Football

Cork's desperation for points sets up a tough trip for Cavan

Allianz Football League Division Two, round three: Cork v Cavan (Supervalu Pairc Ui Chaoimh, 4pm Saturday)

Paddy Lynch was in fine scoring form for Cavan in Tullamore
Paddy Lynch was in fine scoring form for Cavan in Tullamore Paddy Lynch could be a key scorer for Cavan away to Cork

The C word – ‘crisis’ – was already being bandied around the Rebels footballers even after their opening round thumping up in Donegal.

It has official status now after losing away to Louth last time out. They’re rooted to the bottom of the table and relegation is a real concern.

Yet Cavan will be wary, and well aware that a loss on Leeside would leave them level on points with their struggling hosts, despite all the positives of their own league campaign so far.

Both these C counties could be worrying about going back down to the third grade of the league.

Cavan supporters don’t necessarily expect another promotion, especially not with Armagh and Donegal also in this division.

However, they won’t want the yo-yoing of recent seasons to continue; stability is what’s needed, especially under a novice manager, not yet another change of division.



Cavan boss Raymond Galligan, as the county’s former goalkeeper, will be pleased that they’ve kept two clean sheets so far, and only conceded 25 points.

Still, like Cork, Cavan lost their second round match too, and at home, although that was against highly-fancied Donegal and only by the minimum margin.

That places pressure on the visitors, though, given the desperation in the Cork camp to pick up some points, and quickly.

In one of those quirks of the league fixtures schedule this is Cork’s first home match.

Cork don’t seem to know what’s worse, on or off the pitch recently. Despite all the controversy of the stadium’s re-naming to Supervalu Pairc Ui Chaoimh, the Rebels will hope to make home advantage count. The long journey down can be something of a strain for visitors.

Cork can certainly take heart from the fact that new Louth goalkeeper Niall McDonnell was ‘man of the match’, making four important saves to prevent goals. Otherwise the Rebels would surely have won, and would have added to the two times they found the Donegal net up in Ballybofey.

That narrow defeat in Ardee last time out – by 2-9 to 0-13 – was certainly an improved performance on Cork’s first outing and they will aim for another step up.

There’s a physical core to the Breffnimen, including Killian Brady, Padraig Faulkner, Killian Clarke, and Paddy Lynch, and that’ll be needed against a home team not lacking in stature.

If Cavan can find their first goal of the campaign they should prevail, but Cork’s need to avoid another defeat will make this a tough trip.