Cavan aim to fight off bans as Red Hands clash looms
Cavan are set to appeal the red cards handed down at the climax of their tempestuous win over Down on Saturday, after being drawn with Tyrone in the Round Three qualifiers.
The Breffni side have Red Hands legend Mattie McGleenan at the helm and on Saturday will be seeking their first Championship win over Tyrone since 1983 — but their cause will be harmed if Conor Moynagh and Seanie Johnston, given straight reds after an ugly melee following the final whistle, are suspended.
Tyrone are slowly finding their groove. After being brought to extra-time and surviving calls for a penalty in their first round win over Meath, they found another level in Carlow on Saturday, running up 3-14.
Armagh, meanwhile, have a gilt-edged opportunity to make it to Round Four and emulate last year’s run to the quarter-final stage when they play Clare.
Wins over Westmeath and Sligo have helped the Orchard County put their Ulster Championship disappointment behind them.
Ulster involvement in Round Four may well be strong after Monaghan were drawn to face surprise package Leitrim.
The Connacht side enjoyed their third-ever qualifiers win with a stirring comeback against Pete McGrath’s Louth.
Monaghan ran riot in Dungarvan last Saturday, racking up 5-21 to Waterford’s 0-9.
Even though Leitrim have home advantage, it would be a surprise to see anything other than a win for the Oriel men.
The final Round Three fixture is a tie between Kildare and Mayo should Lilywhites manager Cian O’Neill coming face to face with the Mayo players he coached for years.
But Kildare last night released a statement outlining their refusal to play the qualifier at Croke Park on Saturday.
The counties are set to meet as the second game of a major double-header in Dublin that also includes Cavan against Tyrone.
However, the Kildare county board are outraged that their home tie has been moved without their consent, negating their St Conleth’s Park’s advantage.
They insist they will play no part at Croke Park.
Part of the statement read: “The (Kildare) team will not be in attendance (on Saturday), as the game should be taking place at our county grounds, St Conleth’s Park.”
Meanwhile, Donegal ace Hugh McFadden has revealed that manager Declan Bonner restored the fragile confidence of the squad following heavy beatings in last year’s Championship to Tyrone and Galway, as they landed the Ulster title for the first time since 2014.
Donegal crushed Fermanagh’s hopes of landing their first provincial title in Clones, and many are now speaking of them in terms of being one of only two teams — Kerry being the other — that could unsettle Dublin in their quest for four All-Ireland titles in a row.
“We set our stall out in October or November when we met up for the first time and Declan installed a great belief in us that we could bring the Anglo-Celt back to Donegal,” said Killybegs man McFadden. “After the disappointment of 2015 and 2016 and the dark days of last year against Tyrone and Galway, it’s nice to be back and bring the Anglo-Celt home.
“Declan told us we would be back and walking up the steps with the Anglo-Celt and here we are. We had a tough four games in the Championship and I think we deserve to be champions at the end of it.”
McFadden played in an unusual role, dropping deep to offer protection for the full-back line rather than his box-to-box job in midfield, and when Fermanagh finally began sending a few balls in the air towards their forward line in the second half, Donegal managed to keep a clean sheet.
“I’ll play wherever Declan picks me, I’m just happy to be on the team. If Declan asked me to go and stand at the corner flag I would,” said McFadden.