Armagh targeting David Givney - Kieran McGeeney
CAVAN full-forward David Givney can expect to be a marked man when Armagh return to Kingspan Breffni Park for Sunday’s Ulster quarter-final clash.
Givney scored 1-1 and gave the Orchard county defence a torrid time when Cavan breezed to a 3-18 to 0-10 win in a Division Two meeting at the Cavan town venue in March.
Since then, the counties have gone their separate ways - Cavan to Division One, Armagh to Division Three - but Orchard county manager Kieran McGeeney has learned some valuable lessons from what was a chastening defeat for him and his players. They include keeping closer tabs on Givney and cutting off the supply line to the Mountnugent clubman.
“Givney caused us more problems than anybody the last time at full-forward. They got a lot of scores off him,” said the Mullaghbawn native, who noted how Tyrone dealt with the threat Givney posed when they beat Cavan in the Division Two final at Croke Park.
“Colm Cavanagh sat in front of him and it seemed to negate that,” he said.
“It’s how they get the ball. For me, the two midfielders, along with [Dara] McVeety and [Martin] Reilly, deliver them in. They play that attacking system, they have movement and dynamic pace, which is going to be our greatest problem. Those fellas can play football alright, they can finish, but it's the way they get the supply.”
Some of Armagh’s problems in that league loss were of their own making and the Orchard management will take steps to address them for Sunday’s showdown. Armagh gave the ball away repeatedly from their own kick-outs and also with off-target passing from defence.
“We gave a hell of a lot of ball away, most of it under no pressure,” acknowledged McGeeney.
“Same here against Donegal in the Championship last year. That’s something we are trying to change. There might be a bit of competition anxiety in the players as well when they are being told not to kick it away when they are under a wee bit of pressure and they feel they have to.”
That league loss was Armagh’s second defeat to Cavan this year - the Breffni men won 2-8 to 0-11 (Givney wasn’t among the scorers) in the Dr McKenna Cup in January. Armagh would happily trade those losses for a win on Sunday.
Armagh beat Cavan comfortably at the Athletic Grounds in 2014, but were well beaten on their last Championship visit Breffni Park back in 2013 - they lost an Ulster preliminary round clash 1-15 to 1-11
Despite their poor record there recently, McGeeney says the wide open spaces of Breffni Park suit his team: “It’s a difficult pitch to go to,” he said.
“Cavan always play well there, but it is a big pitch and I think, from Armagh's point of view, that is a good thing. A big open pitch… you would rather play on it than a tight pitch. We have a lot of ground to make up. Cavan are in Division One now, they are probably, outside of Dublin, one of the highest-scoring teams in the country at the moment.
“Against Tyrone [in the Division Two final], people said they were well under control, but they scored 15 points, so I would hate to see if we didn't have them under control.
“We know we have a tough job in front of us, but there is not much point in me pushing that. It is going to be a tough task.”