Ryan Nwaneri carries during Cavan’s win over Tyrone. Photo: Adrian Donohoe.

Cavan bid for tier two triumph

This Saturday the Cavan minors will take on Kildare in the inaugural tier 2 All-Ireland minor final in Pairc Tailteann, Navan. When the ball is thrown-in at 12:30pm, Seanie Smith’s charges will be playing their 11th competitive game of the season in the first year of the new structure and there is no doubting the group has developed as a result of so many games.

Having made the semi-final of the Ulster league they were second cedes for the Ulster championship group stages where they were grouped with the eventual All-Ireland semi-finalists, Derry and Armagh.

After losing to both sides they faced a must-win game against Antrim and came away with a five point victory setting up a quarter-final against Tyrone. In Healy Park the boys in blue showed they were capable of beating the red handers but let the game slip away when it was in the melting pot.

Ordinarily that would be the end of the road but under the new structure they entered into the tier 2 All-Ireland with the losing provincial semi and quarter-finalists. First up were Wicklow where Cavan came from behind to survive a scare. A week later they produced their best performance of the year to ease past Louth. Last Saturday the team led by captain Conor Doyle became the first Cavan team to beat Tyrone in championship football since 2014.

Kildare qualified for the final thanks to a 3-12 to 1-13 win over Donegal with the Lilywhites’ two first half goals proving the difference. Saturday’s final could see more goals as Cavan have scored and conceded 12 goals so far this season.

Team selection has been difficult throughout the season for management, particularly in the forwards. The variety of Cavan’s attacking talent is best illustrated by the 13 different forwards who have played in the front six over the last four games. The side’s best two performances have come in their last two games so hopefully another hard working display will see them make history and lift the first ever Tier 2 Minor All-Ireland title.