Cavan lads set to battle for Paul McGirr Cup

By Niall Gartland

CAVAN minor boss Seanie Smith says that their run to Saturday’s inaugural All-Ireland Tier Two final against Kildare should stand to his young players further down the line.

The Breffni County were knocked out of Ulster by Tyrone in a quarter-final clash last month, and in previous years that would’ve been the road for his team.

But they were afforded the opportunity to have a crack at national honours and have bounced back with three wins on the trot, including a memorable win over Tyrone in last weekend’s All-Ireland semi-final clash.

Now they stand on the cusp of All-Ireland honours but whatever happens against the Lilywhites, it’s been a valuable learning experience for the Cavan youngsters who will duke it out for the Paul McGirr Cup.

“Ulster is way ahead of the other provinces in my opinion at underage level. You have two very good teams, Armagh and Derry, in the semi-finals of the ‘A’ championship and Down won the Tier Three All-Ireland,” said Smith.

“It’s great for us to be part of Ulster, but it’s such a difficult competition to win that we’re happy to have the opportunity to play in the All-Ireland in terms of our development and that can only be good for us in the future.”

Cavan’s season hinged on their response to their Ulster Championship quarter-final defeat to Tyrone. While it was a disappointing outcome to their provincial campaign, they had given the Red Hands a real fight so they knew they still had something to offer.

Smith said: “We knew straightaway after the Tyrone defeat that we had unfinished business.

“We were disappointed because we’d put in a lot of time preparing for that game, and we felt we should’ve got something out of it.

“We knew we’d put in good performances against the top teams in Ulster so it was easy to get the lads ready to go in a new competition. They looked forward to putting into practice what they’d learnt against the likes of Tyrone and Derry in Ulster.”

Standing in their way of the title is a strong-looking Kildare side that accounted for Donegal at the semi-final stages on a scoreline of 3-12 to 0-16.

Smith, a Mullahoran man, said: “We’ve never actually played Kildare in any form of game, be it a challenge game or anything else, but they seem to be a well-organised side.

“No more than ourselves, I’m sure they were disappointed not to progress from their own province. They were probably favourites to win Leinster but were caught in the final stages of their game against Dublin. I’m sure they were happy to have the chance to play in another competition and they had a good win over Donegal.”

Receive quality journalism wherever you are, on any device. Keep up to date from the comfort of your own home with a digital subscription.
Any time | Any place | Anywhere


Gaelic Life is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
Registered in Northern Ireland, No. R0000576. 10-14 John Street, Omagh, Co. Tyrone, N. Ireland, BT781DW