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McGeeney calling on Kildare to prove their worth

By John Campbell

Kieran McGeeney has had to search diligently for positives following his Kildare team’s capitulation to Meath in the Leinster semi-final on Sunday.

But there is one significant ration of comfort for the 2002 Armagh All-Ireland winning captain — Kildare have never lost a qualifier match since he took over in 2008.

That’s a record that could stand the Lily Whites in good stead when they meet Cavan in round two of this year’s series at Kingspan Breffni Park on Sunday week.

There is a possibility that live television may be the order of the day given the massive public interest generated not only by Seanie Johnston’s high-profile — and hugely controversial — transfer from Cavan to Kildare but by the fact that the Breffni side now feel they have a real chance of winning the game.

Qualifier statistics may favour McGeeney’s side but he puts little if any store by them.

“This is a whole new ball game. Cavan will be up for this one and we have to get up off the ground and show what we are made of,” said McGeeney (pictured).

Meanwhile, Tyrone skipper Stephen O’Neill is hoping his side can now replicate the form they showed through the qualifiers in winning the All-Ireland title in 2005 as they prepare to confront Roscommon on Saturday week.

Like every other captain, O’Neill had relished the prospect of a direct route to possible glory but last weekend’s Ulster semi-final defeat to Donegal means that the Red Hands must re-focus their ambitions. Tyrone played ten matches in all including replays in lifting ‘Sam’ in 2005, the most demanding route any side has been forced to take to capture the prize.

Monaghan too have been handed a tricky assignment, their trip to Justin McNulty’s Laois fraught with difficulty.

In surrendering a nine-point lead against Down in the Ulster semi-final, Monaghan lost a lot of credibility and manager Eamonn McEnaney’s message to the effect that the county has had “too many bad days” will ring in the players’ ears for their mission in O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.

Laois’ win over Carlow in the first round of the qualifiers has rekindled confidence for the clash.

All Ireland Qualifiers Rd 2

Saturday July 14: Antrim v Galway (Casement Park 3.00), Roscommon v Tyrone (Dr Hyde Park, Roscommon 2.00), Leitrim v Wicklow (Carrick-on-Shannon 6.00), Longford v Limerick (Glennon Bros. Pearse Park, Longford 7.00), Tipperary v Wexford (Semple Stadium, Thurles 5.00). Sunday July 15: Cavan v Kildare (Kingspan Breffni Park 3.00), Laois v Monaghan (O’Moore Park Portlaoise 3.00), Westmeath v Kerry (Cusack Park, Mullingar 3.00).

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