GAA talking points: Johnstone back on form for Cavan and where now for McGeeney

Elsewhere, Kerry have little to fear in Munster

BY Chris Jordan 20:50 Sunday 29 May 2016, 20:50 29 May 2016

©INPHO/Donall Farmer 

Johnstone back and firing for Breffni

Back in the Cavan set up after the transfer debacle of a number of seasons ago, Seanie Johnston was in top form against Armagh today. 

Playing in his first championship game since lining out against Longford in 2011, the Cavan Gaels club man hit seven points in a hugely impressive performance. 

In an interview with Malachy Clerkin during the week, Johnstone stated that he felt firmly back in the Cavan fold and proved that today with an excellent display of point taking in a dominant performance. 

James Morgan of Armagh and Seanie Johnston of Cavan tussle off the ball
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Cavan's underage success has translated onto the senior stage with promotion to division one of the league this year, and with Johnstone back among the ranks and firing on all cylinders, manager Terry Hyland may just fancy his chances of making it to the August bank holiday weekend.

Its a realistic aim if slightly optimistic, although they have to navigate their way past Tyrone in the last four of Ulster first. 

Where now for Armagh?

On the other end of the spectrum, Kieran McGeeney's Armagh looked rudderless and despondent in Breffni Park today. 

With pressure already mounting on the former Kildare boss following relegation to division three of the league, the Orchard County looked helpless against a fitter, smarter and better drilled Cavan side. 

Players like Johnstone, Cian Mackey and Gearoid McKiernan were given the freedom of Breffni Park, whereas the Orchard County sorely missed Crossmaglen Rangers' Jamie Clarke, while the less said of goalkeeper Paul Courtney's exploits the better. 

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Its been an alarming slide from the top for the 2002 all-Ireland champions, and it looks like a long way back before they can dine at the top table once again.

The question remains, is McGeeny the man to lead them there?

Mayo avoid New York like scare

Perennial all-Ireland challengers Mayo avoided a repeat of their trip to London five years ago in a facile win against their hosts in Ruislip. 

Despite losing Cillian O'Connor early on to a black card, Mayo hardly had to get out of third gear to dismiss London with Evan Regan and Conor Loftus proving their worth, scoring 1-07 between them. 

Mayo's Evan Regan
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Gerry McManus

Little can be taken from games like this, but with this being an accomplished performance and Roscommon stumbling against New York before getting it right against a poor Leitrim side, Mayo will be confident of making it six titles in a row.

However, old rivals Galway will be looking to put a spanner in the works for Stephen Rochford's men.  

Munster is a one horse race

Clare outfought Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds while Tipperary laboured to victory against Waterford, but on this evidence, there should be little to worry Kerry who are comfortable favourites for a fourth consecutive Munster crown. 

Both sides failed to bring their shooting boots early on in the Gaelic Grounds as they hit eight wides in the opening 10 minutes before we finally saw the first score, and from there it didn't get much better. 

One of the positives for Clare will be the variety of scorers for them, with seven players pointing in the second half, but they lacked the cutting edge to put an average Limerick side away. 

Limerick's Seanie Buckley and Dean Ryan of Clare
Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Tipperary found it difficult to find their rhythm against a much inferior but gutsy Waterford team, relying on Michael Quinlavan to get them over the line. 

If the Premier county are to defeat Cork in the semi-final, the Clonmel Commercials forward will be key, as he bagged 1-04 for himself today. 

However, an eight point defeat against the Deise hardly inspires confidence of an upset against an admittedly out of sorts Cork. 

Munster is most certainly Kerry's to lose. 


Off The Ball


The very best bits of Off The Ball delivered every week