It’s midweek, on a truly glorious spring day too, and so our next test in this up-and-down League campaign is approaching. Round 5 sees Cavan rocking into Castlebar, with Sunday’s clash throwing in at MacHale Park at 2pm. Wicklow’s Anthony Nolan is the ref for this one and the match will be broadcast live on TG4.
This is our first day-time fixture in this year’s NFL and it’s also the first time we’ve played the Breffni County in close to ten years. Our most recent meeting was in the championship, a tie also played at MacHale Park, that took place in early July 2007 in the first round of the qualifiers. We had six points to spare over them that sun-kissed Saturday evening but it was a patchy enough performance (as I made clear in the match report I did for the blog on the game – here) and our qualifier gallop that year was halted unceremoniously a week later by Derry up in Celtic Park.
We’ve a few survivors on the current squad from back then. David Clarke, Alan Dillon and Barry Moran all lined out in that qualifier tie, while Andy Moran was an unused sub that evening. Keith Higgins missed the match, having broken a bone in his hand on hurling duty a few weeks earlier.
Prior to 2007, we also met and beat Cavan in the championship in 2005. That was in a Round 4 qualifier match at Hyde Park, where we righted ourselves after our narrow Connacht final loss to Galway and we prevailed over the Ulster County side by three points. We’ve a few lads still on the go from then as well – David Clarke, Alan Dillon and Barry Moran all played a part for us in that one. By the way, if you think our shooting nowadays isn’t hectic, it was no better then: we shot nineteen wides that day as we huffed and puffed to an 0-11 to 0-8 win to book our place in the All-Ireland quarter-final.
Our most recent meeting in the League was back in March 2002, where we got the better of them by two points at Ballinrobe. Daniel Carey has a nice piece in this week’s Mayo News (paper and digital variants) on that 2-14 to 2-12 win for us in Flanagan Park, which is worth checking out if you haven’t yet seen it. Although none of the lads who are around now took part in that game, David Clarke was in the squad then (indeed, he has an NFL medal he won the previous year) and he played in the next League match for us that year.
We encountered Sunday’s opposition on the way to that League title in 2001, drawing with them in Breffni Park in April that year. You have to go back a full ten years,though, for our most recent clash with them prior to that, which also was played at Breffni Park and which we won by five points. The last time they beat us was two years before then, in Ballina where they got the better of us by two points, on a scoreline of 0-13 to 2-5.
I had to have a right good root around the results archive before I finally unearthed our last League meeting at MacHale Park. Before I did so, I found three fixtures played in Charlestown – we won them all (by seven points in 1985, by six points in 1983 and by six points again in 1979) – and then I finally landed on our October 1977 clash at MacHale Park. We won that one too, by four points on a scoreline of 0-12 to 0-8.
So much for ancient history. This is Cavan’s first season in Division One for a good while and, not surprisingly, they’re finding the going a bit tough. There are few easy matches in the top tier (though the Dubs’ canter against us was an exception) but Cavan’s first four outings – against Dublin, Monaghan, Donegal and Tyrone – were against the counties who currently occupy the first four berths in the Division. They came up short in three of these matches but drew with – and should really have beaten – Monaghan the week after we went under to the Farneymen. There’s a warning in there somewhere for us.
The bookies will have none of this talk, though – we’re priced at a miserly 1/5 to get the win that would seal our place in Division One for another year while all but consigning the Cavan lads to the drop.
What do you think of them apples? Time for a vote to round this one off.
How will we do against Cavan?
- Win (79%, 236 Votes)
- Lose (15%, 44 Votes)
- Draw (6%, 17 Votes)
Total Voters: 297