Cavan manager Mickey Graham.

Graham 'not surprised' GAA opted for knock-out format

Manager believes players will return in 'good shape'

Cavan manager Mickey Graham is not surprised that the GAA opted for a knock-out format for the Ulster and All-Ireland championships and believes that players are relieved just to have some form of action to look forward to.

After months of inactivity, the Cavan squad will be back in action on the weekend of October 17 when they take on Roscommon in the National League. The following weekend, they meet Kildare in that competition before facing Monaghan in the opening round of the Ulster Championship a week later.

“When this all started, you’d have said that any kind of football would be great and knock-out football, you’d have accepted it,” Graham told The Anglo-Celt yesterday [Sunday].

“For the year that’s in it, I think it just adds a wee bit more spice to it. Because it’s coming at the end of the year too, I think players will look at it that if you get beat, you don’t go on playing up till Christmas. I’d say a lot of players are happy that that is the situation.

“You’re playing in winter months, weather is not going to be great… But you’d imagine players will just be glad to get back playing.”

Graham believes his players have kept themselves in good shape physically. The squad and management have remained in close contact during the lockdown and Graham and selectors Dermot McCabe and Martin Corey will be speaking to them all individually before the club championship gets underway at the end of July.

“In fairness to the lads, they have been tipping along and we are happy with where they are at.

“We’ll assess them fitness wise and see what they’re like and see where their fitness levels are. I’d be confident that their fitness levels are very good, I’d be confident they are exactly where we think they’re at.

“There might be one or two lads returning from injury that picked up a knock just before the lockdown began but we’ll not be long seeing where they are at when the club championship gets up and running.

“I’m looking forward to getting out and seeing the lads put their best foot forward. I’ve said it from day one, I believe that players should go out and play their best for their clubs because playing matches brings confidence.

“Myself, Marty and Dermot will talk to all those players individually and tell them what we’re looking for in those games and ask them to go out and work on things. We’ll be hoping that they get through those games without injury and that they arrive back to us match fit.

“You’d be hoping that when the boys come back, from the fitness end of things they’re good. We’ll be focusing on recovery and putting a plan in place about how we are going to approach those three games [in October].”

For a full interview with Mickey Graham, see this Wednesday's print edition.

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