Cavan wing-back Gerry Smyth could miss All-Ireland Qualifier against Tipperary
GERRY Smyth looks likely to miss Cavan’s Qualifier round two clash with Tipperary at Kingspan Breffni Park on July 8.
The Lavey wing-back limped out of Sunday’s Qualifier win over Offaly in Tullamore with a hamstring injury and manager Mattie McGleenan doesn’t expect him to be fit by the time Tipp arrive in Cavan town.
“Gerry is in trouble,” McGleenan said.
“He scored a great point just after half-time but he tweaked a hamstring and he’s a big concern.”
However, Shercock clubman Killian Clarke could be fully fit for the game. Clarke had been nursing a knee injury in the build-up to Sunday’s Qualifier but was able to put his shoulder to the Breffni wheel in the second half in Tullamore.
“We got 20 minutes into him which was great,” said McGleenan.
“That’s was a big plus for us.”
McGleenan’s Cavan face a Tipperary side that has come through high-pressure games under Liam Kearns over the past two seasons. Last year they bounced back from losing the Munster final to Kerry by beating Galway to reach the All-Ireland semi-finals.
In this season’s League, a Michael Quinlivan hat-trick saw them leapfrog Armagh to nick promotion in the last minute of the last round of matches and Conor Sweeney scored 2-5 to see them past Louth in the Division Three final.
“Tipp were in an All-Ireland U21 final against Tyrone a couple of years ago,” McGleenan recalled.
“They’ve been coming and coming with minor teams this last few years and to get to the All-Ireland semi-final is some football. The experience they’ve gained from that is going to stand them in good stead this year so I’m under no illusions the task we have ahead of us but the players and the public will absolutely relish it.”
Tipp will be determined to prove that their Championship form of last year was no flash in the pan while Cavan will hope to build on a decent performance against a neversaydie Offaly outfit.
“I knew we had to be on our game and the boys did very well,” said McGleenan.
“We were seven points up with about 10 to go and Offaly got two or three points at that stage but we went about our business better than we have done.
“We’ll take the lessons from that game into the Tipperary game and if we keep improving by one per cent around the field we can make life difficult for Tipp. I know the Cavan crowd will come out and get behind us. We’ll have the best Cavan 15 we can get out on the field against Tipp and we’ll see where it takes us.”
Meanwhile, McGleenan has given a cautious thumbs-up to the Sunday night Qualifier slot – Cavan’s game in Tullamore threw in at 6.30pm, the same time Armagh and Fermanagh began at the Athletic Grounds.
“Sunday was probably difficult for Cavan supports because Feile was on in the county over the weekend and that would have taken away some of our support,” he said.
“But it is good that they’re trying these things. Saturday night football is fabulous, the Monaghan-Down game on Saturday night was great, it was great entertainment.
“People want to see Championship football week-in, week-out.”