Gearóid McKiernan’s presence can tip the balance in Cavan’s favour

Breffni men can repeat last year’s victory over Armagh

The mood music around the Armagh panel was all wrong going into last year's defeat to Cavan at Breffni Park.

In hindsight, the Armagh players’ doubts about Paul Grimley’s attacking intentions were there for all to see.

They look to be an improved version of themselves this time around. Jamie Clarke insists it's a different place now. Kieran McGeeney's presence would almost make that a given anyway but on top of that, the fact that Cavan are first up again will have focused minds from way back.

They could badly do with Aaron Kernan here. He hasn't recovered in time to take his place and there's no question he's a loss. Brendan Donaghy will be playing his first game in six months and is unlikely to get forward a huge amount.


This is as fine a side as Cavan have put out in a few years. Their run to last year's quarter-final was all the more admirable for being achieved without Gearóid McKiernan (pictured above in action against Roscommon). Without him, they were reliant on Cian Mackey alone to link attack and defence and the lack of an option arguably cost them an Ulster final appearance.

The loss of All Star nominee Killian Clarke, gone to America for the summer, is a blow. There's very little between these sides but McKiernan's influence can tip the balance in Cavan's favour this time.

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin

Malachy Clerkin is a sports writer with The Irish Times