"It's a tough one" - Cavan boss Daly on facing his native Armagh

June 02, 2018

Cavan ladies manager James Daly

by Daragh Small

Friendships will be put to one side for an hour tomorrow (Sunday) as Cavan boss James Daly aims to plot the downfall of his native Armagh in the TG4 Ulster Ladies senior football championship semi-final.  

Daly is from South Armagh and managed the Orchard County for four years ahead of a brief stint with Longford, and he subsequently took the reins at Cavan before the start of the current campaign.

It's a massive opportunity for Cavan and Armagh in Inniskeen, with Division 1 outfits Donegal and Monaghan drawn together in the other semi-final.

And the Dromintee clubman acknowledges that he has to park sentiment as the two counties prepare to battle it out for a slot in the provincial decider.

"I doubt there will be much slagging going on, maybe next week. But there will be a professionalism there from both of us," said Daly. 

"It won't be my job to be worrying about the Armagh girls. It's my job to get the Cavan girls ready to play the game. 

"A lot of the Armagh girls I know really well and I am friends with a lot of them. But when we cross the line on Sunday it will be Armagh against Cavan and I will be on the Cavan side.

"It's a tough one. You are coming up against a team you managed for four years. You took great pride into building them back up. Taking them from a third division intermediate team up to senior Division 1. Now your plan is to beat them. That is football. 

"Armagh is a very good team. They are a very experienced team but they have plenty of youth and pace. It's going to be a tough game. 

"But definitely looking forward to a cracker on Sunday."

Cavan will have to do without Róisín O'Keeffe who suffered an Achilles injury in a club game recently. Sheila Reilly, who hasn't played for Cavan this year, is nearing a return but this game will come too soon.

Cavan and Armagh have already faced off in Division 2 of the Lidl National League this year, where it finished in a thrilling 2-14 to 2-14 draw at Templeport in February.

"We were beating Armagh by eight points in the second-half. Armagh came back. We were expecting a run out of them. And they came back and took the lead. Then we took the lead back. We ended up a draw," said Daly. 

"Tipperary beat them in the league semi-final by a point, and beat us in the league final by a point. There is nothing between us. 

"It will be about who has the cooler heads in front of goal and takes the scores when they come."

Cavan lost that Division 2 league final 0-21 to 3-11 against Tipperary at Parnell Park on 6 May, but it was a positive start to Daly's reign.

"I like the Cavan job. It's a very good county board. You have a bunch of players who are committed. They are so starved of success," said Daly. 

"The competition for places is fierce and that's what you want. There is lots of respect, but when we play a match amongst ourselves the starting jersey is on the line, it's just so competitive."

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