Paul Carragher is an excellent physio. I’d be pushing one way and he’d be pushing the other but he’s the man who calls the shots when it comes to the medical side,” he stated.
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