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Cavan to face Down in qualifiers

Monday, 11th June, 2018 12:29pm

Cavan to face Down in qualifiers

McKiernan was man of the match the last time Cavan faced Down.jpg

Damian McCarney


Cavan may still get to play at home when they face Down in the second round of the All Ireland qualifiers. With Kingspan Breffni currently being reseeded the match initially looked set to be played at a neutral venue, with Clones or Enniskillen's compact Brewster Park being the likely options.

However it is understood that Cavan County Board are examining the prospects of retaining home advantage by hosting the game in Kingscourt. For that to happen, concerns the GAA may have over capacity would have to be addressed. The Cavan v Down tie is the only one of the eight qualifier matches, drawn this morning, the venue for which has yet to be confirmed.

Clones would be the obvious neutral choice, however St. Tiarnach's Park hosts the Ulster final between Donegal and Fermanagh on the following day, Sunday, June 24. 

Cavan progress into round 2 having walloped Wicklow by 14 points down in Aughrim on Saturday evening. There were many good performances in the Cavan ranks, but Ciaran Brady stood out, scoring an impressive 1-3 from wing half back. Gearoid McKiernan also put in a tremendous display with four of his five points coming from play.

Cavan and Down are both in the back-door due to defeats at the hands of Ulster finalists, Donegal. Declan Bonner's men dominated Sunday's semi-final against Down with an awesome display, despite having only 14 players for much of the game.

Down failed to fully capitalise on their numerical advantage after Neil McGee was sent off on 13 minutes. Niall Donnelly's goal gave a degree of respectability to their 1-12 side of the scoreboard, with full forward Connaire Harrison one of the few to catch the eye, hitting over 0-4 from play.

The round 2 qualifier will be the second time Cavan have faced Down after a thrilling game in Kingspan Breffni saw the home team emerge victors by three points, and helped them on their way to promotion to Division 1. McKiernan was man of the match that day riffling over 0-4 from play. Supporters will remember that Down's forwards looked especially dangerous that day and created a few goal chances which could have turned the match in favour of the Mourne men.

The main question ahead of the game scheduled for the weekend of June 23/24 will be whether the two weeks will be enough time for Down to get over the soul-crushing nature of yesterday's 13-point defeat, coming on top of relegation from Division 2 in spring.

Whilst Cavan were also well beaten by the Tir Chonaill men in the preliminary round (2-20 1-15), manager Mattie McGleenan will be hoping that the month-long interim and the trip to Wicklow should have rinsed the bad taste from the panel's palate.

Meanwhile Monaghan look to rebuild their summer with a trip to Waterford, Tyrone visit Carlow, Armagh go to Sligo and Longford will host Kildare. 

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