Tough task ahead

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

DOWN face a very tough task this weekend to bounce back from the defeat to Donegal last weekend when the travel to Brewster Park to take on Cavan.
It will be a really tough game considering the circumstances of both teams since their last outings. Cavan had a comfortable win over Wicklow last weekend whereas Down were comprehensively beaten by Donegal so you would expect Cavan to be in a much better place going into this game.
Down will obviously need to sort out lots of things that went wrong against Donegal but they really need to focus on kick-outs and getting primary possession from them as Cavan have a strong midfield pairing in Gearoid McKernan and Killian Clarke.
I think Cavan will push right up on kick-outs and try and put Down under pressure from early on. I would normally expect a manager to make lots of changes to the team after such a bad defeat but I don't think Down have many options along the line which can strengthen the team. So I would imagine Eamonn Burns will only make a change or two as they have not many options to come in.
This is a massive game for the players and management as it could be the last game some players get to pull on a Down jersey as this season has been another poor one. But a win could show that some players are up to it and can represent Down for years to come but they need to show on Saturday that they can perform under the pressure in a high level match.
Armagh make the long journey to Sligo a match where I believe they will win by a few points. It's a real good draw for Armagh and it will give the players more confidence heading into the third round draw. With the teams left in the draw it is very possible that Down or Armagh could make the Super 8 but they would need the draw to favour them in the next rounds and then do they even belong in a group with potentially Dublin, Galway and Mayo in alongside them?
The GAA Football Championship has yet to produce the sort of excitement that the Hurling Championship has done and I do believe that we will have to wait until the Super 8 to really see the Championship hit the heights of the Hhurling Championship. Most teams are just shadowboxing but the big hitters will soon start to come up against each other in a few weeks time and that will really get the pulses racing.
The Down Leagues are continuing at a fast rate with plenty of matches being played and some outstanding football and the pacesetters in the divisions this year are Warrenpoint, Loughinisland and Shamrocks and all three will be looking to bring their League form through to the Club Championship in a few weeks time but they are all in great form to push on for league honours in a few months time.


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