Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney: ‘I can’t ask any more from the players. They gave us everything’

Armagh's Shane McPartlan has his penalty saved by Shaun Patton.Armagh's Shane McPartlan has his penalty saved by Shaun Patton.
Armagh's Shane McPartlan has his penalty saved by Shaun Patton.
Ulster SFC Final: Armagh 0-20 Donegal 0-20 (Donegal win 6-5 on penalties)

It was the same old story for Armagh in their Ulster Championship Final loss against Donegal on Sunday, as they were defeated on penalties in a high profile game for the fourth time in less than two years.

Following the game, Orchard manager Kieran McGeeney faced the press and he was at a loss to explain his side’s luck, but he said that he couldn’t ask for any more effort from his team.

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“There is not much you can say, it is just one of those things,” he reflected.

Armagh's Rian O'Neill pictured on the ball in the Ulster SFC Final. Pics: John MerryArmagh's Rian O'Neill pictured on the ball in the Ulster SFC Final. Pics: John Merry
Armagh's Rian O'Neill pictured on the ball in the Ulster SFC Final. Pics: John Merry

“Some things go for you and some things go against us; it seems to be going against us more. It is heart-breaking, but what can you do? You can’t make it better, you can’t change it, I can’t ask any more of the players. They gave us everything. It is one of those days and one of these days you wish it would bounce for you rather than against you.

“You couldn’t ask any more, it was a quality game. Some of the scores out there were outstanding from both teams, serious pace, serious tackles. When you lose then you are a g******e, that is just the way it goes.”

Shane McPartlan was denied by Donegal goalkeeper Shaun Patton with the decisive spot kick to leave Armagh heart-broken once more.

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Whether it is a mental block or sheer bad luck for Armagh nobody knows, but they haven’t been able to get over the line on penalties once again, and the question becomes how do they avoid going to spot-kicks?

Armagh's Paddy Burns goes on the run against Donegal.Armagh's Paddy Burns goes on the run against Donegal.
Armagh's Paddy Burns goes on the run against Donegal.

“I suppose the thing to do is to win in normal time,” said McGeeney.

“It is tough, it is hard work and I suppose when it happens four times, it is something else that I am missing. What can you do?

“I was never really a penalty taker myself, but it is just one of those things, you guess right and you might block it. Shane is probably the best penalty taker on the team but it just happened, he was the next to go.

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“That is four massive games where we are in the bad end of it. It is difficult there is no point in saying otherwise, but you can’t do much about it.

“It is what it is.”

Having now lost two Ulster finals and two All-Ireland quarter-finals on penalties, Armagh once again become the hard luck story of the summer, but McGeeney says that he can’t control the narrative.

“What can you do? I can’t control what is written,” he said.

“We all know that is sport, you aren’t going to get paid well to write straight stories. You need headlines, you need drama, you need excitement, it is all part of the game. I am used to it.”

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