Cavan’s Killian Clarke believes Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney will have his side chomping at the bit for the Ulster SFC clash at Breffni Park this weekend and that the recent Allianz League result between the teams will count for little.
The provincial rivals meet on Sunday (live on RTÉ 2 from 3.30pm, live blog on RTE.ie) with the 17-point drubbing handed out by Terry Hyland’s side still fresh in the memory.
While Cavan finished second behind Tyrone to seal promotion to Division 1 next season, the Orchard County were condemned on the final day to relegation on points difference.
Seanie Johnston and Gearóid McKiernan both plundered 1-05 as the home side romped to a 3-18 to 0-10 win to add to their McKenna Cup victory over McGeeney’s side.
"McGeeney is going to have Armagh well fired up"
Not surprisingly, Cavan are now expected to book a semi-final date with Tyrone, but Clarke is expecting a physically demanding challenge on Sunday.
“A lot of people were saying during the League, ‘Ye had a great win, ye beat them in the McKenna Cup and by a good few pints in the League’, but I don’t think that will have much bearing on the game itself,” he told RTÉ Sport. “It’s a whole new game.
“McGeeney is going to have them well drilled, well fired-up. Hopefully we can match their work-rate.”
The Cavan manager is hopeful that his team are progressing nicely though stressed that their opponents are comfortable to shoot from distance.
Their ability to turn defence into attack will be a crucial factor if they are to get their Ulster campaign off to a winning start.
“How we operate with our transition that we don’t take the ball into their tackle lines and keep the ball moving around," Hyland said.
“It’s something we have worked on in the last 12 months and it has brought us joy on the scoring front.”
Armagh captain Ciaran McKeever recently spoke about the collective soul-searching that followed the humbling defeat in Cavan and former All-Ireland winner Jarlath Burns says that while there were signs of improvement towards the end of the League campaign, expectations are low in the county.
“Armagh were unbeaten in their last three League games but the big difference between us and Cavan is that Cavan are staring next year in Division 1, we’re starting next year in Division 3,” he said.
“We are hopeful, we are expectant but really this team has a few years to go before it will do anything special.”