Joe Kernan drinking story with Armagh 2002 team was an act of managerial genius 1 week ago

Joe Kernan drinking story with Armagh 2002 team was an act of managerial genius

Joe Kernan was always famed for his attention to detail.

The legendary Armagh manager is always fondly spoken of by those who played under him. A tactician, a student of the game but also an astute, cute and clever mastermind who played the percentages down to the very last decimal point.

This is a man who would probe above and beneath the surface in search of those marginal gains, those seemingly negligible and unimportant little things but those are the difference-makers for players and he was always thinking about putting his men in a better position.

It's those that end up making the difference. That was what Joe Kernan was all about.

The 63-year-old Crossmaglen called time on his managerial career this week. Not like that with a big statement or a big deal or anything out of the ordinary - he just answered a question and explained that his appetite for the job isn't where it used to be and he saw no point in continuing.

That's understandable because this man has given everything he has to the GAA. His has been a GAA life.

Colm Parkinson and Conan Doherty lauded the great Armagh man for his service to the game on Monday's GAA Hour Show. Wooly recalled a belter of a story he'd recently heard about Joe, from this week's Irish News, and it really was classic Joe Kernan.

"I can't believe I hadn't heard this one. It was Joe Kernan before Armagh played Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final in 2002," began Wooly.

"So Joe rang around to a few of his players, they were going for a kick around in Dublin, but Joe rang for a few players to come with him in the car.


Always planning. Always devising.

"They went to two pubs and had two pints - so it was one pint in each pub, no big deal and it wouldn't have any impact on you in the game. Joe was wearing a big pink shirt, really showing himself off. They hit two real GAA pubs in Dublin."

That wasn't by coincidence. Joe was keen to set the rumour mill in motion. He was planning on setting the Dubs off. That's exactly what he did.

"Anyway, the story was that Armagh were on the beer down in Dublin, an absolute classic. How have I never thought of that? It really is a classic, it's taking attention to detail to a whole new level, to go down and have two pints and let that rumour go around. It was brilliant.

"That'd be talked about in the opposition dressing room, then," added Conan Doherty.

Joe never missed a trick.

"This is Benny Tierney - he was telling this story and he probably brought down a few other lads, that, it was believable that they were on the beer.

Armagh went onto win the game by one point.

You can listen to this gem and much more belters from Wooly and Conan on Thursday's GAA Hour Show.

The Hard Yards

This week: Kev and James discuss Grand Slams, England and fights in training

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