Monday 11 December 2017

Lilywhites need Geezer – O'Connor

Tomas O'Connor, Kildare. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE
Tomas O'Connor, Kildare. Picture: Stephen McCarthy/SPORTSFILE

TOMAS O'CONNOR wants Kieran McGeeney back in the Lilywhite hot seat next season – even though he was dropped for Kildare's biggest game of the year.

The Clane powerhouse didn't see any game-time during their Leinster semi-final collapse to Dublin, but he subsequently won his place back during the qualifiers and now wants 'Geezer' to carry on the rebuilding job he started last spring.

"Yeah, I'd like to see Kieran stay on," O'Connor told The Herald. "I think he's done fantastic work with us over the last six years. I think he's the man for the job. I'm not sure if he is staying on or what – I suppose that will come out in the next few weeks – but I'd like to see him stay."

Having just completed his second three-year term, McGeeney's position has come under the spotlight after his most disappointing SFC campaign to date – all coming in the wake of a promising league campaign back among the top-flight elite.

Kildare suffered a crushing 16-point defeat to their chief Leinster rivals, Dublin, and then failed to reach the All-Ireland quarter-finals for the first time in six attempts, their usual 'back door' renaissance cut short by Tyrone.

Their inconsistency may be partly attributable to the heavy influx of U21s into the senior team this year. O'Connor, who made a massive impact off the bench against Louth before starting against Tyrone, remarked: "There are fantastic teams coming through with the minors and the U21s both winning Leinster – and even the U16s won Leinster. So I think he sees potential in the youth and he's obviously trying to bring that forward.

"He was involved a huge amount in the U21s this year, which is great to see. The more competition for places and the more pressure on some of the older and experienced lads, the better."

The senior camp went public this week to express unanimous support for McGeeney and rubbish rumours that the players want change in his backroom team. O'Connor, too, has voiced his support for former Wexford manager Jason Ryan, who joined the set-up as a selector/coach this season.

"I'm not sure what Jason Ryan's situation is. He was excellent this year and he did excellent things for us. We didn't get any results or any silverware out of the year," O'Connor lamented.


Armagh look Grim' again

PAUL GRIMLEY has been re-installed as Armagh's senior football manager for 2014 after last night's county board meeting. Steven McDonnell, one of the stars of the Orchard County's 2002 All-Ireland success, was nominated and ratified as manager of the U-21s, his first coaching role since retiring at the end of last year's Championship.


Galway not offering refix

GALWAY GAA chiefs will not be offering a refixture to the minor hurlers of Limerick after Sunday's Hawk-eye fiasco in the semi-final at Croke Park.

The ball is now firmly in the court of the CCCC, while the Limerick minors are returning to training this evening.

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