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Kieran McGeeney explains why he brought Kieran Donaghy to Armagh

Kieran Donaghy is set to work intensively with Armagh’s forward unit.

Legendary Kerry player Kieran Donaghy has joined Armagh as a coach. Their manager Kieran McGeeney played with Donaghy for Ireland in the International Rules Series. McGeeney’s former Armagh teammate Ciaran McKeever was also added to the set-up ahead of the 2021 season.

McGeeney revealed that he brought in Donaghy in the hope of improving his forwards’ link play and to get them to work better together as a unit.

Kieran Donaghy Armagh

“The reason I went after Kieran was Kieran made a career out of bringing other people into the game and I just think that’s something we were still missing in Armagh,” McGeeney said of Donaghy.

“It’s sometimes hard to explain to people. Sometimes, I think you can have too many good forwards.

“You need people to make them tick, a bit like Ciaran Kilkenny does for Dublin, like Kieran would have done for Kerry, things like that. I just thought Kieran would have that type of background in his basketball too.”

The former Kerry star came through the Gaelic Football Underdogs system.

Donaghy was a late bloomer on the Kerry team and McGeeney feels this has stood to him as he is humble and down to earth and does not possess a massive ego.

Donaghy’s former Kerry coach Donie Buckley is coaching Monaghan, who face Armagh this Sunday.

“It’s going back to that point, Kieran with basketball, I also think the fact that although playing underage with Kerry, that he got in through the Underdogs system, he has a great humility about him as well,” McGeeney continued.

“He has loads of All-Irelands in the back pockets, All-Stars and things like that, International Rules. He has got everything but there is a great humility about him too, and a great humility about the way he does things.

‘There are different aspects of it. To be a very good forward you have to have a small line of selfishness. You have to have that striker’s impact and things.”

Kieran Donaghy was always a dual sports person.

Donaghy was very much a dual star, excelling at both Gaelic football and basketball. McGeeney is of the opinion that Donaghy’s basketball experience will improve Armagh’s attacking play and get them to be more process-driven.

“The way the game has progressed over the years, people have got a wee bit more defensive in how they play the game, defensive systems and all that, people have been slow to change. But, as we all know things have (changed) now,” McGeeney said.

“Despite defences, good teams are able to break them down. The only way to break them down is actually using each other, setting things up, and that there are more set plays and different things involved in it.

‘That’s the area I am sort of looking at – that it’s not all about just looking at that particular shot – it’s also about how to set up that particular shot, how to be able to take defences apart and create that space. I suppose again with basketball, that type of approach, it’s a work in progress there.”

One of Donaghy’s first big performances as a Kerry footballer came against McGeeney and Armagh in the 2006 All-Ireland quarter-final. The Austin Stacks player scored a second-half goal and set up numerous more opportunities as Kerry came from behind to beat the Ulster champions. He won his first of four All-Ireland medals in that campaign.

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