McGeeney pays tribute to “inspirational” Donaghy

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney gave a glowing tribute to Brendan Donaghy following his recent retirement from county football.

McGeeney, speaking at the Armagh Club All-Star Awards night, thanked Donaghy for his drive and dedication.

“When asked to rate a player, it’s always hard to know what metrics to use so I always try to bring it down to the simplest of terms,” said McGeeney.

“The way I look at any player is, would you like to mark him when you were playing? And definitely a no when it comes to Brendy.

“His toughness, his courage, his ability to win ball under tough situations and drive a team on was second to none.

“The second metric I use is, would you love to stand beside him when going into battle or going to play on any team? And the answer is definitely yes.”

Brendan Donaghy recently retired
Photo Credit: Richiespics


“He’s been an inspirational figure since I came back into the setup in terms of how he drives the team on.

“Quietly and modestly behind the scenes he doesn’t stand up and give big speeches. But he tends to get around the players and says what has to be said.

“But when tough things had to be won on the field, he was the man to do it. There was another side to Brendy that most people don’t know because he is such a quiet lad, but his character.

“And it’s not too often that you get talent matched with that type of character. His honesty off the pitch, me and him butt heads quite a bit.

“But he was never one for talking behind anybody’s back. He had the courage off the pitch that he had on it.”

Photo Credit: John Merry

“It was a pleasure to be able to manage him over the last couple of years. Unfortunately, like all of us, age catches up. He had a lot of injuries last year and was unable to sustain another year.

“But I just wanted to make sure that I came here tonight and be able to say what it meant to be able to have somebody like him on the squad.”

Tough times

“When you’re going through the tough times in Division Three and Division Two, not a lot of people want to be around. Not a lot of people want to do the dirty work.

“When you go to ask a lot of people for help, they only want to come when they glory is there. But Brendan was the sort of person who dug deep and pushed the team on when nobody else wanted to be there and to push on.”

“And for that I’m eternally grateful. The longevity of the career, to play for 17-years at inter-county level, especially nowadays is a testament to any player.

“It’s hard to say what that means, I’m sure his wife could tell me about the many nights he wasn’t at home!

“But just on behalf of the Armagh team and the Armagh supporters for your last 17-years Brendan, thank you very much.

“It was an absolute pleasure to have you and hopefully the younger players that you mentored over the last couple of years will do you justice over the next few.”

Donaghy will surely be missed in the Armagh dressing room next season, but he owes the county nothing.

He will go down as one of the Armagh greats for his incredible service given to the orange and white jersey.

Photo Credit: John Merry