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Preview: Tailteann Cup Round 2

Mark Barry of Laois, left, and Declan Hogan of Offaly during the Tailteann Cup launch at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile.

Mark Barry of Laois, left, and Declan Hogan of Offaly during the Tailteann Cup launch at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile.

Tailteann Cup round 2

Group 1

Saturday May 20

London v Cavan, Ruislip, 2pm

Ref: John Gilmartin (Sligo)

Cavan were one of the Tailteann Cup favourites before a ball was even kicked and justified that billing in the first-round with a nine point win over Laois.

They took some time to warm to the task in that match, but a string of seven unanswered points in the third quarter was the winning of the game.

That period underlined just how potent a side Cavan can be when they’re in the groove. Pádraig Faulkner, Killian Clarke, and Oisin Kiernan anchor a solid defence, James Smith and Conor Brady drive them forward from midfield, and Gerard Smith, Gearoid McKiernan, and Paddy Lynch in particular are reliable score-getters.

It all adds up to a difficult looking challenge for London who were beaten by Offaly by nine points last time out.

They’re usually a tougher nut to crack in Ruislip, but they just don’t have the same firepower that Cavan possess.

LONDON: Andrew Walsh; Daire Rooney, Michael Clarke, Nathan McElwaine; Ronan Slone, Cahir Healy, Eoin Walsh; Joshua Obahor, Liam Gallagher; Conal Gallagher, Daniel Clarke, Aidan McLoughlin; Ryan Tohill, Liam Gavaghan, Fiontan Eastwood. Subs: Kevin Mullan, Eoin Flanagan, Conor O'Neill, James Hynes, Joseph McGill, Christopher Farley, Eunan Curran, Fionn Gallagher, Henry Walsh, Stephen Dornan, Enda Lynn.

CAVAN: Raymond Galligan; Killian Clarke, Padraig Faulkner, Niall Carolan; Ciarán Brady, Oisin Kiernan, Cian Madden; Conor Brady, James Smith; Gerard Smith, Gearóid McKiernan, Tiarnán Madden; Ryan O'Neill, Paddy Lynch, Oisin Brady. Subs: Gary O'Rourke, Brandon Boylan, Conor Rehill, Jonathan McCabe, Martin Reilly, Evan Finnegan, Cian Reilly, Oisin Kiernan, Ryan Donohoe, Tristan Noack Hofmann, Conor Smith

Laois v Offaly, Laois Hire O'Moore Park, 7pm

Ref: Liam Devenney (Mayo)

It’s a while since these two rivals have played in the heat of championship battle and this derby game has all the ingredients to be a cracker.

Laois need a win after losing in the first-round to Cavan, but they’ll take some positives from that defeat. They lost by nine points in the end but had the Breffni County in a lot of trouble in the first-half when they opened up a three point lead.

It was only when Cavan won a penalty against the run of play that the tide turned.

Laois got a lot of joy when they went direct against Cavan, so expect them to do the same against Offaly by angling in deliveries to dangerous forwards like Mark Barry, Evan O’Carroll and Paul Kingston.

Offaly won their first-round match comfortably against London, but seemed to tire towards the end of the match rather than press home their advantage. They put a lot of effort into the Leinster championship, so perhaps that’s taking its toll.

Cian Farrell was on fire against London and is their most likely match-winner again here.

LAOIS: Killian Roche; Sean Greene, Trevor Collins, Robert Pigott; Padraig Kirwan, Mark Timmons, Patrick O Sullivan; Kieran Lillis, Damon Larkin; Cathal Doyle, Paul Kingston, James Finn; Mark Barry, Evan O’Carroll, Eoin Lowry. Subs: Scott Osborne, Seamus Lacey, Alex Mohan, Sean O’Flynn, Kevin Swayne, Ciaran Burke, Dylan Kavanagh, Darragh Carolan, Niall Corbet, Brian Daly, Colm Murphy

OFFALY: Ian Duffy; Lee Pearson, Declan Hogan, David Dempsey; Jack O'Brien, Peter Cunningham, Ciaran Donnelly; Conor McNamee, Jack McEvoy; Joe Maher, Ruairi McNamee, Anton Sullivan; Cian Farrell, Nigel Dunne, Dylan Hyland. Subs: Corey White, Cian Donohoe, Jamie Evans, Aaron Leavy, Morgan Tynan, Cormac Delaney, Ed Cullen, Nigel Bracken, Shane Tierney, Ruairi O'Neil, Luke Egan.

Matthew Costello of Meath, left, and Dermot Ryan of Waterford during the Tailteann Cup launch at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile.

Matthew Costello of Meath, left, and Dermot Ryan of Waterford during the Tailteann Cup launch at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile.


Saturday May 20

Waterford v Meath, Fraher Field, 6.30pm

Ref: Sean Lonergan (Tipperary)

Meath got their Tailteann Cup campaign off to a strong start with an 11-point win over Tipperary last weekend.

They did so while fielding three championship debutants in Aaron Lynch, Sean Brennan, and Conor Gray, so it was a very satisfactory day all round for Colm O’Rourke’s team.

Lynch showed his class by scoring 1-3 from play, and with Jordan Morris and Matthew Costello also in a rich vein of form the Royals are posing a potent attacking threat.

It will probably be too hot to handle for a Waterford team that lost to Down by 11 points in their first round clash. They started that match encouragingly enough but faded away in the second-half.

None of their starting inside forwards ended up registering a score, and it’s that relative lack of firepower that makes it hard to look beyond a Meath win here.

WATERFORD: Ben Kirwan; Liam Fennell, Darragh Ó Cathasaigh, Eoghan McGrath-Butler; Dermot Ryan, Brian Looby, Jordan O'Sullivan; Michael Curry, Brian Lynch; Conor Murray, Darragh Corcoran, Jason Curry; Michael Kiely, Jason Gleeson, Sean Whelan-Barrett. Subs: Paudie Hunt, Conor Ó Cuirrín, Tom O'Connell, Mark Cummins, Ross Browne, Donal Fitzgerald, John Devine, Caoimhín Walsh, Billy Hynes, Dean Reidy, Caoimhín Maguire.

MEATH: Seán Brennan; Adam O'Neill, Ronan Ryan, Michael Flood; Donal Keogan, Padraic Harnan, Seán Coffey; Ronan Jones, Conor Gray; Cillian O'Sullivan, Daithí McGowan, Jack O'Connor; Jordan Morris, Mathew Costello, Aaron Lynch. Subs: Harry Hogan, Harry O'Higgins, James McEntee, John O'Regan, Diarmuid Moriarty, Cathal Hickey, Keith Curtis, Donal Lenihan, Ben Wyer, Cian Rogers, Eoghan Frayne

Sunday, May 21

Tipperary v Down, FBD Semple Stadium, 1.45pm

Ref: Thomas Murphy (Galway)

A Tipperary team very much in a rebuilding phase started well in their first round match against Meath, but were outplayed thereafter and eventually fell to an 11-point defeat.

Without injured captain Conor Sweeney they’re lacking a cutting edge at the moment, and only Steven O’Brien of their inside forwards carried a threat against the Royals.

Down weren’t at their best against Waterford last weekend but still won by 11-points in the end and in players like Pat Havern, Shealan Johnston, Eugene Branagan, Andrew Gilmore, and Eamon Brown have players who pose a range of different attacking questions for opposition defences.

When these two teams met in the League in the same venue, Down won out by three points, and since that game they’ve improved which is why they’re warm favourites to win here.

TIPPERARY: Michael O'Reilly; Shane O'Connell, Jimmy Feehan, Willie Eviston; Kevin Fahey, Colm O'Shaughnessy, Colman Kennedy; Paudie Feehan, Conall Kennedy; Emmet Moloney, Jack Kennedy, Luke Boland; Mark Russell, Stephen Quirke, Sean O'Connor. Subs: Cian O'Mahony, Darragh Brennan, Dean Carew, Rory Collins, Teddy Doyle, Joseph Lawrence, Donough Leahy, James Morris, Mikey O'Shea, Eoghan Power, Keith Ryan

DOWN: John O'Hare; Finn McElroy, Pierce Laverty, Anthony Doherty; Conor Francis, Gerard Collins, Patrick Branagan; Conor Poland, Pat Havern; Miceal Rooney, Jerome Johnston, Odhran Murdock; Donagh McAleenan, Ruairí O'Hare, Eamon Brown. Subs: Niall Kane, Ryan Johnston, Daniel Guinness, Ceilum Doherty, Shane Annett, Shealan Johnston, Danny Magill, Conor Fitzpatrick, Andrew Gilmore, Eugene Branagan, Ross Carr

Darragh Foley of Carlow, left, and Paul Maher of Limerick during the Tailteann Cup launch at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile.

Darragh Foley of Carlow, left, and Paul Maher of Limerick during the Tailteann Cup launch at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile.

Group 3

Saturday May 20

Carlow v Limerick, Netwatch Cullen Park, 3pm

Ref: Anthony Nolan (Wicklow)

Carlow’s win over Wicklow was one of the stand-out results of round 1.

The match looked like it would be a repeat of the Leinster SFC meeting between the two teams when Wicklow led by five points with six minutes of normal time remaining.

But then Carlow summoned an extraordinary comeback that saw them score the last six points in a row.

They were the lowest ranked team in this group in terms of League placings, but will now feel like this home match against Limerick offers a glorious opportunity of sealing their place in the knock-out rounds.

Limerick, too, have that incentive after their hard-fought opening round win over Longford, when a goal in each half proved pivotal.

The Shannonsiders were two divisions above Carlow in the League this year, and that experience of being tested against higher quality teams and playing at a higher tempo could give them an edge here.

CARLOW: Johnny Furey; Shane Buggy, Mikey Bambrick, Seanie Bambrick; Shane Clarke, Mark Furey, Jonah Dunne; Conor Doyle, Jordan Morrissey; Conor Crowley, Ciarán Moran, Ross Dunphy; Colm Hulton, Darragh Foley, Jamie Clarke. Subs: Ciaran Cunningham, Liam Roberts, Liam Brennan, Niall Hickey, Aaron Amond, Eric Molloy, Dara Curran, Finbarr Kavanagh, Paddy Regan, Cathal Kelly, Bryan McMahon

LIMERICK: Donal O'Sullivan; Mike Donovan, Sean O'Dea, Brian Fanning; Barry Coleman, Jim Liston, Paul Maher; Cillian Fahy, Cathal Downes; Cian Sheehan, Brian Donova, Adrian Enright; James Naughton, Colm McSweeney, Peter Nash. Subs: Aaron O Sullivan, Hugh Bourke, Robbie Bourke, Gordon Brown, David Connolly, Iain Corbett, Tommy Griffin, Davey Lyons, Tony Mc Carthy, Darragh Murray, Cormac Woulfe

Longford v Wicklow, Glennon Bros Pearse Park, 5pm

Ref: Barry Tiernan (Dublin)

Both of these teams lost their first-round matches, so this is already looking like a must-win game in terms of qualifying for the knock-out rounds.

Wicklow, especially, must be kicking themselves after letting slip a five-point lead against Carlow in the closing minutes, and mentally might be a in a difficult place.

Longford were second-best to Limerick for most of their match, but will take some encouragement from how strongly they finished the game.

Wicklow arguably have the sharper forwards, but home advantage for Longford will be a factor too. This will be a game of very fine margins.

LONGFORD: Patrick Collum; Patrick Fox, Andrew Farrell, Bryan Masterson; Iarla O'Sullivan, Michael Quinn, Peter Lynn; Ryan Moffett, Darren Gallagher; Joe Hagan, Dessie Reynolds, Aaron Farrell; Liam Connerton, Dylan Farrell, Oran Kenny. Subs: Mícheál Hughes, Peter Foy, Keelin McGann, Daire O'Brien, Jack Macken, Daniel Reynolds, Barry O'Farrell, Ruairí Harkin, Matt Duffy, Tadhg McNevin, Darragh Doherty

WICKLOW: Mark Jackson; Eoin Murtagh, Paul McLoughlin, Malachy Stone; Fintan O'Shea, Patrick O'Keane, Mark Kenny; Dean Healy, Pádraig O’Toole; Conor Fee, John Paul Hurley, Jack Kirwan; John Paul Nolan, Kevin Quinn, Eoin Darcy. Subs: Peter Byrne, Jaques McCall, Matt Nolan, Arun Daly Danne, John Keogh, Joe Prendergast, Cian O'Sulivan, Craig Maguire, Karl Furlong, Tom Maher, Liam O Neill

Eoghan Nolan of Wexford, left, and Peter Healy of Antrim during the Tailteann Cup launch at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile.

Eoghan Nolan of Wexford, left, and Peter Healy of Antrim during the Tailteann Cup launch at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile.

Group 4

Saturday May 20

Wexford v Antrim, Chadwicks Wexford Park, 5.30pm

Ref: David Murnane (Cork)

Wexford produced one of the most notable results of Round 1 when they came from six points down at half-time to force a draw away from home against Fermanagh, a team that will operate two divisions above them in the league next year.

It was very much a team effort with eight players getting on the scoresheet, and the character that his team showed in that second half will have really pleased manager John Hegarty.

With home advantage for this match opportunity now really knocks for the Slaneysiders who were the group outsiders before a ball was kicked.  

Antrim will be feeling very good about themselves too though after a fine first-round win over Leitrim.

During the League they were guilty of late fade-outs in some matches, but against Leitrim they finished strongly to eventually win by nine.

This Antrim team has impressive firepower, and they’ll feel like if they can get s good supply of ball into sharp forwards like Adam Loughran, Dominic McEnhill, and Ruairi McCann, they can make it two wins from two.

WEXFORD: Darragh Brooks; Brian Cushe, Páraic Hughes, Michael Furlong; Eoin Porter, Glen Malone, Cathal Walsh; Liam Coleman, Niall Hughes; Conor Carty, Eoghan Nolan, Kevin O'Grady; Robbie Brooks, Mark Rossiter, Ben Brosnan. Subs: Anto Larkin, Dylan Furlong, Cian Hughes, Conor Kinsella, Darragh Lyons, Brian Molloy, Sean Nolan, Liam O'Connor, Alan Tobin, John Tubritt, Richard Waters

ANTRIM: Michael Byrne; Ronan Boyle, Peter Healy, Patrick McCormick; Patrick McBride, Joseph Finnegan, Dermot McAleese; Jack Dowling, Conor Stewart; Patrick Finnegan, Adam Loughran, Ruairí McCann; Marc Jordan, Ruairi McCann, Dominic McEnhill. Subs: Luke Mulholland, Barry McCormick, Calum Higgins, Cathal Hynds, Conall McGirr, Conhuir Johnston, Cormac McGettigan, Declan Lynch, Odhran Eastwood, Oisin Doherty, Ryan McQuillan

Leitrim v Fermanagh, Avant Money Páirc Sean MacDiarmada, 6pm (GAAGO)

Ref: Paul Faloon (Down)

One of the pre-championship favourites, Fermanagh will be kicking themselves for only managing a draw at home to Wexford in the first round.

They were their own worst enemies at times, missing four decent goal-chances, kicking nine wides, and coughing up a soft penalty.

They’ll believe that if they can be more clinical with the scoring opportunities that come their way they’ll be in decent shape, but this will be a tricky assignment away to a Leitrim team fighting for their lives after a first-round defeat to Antrim.

It’s hard to know what to make of this Leitrim team. At times they looked really good in the League and fell just short of promotion from Division 4, but were then knocked out of the Connacht championship by New York.

The nature of their second-half fade-out against Antrim last weekend won’t have done their confidence any good, but you still feel like they have a big performance in them.

Fermanagh are fancied with good reason, but in front of their home crowd Leitrim will want to make a statement.

LEITRIM: Nevin O'Donnell; Paddy Maguire, Mark Diffley, Conor Farrell; James Rooney, Shane Quinn, Aidan Flynn; Pearce Dolan, Donal Wrynn; Darragh Rooney, Keith Beirne, Mark Plunkett; Jack Heslin, Barry McNulty, Domhnaill Flynn. Subs: Darren Maxwell, Ciallian McGloin, Paul Keaney, Tom Prior, Diarmuid Kelleher, Paul Moran, Radek Oberwan, Oisin McLoughlin, Stephen McLoughlin, Michael McKiernan, Tom Quinn

FERMANAGH: Sean McNally; Jonathan Cassidy, Che Cullen, Luke Flanagan; Shane McGullion, Lee Cullen, Cian McManus; Ryan Jones, Brandon Horan; Conor McShea, Ryan Lyons, Ronan McCaffrey; Aidan Breen, Garvan Jones, Ultan Kelm. Subs: Jack Kelly, Declan McCusker, Conor McGee, Sean Quigley, Garrett Cavanagh, Josh Largo Ellis, Conal Jones, Stephen McGullion, Oisin Smyth, Tommy McCaffrey, Jack McCann