BY RONAN SCOTT
Cavan could still have a say in this year’s All-Ireland championship according to former player Jason O’Reilly, but they need the right draw in the qualifiers.
“I think there is far more in them,” O’Reilly said.
“Hopefully they will get a good draw in the back door.
“On their day, Cavan can beat the likes of Tyrone or Mayo, or any of those teams, you just don’t want to play them straight after the Ulster final. There might still be a bit of a hangover there.
“I still think that they are good enough to get to the ‘Super Eights’.
“They have to get back up on the horse, and get back at it. They can give the back door a good run.”
Reilly watched his county lose to Donegal in the Ulster final last weekend, but came away from the game keen to focus on the positives rather than the negatives.
“We have scored 2-16 and lost. That’s a positive. They have a lot of young fellas. Donegal have a lot of young fellas too, but they were able to pull away.”
The former Ulster title winner O’Reilly, who was an assistant to Leitrim manager Terry Hyland this year, said that he felt that the Cavan attack made some bad decisions. He noticed that on occasion the Cavan lads played too safe. In particular, Conor Brady’s decision to go for a fisted point rather than a goal, caught O’Reilly’s attention.
“I thought he should have backed himself to score.
“Donegal were a point or two ahead. I like to see players backing themselves to score when they go one on one in that position.”
Reilly also felt that restarts were a key issue. Donegal net minder Shaun Patton has been so important for his county this year.
As has Raymond Galligan for Cavan, but some pundits felt that Galligan made too many mistakes.
“Raymond was caught on a couple of occasions, but I thought he did well overall. Donegal were very strong in the middle.”
Even though they lost, and no matter what happens in the rest of the seaso, O’Reilly says there are lots of positives to take from the season.
“It was the first final in a long time. We (the 2001 Cavan team) were the last to play in a final.
“There was great excitement this year. The players experienced that excitement.
“It is a big thing for the county. Everyone is still on a high, though if you go around the county there are those who say it was a five point hammering.
“I can see them getting back to the Ulster final again. It was a good experience for the younger players. They know what to expect now.”