Seanie excited by tier two opportunity

By Shaun Casey

IN years gone by, Cavan’s season would have ended after suffering a two-point defeat to Tyrone in the Ulster Minor Championship quarter-final, but this year, the Breffni Blues will take part in the new tier two All-Ireland series.

First up, Seanie Smith’s men take on Wicklow on home turf on Saturday afternoon, and the Cavan boss is delighted that his youngsters will get another couple of chances to represent their county.

Cavan beat Antrim in the Ulster group stages but lost to Derry and Armagh, which saw them finish third in the table. That meant they took on Tyrone in the quarter-finals and despite a brilliant display, they lost out by two in the end.

“We should have got something out of the Tyrone game,” said Smith. “There’s a small margin, but at the end of the day, it’s a big margin to get over some of those kingpins at Ulster.

“That being said, it would probably have been one of our best performances this year. When that game was over, the lads were disappointed, as we were as well.

“The fact that we knew we had a tier two competition coming up after the Tyrone game, it was great. We took a week off and the lads went back and played all their club games. We met up again last Sunday and the lads were really looking forward to coming back in.

“In u-17 football, we’re all out to win. It’s the number one priority for Ulster. The next priority is to develop players and when your championship ends, it’s good that there’s more games for development purposes.

“There’s always going to be challenges in trying to squeeze in so many competitions. We’re in Ulster and we know where Ulster is at.

“I feel it’s done a huge amount of good work over the years, and it certainly has kicked on a lot, it’s not easy to win. Getting a chance in second tier competitions, it can only benefit us in terms of their future development.”

Smith admits he doesn’t know too much about Saturday’s opponents Wicklow, but playing someone new offers a fresh challenge that his side isn’t used to. “We don’t much about them but maybe that’s not a bad thing either,” Smith added.

“For ourselves, the extra games here and there are vitally important because you’re out looking for challenge games and when you go out to play challenge games outside of Ulster, it is totally different.

“That being said, it’s also a great opportunity to play in a competitive competition away from Ulster. I know there’s a couple of Ulster teams who will be in it eventually, but it’s good to get a game against Leinster teams. We’re certainly looking forward to playing with them.

“We don’t know a whole lot about them and I’m sure they don’t know a whole lot about us but that’s also the good thing about this new competition.”

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