herald

Wednesday 11 December 2019

Cavan's final chance

Cavan Manager Mickey Graham
Cavan Manager Mickey Graham

Last October, when the championship draw was made, the race for Ulster SFC glory was immediately distilled by some into a battle of unequal halves - and have-nots.

Tyrone and Donegal looked red-hot contenders to meet in one semi-final - and so it has transpired.

But who would join the winners of that heavyweight clash? Cavan's thrilling derby win over Monaghan prised open a window of opportunity, and not just for the born-again Breffni.

Armagh's even more wildly exciting extra-time triumph over Down delivered a first provincial fixture win in Kieran McGeeney's fifth year.

But that result reverberated even further: when Armagh lifted the Anglo-Celt Cup in 2008, it meant they had won seven of the last ten Ulster titles ... they haven't even reached a final since then.

Now they're just 70 minutes away. Ditto Cavan, whose last provincial final was way back in 2001.

Their progress, thus far, is just reward for a more expansive approach under Mickey Graham. Cavan utilised the boot for one in every three passes against Monaghan, using the wings and Martin O'Reilly's sublime deliveries to spread and, at times, shred the Farney defence.

But they'll be wary of Armagh's match-winners - rising star Rian O'Neill, the mercurial Jamie Clarke and Andrew Murnin, their fit-again super sub, among them. This could go either way, even extra-time.

ODDS: Cavan 8/13 Draw 15/2 Armagh 7/4

VERDICT: Cavan

ULSTER SFC Semi-f

CAVAN v ARMAGH

Clones, Tom (4.0, Def BBC 2)

Promoted articles

Entertainment News