Anthony Moyles is backing Armagh to cause an upset against Mayo in Castlebar this weekend citing manager Kieran McGeeney’s innovation and skill as a key to Armagh’s success.
Speaking on Friday's OTB AM, Moyles emphasised his view that McGeeney's Armagh can go further in the Championship because of the Armagh native's openness to innovation and change as a manager.
“I have always liked McGeeney. He is a very practical manager", Moyles told Eoin Sheahan.
"He is a guy who thinks long and hard about the game. He is quite inventive and quite forward-thinking with regards to the game.”
Moyles recalled one experience in particular which he believes revealed an insight into McGeeney’s forward-thinking attitude as a manager that is at times ahead of his peers.
“I remember years ago meeting him in a coffee shop and he was just over Kildare and we were talking about the modern day midfielder and he was just saying ‘it's finished.’ That ‘the big tall man 6’2” plus is over. You need mobility around midfield.’
“And this was back when there was still a lot of big, big men in midfield just catching kick outs.”
McGeeney was reading Moneyball, the renowned book on how the use of statistics changed baseball, at the time and, Moyles said that it was clear McGeeney was linking what he was learning from the book back to football. Particularly McGeeney was noticing the increasing importance of kick-outs before the game had moved in that direction, Moyles noted.
“He was well ahead even in his thinking back then. He was seeing the start and genesis of that and where it would go. And he was trying to bring a lot of that into Kildare. He was probably just ahead of his time a little bit."
In terms of Saturday night's round three qualifier, Moyles is tipping McGeeney and his Armagh team to overcome Mayo in Castlebar even though, he says, the venue will have a big say in the tie.
"I think Armagh will do it. I think the venue has a big factor but I think Armagh might cause an upset here.
"The qualifiers are all about momentum."