Ahead of this weekend’s final round of qualifiers, Seamus Duke took a closer look at the two games involving Roscommon’s potential Super 8s opponents…
Cavan v Tyrone on Saturday in Clones at 5 pm
Why it matters: The winners of this match will be travelling to Dr. Hyde Park to play Roscommon the following weekend in Round One of the Super 8s.
The form: After receiving a lesson from Donegal, Tyrone has reverted to the more cautious style which got them to the All-Ireland final last year. They have breezed through to this stage and were especially impressive against Kildare last Saturday. Colm Kavanagh is their anchor player, and with Cathal McShane improving with every game at full-forward, Mickey Harte’s men look a formidable outfit. Add in Peter Harte, Darren McCurry and Mattie Donnelly in attack it’s a potent mix. The controversial Tiernan McCann will be back this weekend after his two-match ban and he adds some sparkle.
Cavan have had a great year under Mickey Graham and there was no shame in losing out to Donegal in the Ulster final. Although they were well-beaten they managed to score 2-16 which is a creditable total. Gearoid McKiernan is the heartbeat of the team with Dara McVeety, Killian Clarke, and Martin Reilly adding experience and class.
Prospects: In the modern era Tyrone hold the whip hand against Cavan and it was certainly the draw the Breffni men didn’t want. Mickey Graham has been a breath of fresh air this year for Cavan and their huge following will be hoping against hope that they can score a rare win against Mickey Harte’s side. But we are in the big time now and Tyrone are on a roll. I will be very surprised if the Red Hand don’t win with at least five or six points to spare.
Cork v Laois on Saturday at Semple Stadium at 5 pm
Why it matters: The winners of this match will be at home to Roscommon in the third series of games in the Super 8s on the August Bank Holiday weekend.
The form: Both sides will come into this match in a positive frame of mind. Cork were more than competitive against Kerry in the Munster final and if they had taken all the goal chances they created then Laois would have different opponents on Saturday. As it was they came out of that decider in the knowledge that they can compete at the top level despite their disastrous league campaign. They look very competitive around the middle where Killian O’Hanlon, Ian Maguire and the very impressive Ruari Deane gave Kerry plenty to think about. Brian Hurley and Paul Kerrigan supply the experience up front. However, further back they look vulnerable.
That could be good news for a Laois side who are motoring along nicely under Kerryman John Sugrue. The Kingston brothers, Paul and Donie, along with Evan O’Carroll are top class forwards. John O’Loughlin and Kieran Lillis are a very competent midfield pairing.
Prospects: Laois will be the underdogs going into this game and after being promoted in the league and having reached this stage of the championship they are in bonus territory and that will suit them. They can go out and play with the freedom of little or no expectation.
While Cork were good against Kerry they have recent memories of a terrible league campaign earlier in the year when they couldn’t survive in Division Two. This could well be the most open game of the weekend and a very high-scoring affair as both sides have sharp attacking players. I have a slight fancy for Cork.