Ironic twist as Johnston gets ready to face Cavan
Fate has a sense of humour after all. The morning after Cavan dumped Fermanagh out of the backdoor and Meath put Kildare out of the Leinster Championship, the qualifiers draw has paired Cavan up with Kildare.
Of course, this means a quick return to the county for a certain Seanie Johnston, who is in line to make his Kildare debut in the fixture.
Johnston has been the subject of much debate over the manner in which his inter-county transfer has been conducted, and last Saturday he turned out in the Kildare hurling Championship for Coill Dubh in order to become eligible to play football for his adopted county.
If he lines out in this game, he will face a clearly-motivated Cavan team, who captain Pádraic O’Reilly revealed after the win over Fermanagh, met up the night after their Ulster Championship exit to Donegal to re-align their ambitions for the year.
“We had trained for a fair few months this year, too many to let it slide, and that’s what happened in previous years.
“Once we were knocked out of the Ulster Championship, things kind of petered out. We didn’t want that to happen this year - we put too much into it.
“We met the Monday night after the Donegal game and we looked at where we went wrong... keeping the ball and things like that - and that is what we did out there today.”
One noticeable facet of the derby win was how the west Cavan men such as substitute John McCutcheon and Gearóid McKiernan performed in the closing stages, no doubt spurred on by their close rivalry with Fermanagh.
“The west Cavan men seemed to set it up,” explained O’Reilly.
“John made some vital interceptions when he came in and then obviously Gearóid - he was a real leader in the middle - just kind of drove us home.
“There was a massive effort there, and every man put their body on the line.”
He continued: “A lot went into this season to just bow out on the 1st of July.
“We want to be playing football in the summer, to get the feel of Championship football.
“We knew this was our Ulster Championship, and it had that feel to it today.”
Cavan last played Kildare in the first round of the qualifiers in 2008, losing out 1-16 to 1-15 in a game in which Johnston kicked six points.