Roscommon drive on but it's back to the future for Cavan
Published 06/07/2015 | 02:30
Roscommon and Cavan supporters are hoping that underage successes will lead to a breakthrough at senior level but after Saturday's qualifier clash, it would appear that only the Rossies have any hope of achieving that.
Many excellent players have emerged over the past four years, based on strong underage systems in each county, but the ultimate test will be their senior teams in the immediate future.
On Saturday Roscommon beat Cavan in Breffni Park to end the hosts' Championship campaign in the first week in July.
The Rossies' response to their dismal showing against Sligo - and the severe criticism they got from their own supporters - showed their character.
Yet Cavan, who played the second half a man short after a bizarre sending off, did not give in easily.
Tomas Corr had settled into the dugout, having been taken off at the interval, when the referee called him back onto the field and gave him a red card for an incident on the stroke of half-time.
The referee was correct because you could not be sent off if you are not on the actual playing field. Even Cavan cuteness could not outwit the official on that one.
Corr's dismissal decided the result; it left Cavan chasing the game and in the final quarter the physical demands on their players really told and enabled Roscommon to stay well ahead.
Compared to a year ago, Cavan have expanded their game with the arrival of coach Liam McHale, and they ran Monaghan to a point in the Ulster Championship.
But there is no doubt that Roscommon have more talented players at their disposal, and they will play in Division 1 next year - something that will decide the long-term future of many of their players.
Cavan will be in Division 2 and have further to travel to the promised land in Ulster.
They desperately need a few new forwards and while they have expanded their play a lot, their backline on Saturday gave their opponents far too much room.
Maybe a halfway house in defence terms is what Terry Hyland his backroom may look at for the future.