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For the second year in a row, Cavan have caused upset in Ulster by beating Monaghan. After looking like they were down and out last Saturday, a late rally saw them earn extra-time. Then, it looked like penalties were on the cards until Cavan keeper Raymond Galligan won the game with a long-range free. On the other hand, Antrim last featured in an Ulster final in 2009. The straight-knock out format of this year’s Championship doesn’t work in their favour. Yet, it may give the Antrim players the freedom to challenge Cavan on Saturday evening.
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Cavan re-writing the script
After a disappointing relegation from Division 2 recently, Cavan were big underdogs going into the Championship opener. But, the Breffni men showed why they were not to be written off just yet with an incredible never-say-die attitude.
Cavan started the brighter against Monaghan. After ten minutes, they had a four-point lead. Oisín Pierson’s goal pushed them out in front. However, Monaghan came back strongly and took a seven-point lead into the break.
In the second-half, Cavan used the wind advantage wisely and began to claw in the deficit. By the time the clock was up Cavan had drawn level thanks to a superbly taken equaliser by Gerard Smith.
In a nervy extra-time period, Monaghan edged in front before Martin Reilly found the net for Cavan. Then, the final few minutes was a demonstration of long-range free taking. It looked like Rory Beggan had sealed a penalty shoot-out with a free in added time. But, with the last kick of the game Raymond Galligan sent Cavan through with a free from 58m out.
Last year, Cavan went all the way to the Ulster final. Mickey Graham will be delighted with the fight his team showed last weekend and will be hoping they can reach the decider again.
Antrim claimed third spot in Division 4 this year. In fact, they could have earned promotion if not for a thrashing by Wicklow in the first game back from lockdown. Lenny Harbinson will be hoping the extended break his team has had will work in their favour. In winter conditions, Cavan’s 90 minute battle with Monaghan will have its effects. No doubt, Antrim will be the fresher of these two sides.
The winner of Cavan vs Antrim plays Fermanagh or Down a week later.
Paddy Power don’t see another upset on the cards. They have Cavan at 1/7 versus Antrim’s 11/2. A draw is 12/1.
The game is live on BBC Northern Ireland.
Antrim: Michael Byrne; Patrick Gallagher, Declan Lynch, Kevin O\’Boyle; Peter Healy, James McAuley, Niall Delargy; Colm Duffin, Michael McCann; Kevin Quinn, Mark Sweeney, Dermot McAleese; Paddy Cunningham, Conor Murray, Patrick McBride. Subs: Oisin Kerr, Ruairi McCann, Odhran Eastwood, Paddy McCormack, Mark Gardiner, Eoin Nagle, Tomas McCann, Eunan Walsh, Kristian Healy, Marc Jordan, Ryan Murray, Adam Loughran.
Cavan’s superb win over Monaghan in the preliminary round last Saturday set them up for a first Ulster championship clash with Antrim since 2009.
LAST FIVE CHAMPIONSHIP CLASHES
2009: Antrim 0-13 Cavan 1-7 (Ulster semi-final)
2008: Cavan 1-19 Antrim 1-14 (Ulster first round)
2005: Cavan 1-15 Antrim 2-6 (Ulster quarter-final) Replay
2005: Cavan 0-11 Antrim 0-11 (Ulster quarter-final) Draw
2003: Antrim 2-9 Cavan 1-10 (Ulster quarter-final)
(1) Antrim, who finished third in Division 4 last month, are having their first championship outing and are bidding to reach the Ulster semi-final for the first time since 2014.
(2) Cavan are bidding to reach the semi-final for a second successive year.
(3) The winners will play Fermanagh or Down in the Ulster semi-final.
Ulster Championship Quarter-Final: Cavan vs Antrim, Saturday, November 7th, 13:15 (Breffni Park).
Watch the Full-Time Highlights of Cavan v Monaghan in the Ulster Football Championship here on GAANOW!
Monaghan: 1-17 pic.twitter.com/fIEvFbo9l3
— The GAA (@officialgaa) October 31, 2020
Antrim: Michael Byrne; Patrick Gallagher, Declan Lynch, Kevin O’Boyle; Peter Healy, James McAuley, Niall Delargy; Colm Duffin, Michael McCann; Kevin Quinn, Mark Sweeney, Dermot McAleese; Paddy Cunningham, Conor Murray, Patrick McBride. Subs: Oisin Kerr, Ruairi McCann, Odhran Eastwood, Paddy McCormack, Mark Gardiner, Eoin Nagle, Tomas McCann, Eunan Walsh, Kristian Healy, Marc Jordan, Ryan Murray, Adam Loughran.