Preview: Tailteann Cup Quarter-Finals:

Tailteann Cup quarter-finals

Saturday 17th June
Cavan v Down, Kingspan Breffni, 5.15pm – GAAGO
Ref: Seamus Mulhare (Laois)

Down have made four changes to the team that enjoyed a comfortable win over Longford in the preliminary quarter-finals.

Miceal Rooney, Patrick Branagan, Danny Magill, and Ryan Johnston all come into the starting XV with Ger Collins, Ryan Magill, Shane Annett, and Andrew Gilmore making way.

Collins, Annet, and Gilmore are included in the match-day panel, but Magill is ruled out through injury.

Not surprisingly, Cavan have kept faith with the team that beat Offaly by 16 points in their final group match two weeks ago.

After patchy performances against Laois and London, Cavan produced a really consistent performance in that win over the Faithful County as their attack clicked into gear.

Forwards like Gearoid McKiernan, Brandon Boylean, Paddy Lynch, and Oisin Brady give them formidable firepower, but Down have statistically the best defence in the competition, conceding an average of just 11 points per match.

The Mourne-men have in-form attackers too in the shape of Pat Havern, Eugene Branagan, and Ryan Johnston and will look to defend in numbers and then hit Cavan on the break.

Cavan will go into the game as slight favourites, but it’s likely to be a contest of very fine margins between two well-coached teams.

CAVAN: Raymond Galligan; Cian Reilly, Padraig Faulkner, Niall Carolan; Ciarán Brady, Oisin Kiernan, Conor Brady; Gearóid McKiernan, Killian Clarke; Cian Madden, Jonathan McCabe, Tiarnán Madden; Brandon Boylan, Paddy Lynch, Oisin Brady. Subs: Liam Brady, Conor Moynagh, Evan Finnegan, Jason McLoughlin, Dara McVeety, Gerard Smith, Conor Rehill, Ryan O’ Neill, Tristan Noack Hofmann, Ryan Donohoe, Caoimhan McGovern

DOWN: Niall Kane; Patrick McCarthy, Pierce Laverty, Anthony Doherty; Miceal Rooney, Ceilum Doherty, Patrick Branagan; Daniel Guinness, Odhran Murdock; Liam Kerr, Donach McAleenan, Danny Magill; Eugene Branagan, Pat Havern, Ryan Johnston. Subs: John O’Hare, Shane Annett, Shealan Johnston, Rory Mason, Ross Carr, Ryan McEvoy, Gerard Collins, Andrew Gilmore, Conor Fitzpatrick, Conor Francis, Ruairi O Hare

Meath v Wexford, Pairc Tailteann, 4pm
Ref: Brendan Griffin (Kerry)

Wexford have unsurprisingly named the same side that claimed a very impressive victory over Offaly last weekend for this clash with Meath.

The Slaneysiders will be full of confidence after a win that saw them score 1-22 and have ten different players on the scoreboard for the second week in a row.

John Hegarty’s panel was badly hit by injuries during the League, but they’re getting their best players on the pitch now and have really found their groove.

Tight at the back, athletic in the middle third, and with forwards like Mark Rossiter and Eoghan Nolan in a rich vein of form, they’ll believe they can pull off a shock against the Royals.

As for Meath, they’ve made one change to the team that defeated Down in their last group match with Daithi McGowan coming in at right-wing forward instead of Ciaran Caulfield who drops to the bench.

Colm O’Rourke’s team impressed during the group phase as they tightened up a defence that leaked badly earlier in the year and got the best out of a very dangerous inside forward line of Aaron Lynch, Jordan Morris, and Matthew Costello.

If that trio get a good supply of ball today then you’d fancy Meath, but a Wexford team with huge momentum can’t be discounted.

MEATH: Seán Brennan; Adam O’Neill, Ronan Ryan, Harry O’Higgins; Donal Keogan, Padraic Harnan, Seán Coffey; Ronan Jones, Conor Gray; Daithí McGowan, James McEntee, Jack O’Connor; Jordan Morris Matthew Costello, Aaron Lynch. Subs: Harry Hogan, Ciarán Caulfield, Cillian O’Sullivan, Cathal Hickey, Jack Flynn, Eoghan Frayne, Ben Wyer, Donal Lenihan, Diarmuid Moriarty, Michael Murphy, Keith Curtis

WEXFORD: Darragh Brooks; Brian Cushe, Dylan Furlong, Michael Furlong; Eoin Porter, Glen Malone, Páraic Hughes; Liam Coleman, Niall Hughes; Brian Molloy, Eoghan Nolan, Kevin O’Grady; Robbie Brooks, Mark Rossiter, Alan Tobin. Subs: Anto Larkin, Ben Brosnan, Conor Carty, Cian Hughes, Conor Kinsella, Darragh Lyons, Liam O’Connor, Dean O Toole, John Tubritt, Cathal Walsh, Richard Waters

Limerick v Laois, TUS Gaelic Grounds, 3pm – GAAGO
Ref: Thomas Murphy (Galway)

After a difficult season that saw them miss out on promotion from Division Four, suffer a heavy defeat to Dublin in the Leinster SFC, and receive more praise than criticism for draws with Offaly and London in the group phase of the Tailteann Cup, the Laois footballers finally have lift-off.

Their surprise win away to Fermanagh was highly impressive, as they finally finished a match strongly rather than suffer a late fade-out.

They’ve made one change for this match, with Alex Mohan coming into the full-back line instead of Trevor Collins.

Limerick has the luxury of securing top spot in their group after just two matches which allowed them to rest some players for their last game against Wicklow.

They’ll still have been very disappointed by the nature of that seven point defeat to a Wicklow team that only had pride to play for, and it’ll be interesting to see if they’ve lost any momentum.

They’ve recalled Donal O’Sullivan, Jim Liston, Mike Donovan, Paul Maher, and Cathal Downes for this game, and should be stronger for it.

If they can replicate the form that saw them beat Longford and Carlow they’ll justify their favourites tag, but Laois will be full of belief they can cause another upset.

LIMERICK: Donal O’Sullivan; Jim Liston, Sean O’Dea, Mike Donovan; Barry Coleman, Iain Corbett, Paul Maher; Cathal Downes, Cillian Fahy; Cian Sheehan, Brian Donovan, Colm McSweeney; James Naughton, Hugh Bourke, Peter Nash. Subs: Aaron O’Sullivan, Robbie Bourke, David Connolly, Adrian Enright, Tommy Griffin, Davey Lyons, Tony McCarthy, Darragh Murray, Ruadhan O’Connor, Killian Ryan, Cormac Woulfe

LAOIS: Killian Roche; Sean Greene, Alex Mohan, Robert Pigott; Padraig Kirwan, Mark Timmons, Patrick O Sullivan; Kieran Lillis, Damon Larkin; Colm Murphy, Paul Kingston, James Finn; Mark Barry, Evan O’Carroll, Eoin Lowry. Subs: Scott Osborne, Seamus Lacey, Eamon Delaney, Sean O’Flynn, Kevin Swayne, Ciaran Burke, Dylan Kavanagh, Damien O Connor, Niall Corbett, Brian Daly, Cathal Doyle.

Sunday 18th June

Antrim v Carlow, Corrigan Park, 1pm

Ref: John Gilmartin (Sligo)

Not many people predicted Carlow would make it to the last eight of the competition but they’re here on merit.

Summer football suits their fleet of foot team, and they’re no lingered hindered by the injuries that curtailed them in the League.

They’ve made two changes to the team that defeated New York last weekend, as Seanie Bambrick comes in at centre-back for Ciaran Moran and Aaron Amond replaces Jamie Clarke at corner-forward.

Antrim were one of the most impressive teams of the group phase, winning their three matches by an average of eight points each.

There’s a real buzz building in the county about this team, and they’ll be roared on by a very vocal crowd in Corrigan Park.

Carlow will be a tough nut to crack, but if Antrim get a good supply of ball into in-form forwards like Adam Loughran, Ruairi McCann, and Dominic McEnhill, they’ll be hard to stop.

ANTRIM: Michael Byrne; Patrick McCormick, Peter Healy, Eoghan McCabe; Dermot McAleese, Cormac McGettigan, Marc Jordan; Conor Stewart, Cathal Hynds; Colm McLarnon, Adam Loughran, Ruairí McCann; Patrick McBride, Ruairi McCann, Dominic McEnhill. Subs: Luke Mulholland, Declan Lynch, Ronan Boyle, Barry McCormick, Gerard Walsh, Eunan Quinn, Patrick Finnegan, Joseph Finnegan, Conhuir Johnston, Odhran Eastwood, Calum Higgins

CARLOW: Johnny Furey; Shane Buggy, Mikey Bambrick, Mark Furey; Niall Hickey, Seanie Bambrick, Jamie Clarke; Conor Doyle, Jordan Morrissey; Conor Crowley, Josh Moore, Ross Dunphy; Colm Hulton, Darragh Foley, Aaron Amond. Subs: Ciaran Cunningham, Liam Roberts, Liam Brennan, Jonah Dunne, Dara Curran, Eric Molloy, Padraic Deering, Finbarr Kavanagh, Paddy Regan, Cathal Kelly, Bryan McMahon