Kieran McGeeney had just retired from playing the last time Armagh defeated Dublin. On Saturday night, he patrolled the sideline and secured a famous win for the Orchard County.
The two points see Armagh sit top of Division One. No doubt the 2002 All-Ireland winning captain was proud of his players.
But McGeeney was quick to dismiss any talk that this win means this Armagh team has arrived. He warned that league wins don’t always point to successful seasons.
“If I was talking to you here in August, you could answer that. We all know, I’ve done it before with teams, you have good starts to the league and in our sport, we don’t count also rans.”
“People who do well and get to the top, we only count the All-Ireland champions. That’s just the reality of the situation that we’re in. That’s where we have to deal in those number, whether you’re there in August or not.”
Armagh’s defence was top notch on Saturday night, something that didn’t surprise the Orchard boss.
“You always try to deal in reality. Our defence stats have been pretty good bar maybe the Monaghan game last year. It’s funny, Monaghan would be considered a very good defensive team and they scored one more point that us.”
“But their defence is good and ours you can drive a bus through, but these are the thing that will test you.”
“The average when I was playing in Division One was probably around 12 or 14 points. Now you’re scoring 19 to 20 points even though back then there was nobody sitting behind the ball.”
“Now you’ve 14 men sitting behind the ball and fellas can still power through and score those scores. You just have to be aware that you’re just not going to keep good forwards and good teams out, you’re just looking to keep them out by one point I suppose.”
Impact of the bench
Another pleasing aspect for Kieran McGeeney was the impact of Armagh’s subs bench. Niall Grimley, Greg McCabe and Stefan Campbell all scored when introduced.
“All of them would have been starters last year and they could be starters again this year, they did very well.”
“It’s just unfortunate for Ross (McQuillan) who’s been playing very well, he just hurt his hamstring, it’s been at him a bit.”
“We feel we have a bit of quality on the bench and hopefully that’ll help us now in the coming weeks with those knocks and bangs.”