GAA Football

Cavan in fight to preserve senior status against Westmeath

Cavan's Miona Sheridan and Laura Fitzpatrick in action against Donegal's Susanne White during the Ulster LGFA Football Senior Championship. Cavan face the biggest game of their season in their TG4 All-Ireland SFC relegation play-off against Westmeath in Longford tomorrow Picture: Philip Walsh.
LOUISE GUNN

TG4 All-Ireland Senior Championship relegation play-off: Cavan v Westmeath (tomorrow, Glennon Brothers Pearse Park, Longford, 1pm)

CAVAN face their biggest game of the season when they take on Westmeath to save their senior championship status tomorrow afternoon in Pearse Park.

Results just have not went the way of Gerry Moane’s side this All-Ireland championship campaign. They were by far second best against Dublin in their opening round game but saw much improvement performances against Mayo and Tipperary and indeed they were unlucky to come away empty-handed from both with defeat by the narrowest of margins.

It’s a quick turnaround after that defeat to Tipperary just last weekend and perhaps that is a blessing in disguise as they will have had little time to dwell on what happened with Tipperary converting an injury time penalty to win by one and send Cavan into this relegation play-off.

When it comes to these relegation games, Cavan, although it is something they might not want to shout about, have an excellent record when it.

Unfortunately, they have been involved in every battle for survival since relegation was introduced in 2018 - although there was no relegation in 2020 due to the Covid-hit season - but in each year so far they have won when it mattered most to save their senior championship status, with Westmeath on the receiving end of one of those defeats.

In 2018, Cavan needed a second chance having lost the relegation qualifier to Monaghan but they won the play-off decider beating Tipperary. In 2019 they beat Westmeath 3-12 to 1-7 that saw Westmeath eventually relegated to intermediate after losing the play-off final to Monaghan.

Cavan were back again fighting relegation last year, this time they defeated Tyrone 2-11 to 0-14. Can they win yet another battle and extend their senior status to a 10th year?

Westmeath find themselves battling against a return straight back to intermediate level less than 12 months since they claimed the Mary Quinn Memorial Cup in Croke Park last September.

If Westmeath go down, it will bring to an end a difficult season after also losing their Division One status earlier this year, losing out to Waterford, who incidentally face Monaghan in the other relegation play-off next weekend.

There is plenty of history between the two sides. They were regular opponents in Division Two from 2013 to 2017 and out of their seven meetings in those years, including a 2017 league final and final replay, which Westmeath won, it’s four wins for Westmeath, two for Cavan and that drawn league final. Westmeath also won the 2011 intermediate final between the sides although since Cavan won it in 2013 they have stayed up in senior while Westmeath have went between the two a few times.

On current form, you would have to think Cavan will edge this but Westmeath, who have lost to Kerry and Galway will not go down without a fight.

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