For whatever reason, there has always been a manic fascination with Armagh’s class of 2002, and so by extension with the team’s most famous son, All-Ireland winning captain Kieran McGeeney.
We’ve all heard the stories from ‘Geezer’s’ playing days, the Spartan existence and of pushing the boundaries of dedication to a level never seen before in Gaelic Games.
And now that he’s the Armagh manager, there is a widespread preconception that he expects the exact same commitment from his players – and possibly more.
Kevin Dyas, speaking to the media at the launch of the GPA’s annual report, has heard it all before and laughs at some of the reports that Armagh are already training up to nine times a week ahead of the 2015 campaign.
“There’s been a lot of reports going around about all sorts of crazy training,” says Dyas, an employee of PwC in Dublin, where the GPA launched their report. “I was just saying to a couple of lads there that’s it’s not much difference to what we’ve done before.
“People were saying to me that we were doing early morning sessions and this and that, but my alarm clock hasn’t been going off at six o’clock in the morning. I don’t know where people are getting those rumors from. It’s just the usual training schedule that most county teams would have, I imagine.
“There’s this perception that ‘Geezer’ is flogging us every day of the week or every day of the month, that’s he ruthless with lads if they can’t make training. But for me personally, I’m working in here now (PwC) and he’s been more than accommodating if I can’t make training because of work, it’s absolutely no problem.
“I know he’s the same with lads working in Belfast or some of the lads with kids, there’s never any issue with not being at training.
“We train together on a Tuesday and a Thursday as I’d imagine most teams would and then we have a game at the weekend. Between that we’ve our gym sessions as most teams do. That’s it really. Training sessions that people were saying was going on weren’t true really.”
Dyas, who lives in Dublin with inter-county team-mates Jamie Clarke and Kieran McKeever, is currently nursing a broken finger and won’t be back in action for another few weeks yet.
However, he was at the recent McKenna Cup match against Tyrone, a game that yielded 19 cards, including four reds, and says the reaction to it was coloured by McGeeney’s reputation as a hard man.
“I don’t even think it’s the Armagh (versus Tyrone thing), I think it’s the whole fascination around people trying to have a pop at ‘Geezer’. Everybody knows that ‘Geezer’ is into his MMA stuff and people automatically associate that with a scuffle on a GAA field. There’s no connection between the two at all.
“The row against Cavan last year, ‘Geezer’ copped a bit of the blame for that as well. The same against Tyrone. As you said, there was nothing really in the Tyrone game, it was a pretty clean game bar a bit of pushing and shoving.
“I think once ‘Geezer’s’ name is involved, it’s automatically blown out of proportion. It’s unfair but I suppose that’s just the way it is, he’s probably used to it at this stage.”
Article from the Official GAA Website