Preview: All Ireland SFC Qualifiers Round 1B
Sunday June 25
London v Carlow, McGovern Park, Ruislip, 1pm
At the end of last month in McGovern Park, Ruislip London were well placed to earn a Connacht SFC Quarter-Final victory over Leitrim.
Captain Liam Gavaghan was leading by example, driving forward to kick a string of delightful points for Ciaran Deely’s charges.
Inside former Tyrone attacker Owen Mulligan was contributing too, but Leitrim introduced Ronan Kennedy, who bagged two goals late on to deny London.
Now the Exiles are eager to make an impact when Carlow, who frustrated Dublin for a spell in their Leinster SFC Quarter-Final, visit Ruislip.
A dramatic and action packed victory over Wexford ensured Carlow sampled an evening in the company of All Ireland champions Dublin at O’Moore Park, Portlaoise.
There was nothing wrong with Carlow’s application in that contest, but Dublin eventually pulled confidently clear in the dying minutes.
London defeated Carlow in the Allianz Football League in February so Turlough O’Brien is completely aware their threat. “It is a tricky tie,” the Carlow manager says. They have just re-opened Ruislip and have done a fantastic job on the pitch.
“They will be looking to get a win under their belts. They lost to Leitrim and I am sure they were disappointed.”
Offaly v Cavan, O'Connor Park, 6.30pm
A fortnight ago Offaly were on the verge of securing a win over Westmeath, who survived to win last Saturday’s replay.
That was a blow for the Faithful County, who were overpowered in the closing stages by a late Westmeath flurry.
Offaly manager Pat Flanagan remains adamant that significant potential exists within the county, but Cavan will be demanding opponents.
Mattie McGleenan’s charges were defeated in a tight Ulster SFC Quarter-Final by Monaghan with Conor McManus planting the decisive goal.
The experienced Cian Mackey was splendid nailing three points from play, while Niall McDermott and Seanie Johnston were sharp from frees.
Captain Killian Clarke and wing back James McEnroe were injury doubts, but both have been named to start for Cavan.
Responding following the Westmeath defeat is what Offaly will be striving to do according to Flanagan.
"Just to get the lads heads' up is going to be a big challenge,” Flanagan admits. “To a play a team that was in Division One this year is going to be a serious task. But that's what it is, a challenge, and maybe these boys will learn an awful lot from it.”
OFFALY: Alan Mulhall; Brian Darby, Eoin Rigney, Sean Pender; Niall Darby, Peter Cunningham, Cian Donohue; Conor McNamee, David Hanlon; Ruairi Allen, Graham Guilfoyle, Michael Brazil; Johnny Moloney, Nigel Dunne, Niall McNamee.
CAVAN: Raymond Galligan; Padraig Faulkner, Killian Clarke, Jason McLoughlin; James McEnroe, Conor Moynagh, Gerard Smith; Liam Buchanan, Gearoid McKiernan; Cian Mackey, Dara McVeety, Martin Reilly; Niall Clerkin, Niall McDermott, Sean Johnston.
Armagh v Fermanagh, Athletic Grounds, 6.30pm
Fermanagh haven’t beaten Armagh in the Championship since their famous 2004 All Ireland Quarter-Final win.
Armagh are viewed as a promising team, sprinkled with talented youngsters, but the Ulster SFC loss to Down was a setback.
Down had the defensive doors bolted firmly shut with Armagh only registering 2-7 so Kieran McGeeney’s charges will be hoping for a healthier total this Sunday.
Ensuring Jamie Clarke and Andrew Murnin are supplied with quality possession is what Armagh will be seeking to do.
Fermanagh caused Monaghan some problems in their Ulster SFC preliminary round encounter before Malachy O’Rourke’s charges emerged convincing victors.
Ruairi Corrigan could return for Fermanagh with manager Pete McGrath acknowledging that another interesting match looms.
“Recent history and recent games would suggest the teams are quite evenly matched," McGrath says. "When you come then to a Championship match it is about which team on the day can find that extra edge, maybe find that bit of good fortune which you'll win nothing without and which team can show the greater energy or greater desire. Those are the imponderables which will unravel on Sunday.”
ARMAGH: Blaine Hughes; James Morgan, Charlie Vernon, Aaron McKay; Aidan Forker, Brendan Donaghy, Paul Hughes; Stephen Sheridan, Niall Grimley; Mark Shields, Anthony Duffy, Rory Grugan; Jamie Clarke, Andrew Murnin, Gavin McParland.
FERMANAGH: Chris Snow; Mickey Jones, Che Cullen, Cian McManus; Aidan Breen, Ryan McCluskey, Conor Murphy; Eoin Donnelly, Lee Cullen; Barry Mulrone, Ryan Lyons, Paul McCusker; Kane Connor, Sean Quigley, Tomas Corrigan.