GAA Expert & Columnist
Peter Canavan column: Cavan can take inspiration from Roscommon
Last Updated: 21/06/19 12:04pm
Sky Sports analyst Peter Canavan previews the weekend's Gaelic football action.
Cavan will take a great heart from Roscommon's Connacht final win over Galway. The Rossies showed it can be done - that the underdogs can come out on top.
The Breffni County have excellent footballers who are capable of big performances, and will be hopeful of delivering in Sunday's Ulster final.
But last weekend's affair in Salthill will also have sent out a warning to Donegal. They will know not to take anything for granted.
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It is difficult when a team plays brilliant football in a semi-final, be it an All-Ireland semi-final or a provincial semi-final, it can be hard to replicate the performance levels in the decider. No two games are the same.
So it will be a difficult assignment for Declan Bonner's charges following their victory over Tyrone. They are coming up against a revved-up Cavan team who are playing their first final in 18 years.
Such is the quality this Donegal team possesses, unlike Galway, they will be clear about their system and style of play. This was very evident against Tyrone. And I can't see that changing. They do have options to come on, players to come on as well. I expect them to retain their title.
Can Cork and Meath close the gaps?
Going on this summer's evidence so far, we can expect more from Cork than what we saw in last summer's decider.
Kerry didn't set the world alight against Clare. However, I still think it would represent progress for the Rebels to get within four or five points of their neighbours.
Similarly, Meath are a team who will be looking to continue their progress. They've made great strides in 2019 to date.
However, anything other than a Dublin victory would be the shock of the decade. No matter what type of approach Andy McEntee uses, they'll be relying on Dublin having an off-day. It has happened before with various teams, but it hasn't happened yet with this Dublin team.
If the Royals were to get within seven or eight points of Dublin, it would be a success.
Can the big guns steady the ship?
Mayo will certainly have their work cut out in Newry on Saturday evening. Anybody that has played at Pairc Esler in the championship will know it's a special venue. The Down support appear to have really gotten behind the players.
The Mourne County were really unlucky against Armagh, but bounced back against Tipperary. They will need to produce a massive performance to get the better of Mayo.
I think they'll run them close, but I expect Mayo to come back with the answers, to have an emphatic response to the criticism they received since the Roscommon defeat. It will be a tough game but Mayo ought to progress by a point or two.
Similar to Mayo, I think Tyrone will also give an answer. If you look at the history of the qualifier results, when it comes to shocks, it's evident that Longford are more than capable of taking out the bigger, fancied teams. So the Red Hands will be warned. They know what to expect in that regard.
They're not going to have it all their own way, but given the manner of the Donegal defeat, I'd be surprised if they don't prove a point.
I don't expect Tyrone's style will change. They've been trying to kick the ball more. I still think they can do that. Mickey Harte will be saying that despite a lot of players not playing as well as they could have in Kingspan Breffni, they still created two or three goal chances and came back at Donegal well in the second half. I don't expect the style of play to be altered radically.
Perhaps the pick of the round two qualifiers is the meeting of Monaghan and Armagh.
It's a tasty one, because in many people's eyes, this could be a changing of the guard.
In their last couple of games, the Farney County have looked tired. They looked like a team with a lot of mileage clocked up. Whereas if there's an up-and-coming team, it's Armagh. Two of the best players in Ulster this year have been Rian O'Neill and Jarly Og Burns. They have really inspired the Orchard County, and you have to mention Jamie Clarke too, he has been superb. There's a real dynamic about this Armagh team that hasn't been there for a while.
There's a close game on on the cards here, but I said at the start of the year I expect Monaghan to get to the Super 8s, and I still think that's the case.
Sky Sports's live GAA coverage continues on June 29, with a crucial double header in the football qualifiers.