Kieran McGeeney has won a remarkable amount of games in the All-Ireland qualifiers in the eleven summers since his move from player to manager - six seasons with the Kildare footballers, to his return to Armagh - McGeeney teams have won 86% of their qualifier ties.
25 matches, 29 wins - a fantastic record in knockout games, regardless of how you paint it.
That statistic should have the Rossies shaking ahead of Saturday’s qualifier in O’Moore Park, right?
Enda McGinley thinks not, the three-time Tyrone All-Ireland winner was discussing this weekend’s qualifiers on OTB AM this morning and countered McGeeney’s record by citing his 0% win ratio in the Ulster Championship since he succeeded Paul Grimley on a five-year term for the 2015 season.
“The difference there is unbelievable - and they’ve played Down and Fermanagh in Ulster where Armagh would have been favourites coming into both those games and lost. His record in the qualifiers is something else but I think it’s as much how a team approaches the qualifiers - an awful lot of the Division 3, 4 or even Division 2 sides have no real aspirations when they enter the qualifiers. If teams don’t fully embrace it, they’re going to be easily taken care of.”
As a whole, McGeeney’s provincial record stands at a 40% win ratio, twenty games played in Leinster and Ulster, eight won - that includes just a single victory in the Ulster Championship, that fiery 2014 tie against Cavan which was when he was on the sideline alongside Paul Grimley.
Under McGeeney’s stewardship, Kildare were beaten in the 2010 semi-final against Down, reached five quarter-finals, and in his final year lost to Tyrone in Round 3.
With a much weaker Armagh side, in a more competitive province, they’ve reached two quarter-finals in four seasons, and are now one win away from the Super 8s.
So how do you see this weekend’s tie going? Roscommon have proven their credentials in the past 24 months; playing in Division 1, winning a provincial title and bringing Mayo to a replay in last year’s All-Ireland quarter-final.
Will McGeeney’s record and Armagh’s momentum see them through, or are McStay’s charges adding their names to the Super 8s and joining Dublin and Donegal in group two?
Breakdown of McGeeney’s 25 qualifier wins:
2008: Cavan (Div. 2), Fermanagh (Div. 3 winners), Limerick (Div. 3)
2009: Wicklow (Div. 4)
2010: Derry (Div. 1), Monaghan (Div. 1), Antrim (Div. 3 winners), Leitrim (Div. 4)
2011: Laois (Div. 2 promoted), Meath (Div. 2), Derry (Div. 2)
2012: Cavan (Div. 3) Sligo (Div. 3), Limerick (Div. 4)
2013: Louth (Div. 2)
2014: Tyrone (Div. 1), Meath (Div. 2), Roscommon (Div. 3 promoted)
2015: Wicklow (Div. 4)
2017: Kildare (Div. 2 promoted), Fermanagh (Div. 2), Tipperary (Div. 3 promoted), Westmeath (Div. 4 promoted)
2018: Sligo (Div. 3), Westmeath (Div. 3)
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