Rafferty backs McGeeney to stay

Ethan Rafferty has backed Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney to remain in the hotseat for a tenth successive season.

Rafferty, who picked up a season-ending injury while lining out for Grange last weekend, believes McGeeney is the right man to lead Armagh forward.

The 2002 All-Ireland captain joined Paul Grimley’s management team in 2014 before taking the reins in 2015.

When asked should McGeeney remain in charge for another season, Rafferty was clear in his views.

“Definitely,” the Grange clubman told The Sideline Eye Podcast. “I think people are getting lost in the fact that, we’re obviously looking for progression.

“Us as a county, especially growing up, we were spoilt, really spoilt. Whenever Kieran came in, we weren’t really in a great place.

“My first year was Division Two in 2013 and we went down, and we toyed with Division Three and Two for years.

“We obviously got a couple of national titles. But this year with the drop from Division One, obviously it’s not ideal but we’ve got the whole way back to the top three.

“The Ulster Championship was one that was always escaping us, and we had a decent run in it this year. We were literally a kick of the ball away from winning it.”

Culture

Armagh lost to Derry in the Ulster final via penalties before Monaghan ended their season with the same method of victory.

“We’ve been beat three times now in the last 12 or 13 months on penalties. We lost against Donegal, and we lost against Tyrone, our only two championship loses (in normal time).

“Sometimes people want change but the effort that he puts in and the effort that we’ve put in and the culture that’s there at the minute is second to none.

Ethan Rafferty as backed Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney to remain in the hotseat for a tenth successive season.
Photo Credit: John Merry

“You watch those documentaries on Netflix and we’re doing that as well. I think he is definitely the right man for the job.

“Everyone is going to have their own opinion and they’re intitled to it. But I’d say, me personally, I’d like to see him staying.”

There’s a perception of Kieran McGeeney out there that he’s very much a Roy Keane type figure.

He’s driven, he’s passionate and he wants to win. But Rafferty insists there’s another side to ‘Geezer’ that those outside the squad don’t see.

“Because of the persona he maybe has, he’s just about winning and all this, people don’t realise that he genuinely cares.

“He genuinely cares for Armagh,” added the Orchard netminder. “He’s always said that that was his main interest with football was Armagh. He cares about all the players too.”

Ethan Rafferty as backed Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney to remain in the hotseat for a tenth successive season.
Photo Credit: John Merry