GAA Football

Ulster SFC semi-final replay - Cavan v Armagh stats and analysis ahead of Clones showdown

Jarlath Og Burns has been superb in both Armagh's Championship outings thus far, and will have a big say in tomorrow's game - provided he is given the all clear to play. Picture by Seamus Loughran
Analysis by Neil Loughran

MAN OF THE MOMENT

Jarlath Og Burns (Armagh)

THE Silverbridge man has been a revelation in his first inter-county campaign, and looks like the driving force Armagh have been crying out for at midfield.

Strong, quick and direct, the 21-year-old is a superb ball-carrier as well as being a brilliant high fielder, and has been utterly dominant in both Ulster Championship outings thus far.

Slotted over two points in Clones last Sunday, and scored the crucial goal that gave Armagh a platform to go on and win the game early in the second half. Sensing an opportunity, he burst into space and finished coolly.

A nasty clash of heads forced him out of the game at the start of extra-time, though Armagh have denied he suffered a concussion. That being the case he is expected to start tomorrow, and it is up to Cavan to find a way to curtail his influence.

KEY BATTLE

Dara McVeety (Cavan) v Mark Shields (Armagh)

CIAN Mackey’s sublime cameo aside, McVeety was by some distance Cavan’s most dangerous player last week on a day when Gearoid McKiernan and Martin Reilly were out of sorts/well shackled.

James Morgan constantly found McVeety just out in front of him, with the Crossmaglen man giving away three frees and picking up a yellow card before being withdrawn 23 minutes in.

The pacy Shields was eventually moved on to the Crosserlough dynamo and fared better, but still struggled to contain McVeety’s bursts from deep as he landed two second half points and created two other scores.

TACTICAL TAKE

Cavan

MUCH of what Mickey Graham planned worked out well last week.

Killian Clarke kept Rian O’Neill pretty quiet, Jason McLoughlin snuffed out the threat of Jamie Clarke, Conor Moynagh was effective raiding from deep and Dara McVeety’s pace caused problems for the Armagh rearguard all day.

Elsewhere though, Martin Reilly – so influential in the earlier victory over Monaghan – couldn’t escape the clutches of Aidan Forker, no matter where he went, and Graham needs to find a way to get more from the creative Killygarry man.

With Gerard Smith injured, he might even consider starting Reilly at wing-back.

Gearoid McKiernan played in fits and starts, and could perhaps offer more further forward where McVeety was ploughing a lone furrow at times. The Cavan boss moved McVeety onto Armagh danger man Jarlath Og Burns late in normal time, though it would be a bold move to go that way from the start tomorrow.

Cian Mackey will be used as an impact sub again, while you would expect that fellow sub Stephen Murray – superb off the bench last week – will also be held in reserve as Cavan look to unleash fresh legs late on.

Greg McCabe could come into the Armagh side in place of Brendan Donaghy, who was shown a straight red card last week. Picture by Margaret McLaughlin

Armagh

WITH Brendan Donaghy suspended, you would expect that either Greg McCabe or Aaron McKay will play the sweeper role performed to good effect by the Clonmore veteran last week.

Cavan didn’t create a single goal chance last week and, although Dara McVeety caused bother at times, Armagh are unlikely to mess too much with their defensive setup.

Kieran McGeeney may opt for the pace of Mark Shields against McVeety, while it is hard to imagine Gearoid McKiernan will be so off colour again. A match up between him and Jarlath Og Burns would be intriguing after Cavan struggled to get to grips with the Silverbridge man last week.

Just as some of the Breffni County’s dangermen were shut out, the same applies to Armagh. Rory Grugan barely featured, Jamie Clarke and Rian O’Neill ended up drifting further and further away from goal in a bid to get on the ball, while Ethan Rafferty and Andrew Murnin made little impact from the bench.

Kieran McGeeney has to find a way to get more out of those men if they are to seal that elusive Ulster final spot.

TEAM TALK

Cavan

A HAMSTRING injury forced Gerard Smith off before the half hour mark last week and he will play no part tomorrow. Ciaran Brady would be the obvious replacement in the half-back line but he is suspended, so Conor Brady could go in there with Paul Graham coming in at midfield. Stephen Murray made a huge impact from the bench last week but his pace is likely to be held in reserve again.

Probable: R Galligan; J McLoughlin, K Clarke, P Faulkner; C Moynagh, Conor Brady, C Rehill; P Graham, G McKiernan; M Reilly, N Murray, O Kiernan; T Galligan, D McVeety, C Madden

Armagh

EITHER Greg McCabe or Aaron McKay is likely to come in for the suspended Brendan Donaghy, with the rest of the team expected to remain the same. Andrew Murnin was named in the starting 15 last week but, predictably, didn’t feature until the 65th minute.

Probable: B Hughes; J Morgan, M Shields, P Hughes; R Kennedy, G McCabe, A Forker; J Og Burns, N Grimley; A Nugent, R Grugan, J Hall; S Campbell, J Clarke, R O’Neill

WHO’S THE REF?

Paddy Neilan (Roscommon)

NEILAN was the man in the middle when Armagh exited the Ulster Championship to Fermanagh last year, and famously took charge when the Orchardmen edged out Tipperary in a Qualifier the previous summer. That day, it would be fair to say neither manager was too impressed with the Roscommon whistler.

Last week’s drawn semi-final was niggly rather than nasty in the main, but Neilan will need to have his eyes peeled as these rivals pick up where they left off.

Paddy Neilan takes charge of tomorrow's Ulster Championship semi-final replay between Cavan and Armagh. Picture by Seamus Loughran

WEATHER WATCH

THERE was a strong breeze at play in Clones last weekend, but it looks like being more of a muggy affair tomorrow afternoon, with the possibility of light rain showers throughout.

LAST CHAMPIONSHIP MEETING

June 2, 2019, Ulster Senior Football Championship semi-final: Cavan 0-17 Armagh 1-14 (AET)

THIS is the reason we have a replay tomorrow, after a thrilling draw played out at St Tiernach’s Park in Clones last Sunday.

For the second time in this year’s Ulster Championship the Orchardmen were taken the full distance but, unlike against Down, they failed to finish the job after a tit-for-tat game that saw the counties level on 11 occasions.

Jarlath Og Burns looked to have swung it in Armagh’s favour with a goal early in the second half of normal time, before a Rian O’Neill free extended their to four.

But the introduction of Stephen Murray and veteran Cian Mackey from the bench turned the game, with Mackey hitting two priceless equalisers, first sending an epic to added time, and later to a replay in the dying moments of extra-time.

LAST 10 CHAMPIONSHIP MEETINGS

June 2, 2019: Armagh 1-14 Cavan 0-17 (AET)

May 29, 2016: Armagh 0-14 Cavan 2-16

June 8, 2014: Armagh 1-12 Cavan 0-9

May 19, 2013: Armagh 1-11 Cavan 1-15

June 15, 2008: Armagh 0-17 Cavan 0-13

June 13, 2004: Armagh 0-13 Cavan 0-11

June 11, 1978: Armagh 0-9 Cavan 0-16

June 5, 1977: Armagh 2-14 Cavan 1-12

July 18, 1965: Armagh 0-4 Cavan 1-10

June 24, 1962: Armagh 2-2 Cavan 3-8

BETTING BOX

Cavan 5/6

Armagh 6/5

Draw 15/2

Handicap betting

Cavan (-1) 6/5

Armagh (+1) 5/6

Handicap draw (-1) 8/1

First goalscorer

Jamie Clarke (Armagh) 15/2

Rian O’Neill (Armagh 9/1

Dara McVeety (Cavan) 11/1

Gearoid McKiernan (Cavan) 16/1

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