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Friday 9 December 2016

Kernan: No chance Aaron will return to the Orchard

Joe Kernan
Joe Kernan

JOE Kernan has ruled out the prospect of his son, Aaron, making a return to the Armagh squad at any stage in the future.

Describing him as "one of the best half-backs in the country," Ireland's International Rules manager insisted: "He'll definitely not be back, he's made his mind up. He's been out for a year and that's it.

"There's no way would he be back."

Armagh's All-Ireland exit to Galway in the Athletic Grounds last Sunday raised new questions about the quality of the team inherited by Kieran McGeeney at the beginning of this year but Kernan feels the comparisons with the team he managed - and McGeeney captained - are hugely unfair.

calibre

"You look at Geezer, Paul McGrane, Diarmuid Marsden, Oisin McConville, Aidan O'Rourke, Stevie McDonnell, Ronan Clarke.

"Those players were ready to perform at the highest level and they did from 1999 to 2006, that was nearly ten years at the top and that's the circle most teams get and then there is a down," he explained.

"You just don't replace those players with the same calibre. It takes a while for players to grow.

"Aaron Findon is going to be a great player for Armagh but he needs time to develop.

"Ethan Rafferty, Jamie (Clarke) is class act if he gets the service so we have players in the squad that will be as good as any in the country but it's just to gel them together."

"You have to remember that for 25 years before that we won nothing.

"I played on Armagh teams when there wouldn't have been a hundred people at the match," Kernan continued.

"Then we won three Ulster titles after playing in six Ulster finals and then we were beaten an All-Ireland final.

injuries

"It took us 20 years to get back to that level so I'm hoping it doesn't take another 20 years to get back there but everything comes in circles."

Referring the publicised incident in a recent challenge match between Armagh and Dublin that saw Davey Byrne suffer serious facial injuries, Kernan said: "Unfortunately incidents like this do happen," but added: "I think both counties wanted to put that to bed and sometimes that's the best thing."

"The fact that it started at the start of the game raised eyebrows rather than the last five minutes in the heat of battle.

"Let it takes its course and whatever is found to have happened we'll all know at the same time after the investigation," the Crossmaglen man concluded.

Armagh

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