It’s a tough predicament for Cavan as they face relegation but Graham says all they can do is hope and prepare for a Championship tilt
MICKEY GRAHAM says it’s all about the Championship now for Cavan with relegation to Division Two almost certain.
The Breffni need to beat Dublin today and hope results in two other games go their way to remain in the top flight.
Nobody is holding out too much hope of all that happening and Graham admitted he’s already thinking about their Championship showdown with Monaghan on May 18.
Graham (above) told Irish Sunday MirrorSport: “Look, it’ll be a mental blow to deal with if we go down but we’ll dust ourselves off and we’ll sit down and talk about it, see where we want to go.
“We’ll have to park it up. The past is the past, you just move on. You can’t dwell on it, it is what it is and it’s all about May 18 then.
“From my point of view, it’s my first year in inter-county management and it’s a learning curve. You have no time to prepare for games in the League because they come so thick and fast.
“You’re basically pushing a lot of work into one week when the matches are game by game whereas now we can totally focus on one game knowing that it is our focal point and that we can put everything in our setup towards that day.”
Holders Dublin have used the most players in Division One this term, a whopping 36. That figure could rise close to 40 if boss Jim Gavin uses this dead rubber game as an opportunity to assess Bernard Brogan or Philly McMahon for the first time this year.
Graham argues the top teams like Dublin, Kerry and Mayo can get away with that level of experimentation in the league because of their large panels but it’s cost
Cavan at times.
He said: “In the National League, we’ve been changing tack every so often and maybe looking at different lads in different positions. Come May 18, we’ll know two or three weeks in advance that we have our team we want to put out on the day. From that point
of view, it means we’ll be better prepared going into that game than we have been for any League game that we’ve been playing on that week by week basis.”
Presuming they suffer the drop, it will be Cavan’s second relegation in three seasons while they’ve been promoted three times since 2014 when they initially came out of Division Three.
It’s made for a frustrating few years but fans are hopeful they can redeem themselves in the Championship.
They’re on the opposite side of the Ulster draw to holders Donegal and 2018 All-Ireland finalists Tyrone so a glory run could be on the cards.
Graham said: “Cavan can’t afford to look any further than Monaghan.
“We haven’t beaten Monaghan, Donegal or Tyrone in,15 or 16 years. We haven’t beaten a top team in the Ulster Championship in a long, long time.”
SPRINGING A LEAGUE Conor Moynagh feels the pain of a League loss to Monaghanlast weekend