Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 19 April 2014

Ulster bosses will feel heat at Croke

Ulster is set to have an unprecedented input into tomorrow's alluring Leinster senior football championship quarter-finals double bill at Croke Park.

Three of the teams involved - Kildare, Laois and Meath - are managed by high-profile personalities from the province, while one of the referees on duty is also from this part of the world.

The Kildare v Meath clash is freighted with possibilities given the controversy that has accompanied the build-up to tomorrow's showdown.

If Kildare boss Kieran McGeeney is under pressure not only to deliver a Leinster title but to mastermind an All-Ireland crown now that his honeymoon period is long since over, Meath supremo Seamus McEnaney knows that anything other than a win tomorrow could have serious repercussions for him personally.

While McGeeney contents himself by restoring Eamon Callaghan and James Kavanagh to his side thus shortening the odds on their chances of winning, McEnaney plunges into his first Leinster championship uncertain if veteran Graham Geraghty will sample game time against the Lily Whites.

It was McEnaney's decision to summon dual All-Ireland winner Geraghty (38) from retirement that sparked the exit of two of his selectors, Barry Callaghan and Liam Harnon, and caused a furore within the county.

McEnaney will pin his hopes on Shane O'Rourke and Joe Sheridan in particular plundering scores while at the same time hoping that Nigel Crawford can impose himself at midfield.

McGeeney's 2002 All- Ireland winning Armagh defensive colleague Justin McNulty will have charge of Laois against Dublin in the other half of tomorrow's double bill and this will be the litmus test of the Mullaghbawn native's managerial skills.

Cavan referee Joe McQuillan, who was originally named to take charge of the Tyrone -Monaghan tie, will handle this game and could have his hands full.