National Football League
Kildare v Cavan
Sunday, Newbridge, 2pm
CAVAN boss Mickey Graham says their league and championship preparations have been severely impacted by rapidly rising Covid-19 rates within the county.
According to an Irish Independent news report earlier in the week, “Cavan is heading for the Covid-19 danger zone and may overtake Donegal for the spread of infection amid rising concern among counties along the border.”
Their Ulster Ladies Championship semi-final against Monaghan was pulled on Monday evening as a number of Cavan players were unavailable due to Covid, and Mickey Graham says he’s been having much the same problem ahead of this weekend’s penultimate league clash against Kildare.
“It’s very hard at the moment as we’ve lads travelling from Dublin and from every part of Cavan. In fairness they’re all following the protocals but they can’t control who they’re family members of partners have been in contact with.
“Every day I’m getting phone calls from players saying they need to sit out a few training sessions as they’re waiting to hear back from somebody who’s been getting a test.
“I’m sure every manager is in the same boat, and it’s becoming the norm almost that we don’t have a full squad every training session.
“At the moment I’d like to think that we’ll have a good team out on Sunday, but look at the Irish soccer team at the weekend, they lost five or six lads before kick-off and that’s the way it is. We have an idea about what team we’d like to put out, but we’ve seen how quickly the picture can change within 24 hours.”
He’s had no choice but to draft a number of new players, including Danny Cusack, Caoimhin McGovern and Oisin Brady. into the panel, but he may have done so anyway as the Cavan Club Championship was both competitive and of a high quality.
“It definitely was one of the better club championships in recent years. There was a lot of good football and I think clubs were helped by having their county players at every training session., it raises the standard of everyone in the club.
“We’ve brought in a lot of new fellas who played well in the club championship. Between one thing and another we’re down in numbers – between Covid, injuries, lads who don’t feel comfortable playing. Every training session we’re down in numbers and that’s the reality of it.”
Cavan have six points on the board at the minute, so they should stay up even if they lose their last two games. There’s a small chance it won’t be enough, but Graham says he’s not placing undue pressure on his players at the minute.
“It’s in our own hands and we’re just concentrating on our own performance, hoping to get a result from our last two games. Consolidating our position in Division Two would be a success for us in the times we’re in. There’s no point in putting any extra pressure on our lads, we’re going to go out and give it a go because it could all be pulled again very quickly.”