Kieran Donaghy believes that Cavan have ‘missed a trick’ by not pushing for a venue change ahead of the All-Ireland semi-final.
After the Breffni County sealed their first Ulster title since 1997, there was a great deal of talk that the semi-final should take place at a venue other than Croke Park.
With no capacity issues due to the lack of crowds, many argued it should be staged elsewhere given Dublin’s familiarity with the Jones’ Road venue.
Ultimately, the county board put an end to the discussion, announcing they would accept the GAA’s choice of venue.
But Donaghy feels they would have a better chance in the match had it been moved elsewhere.
“They’ll relish it, they’ll look forward to it and it’s a big day out for them. They haven’t been in an All-Ireland semi-final in an awfully long time. But let’s make no mistake about it, they’re going into the lions’ den,” said the former Kerry star on Inside The Game.
“Against Donegal in the Athletic Grounds, they looked like the lions. They were hunting in packs, they were smothering they opposition, they were getting hands on, they were getting deflections and turnovers. They were counter-attacking, and that was a huge plus for them, and gave them the platform to go on and win that game.
“They were down to 14 men [for two 10-minute periods] and also had the more clear-cut goal chances. So they are very much there on merit. But this is a major, major step up for them.
“When you look at what Dublin can do, they possibly missed a trick by playing the game in Croke Park and not looking for it outside.
It’s a much more difficult job for this Cavan team to go into Croke Park and try take on Dublin in a venue where they are so comfortable.
Donaghy says Cavan ‘missed a trick’
“It’s a much more difficult job for this Cavan team to go into Croke Park and try to take on Dublin in a venue where they are so comfortable. They are playing their most weeks. It’s a real big factor in the game. As well as their overall power and dominance over the opponents they have faced this year, they will be looking forward to opening Cavan up in a way they have opened up all the teams in Leinster.
“Cavan will find it harder. The Athletic Grounds is tighter – you’re able to get tackling, you’re able to get more hands on. That in Croke Park is a much more difficult scenario, and that’s where Cavan will face the acid test. You don’t really know about it until you’re out there and chasing these guys around the place, and you see the dust when they leave you for dead, that you start to realises they are a different animal.”
Watch Inside The Game on Sky Sports Mix from 5:30pm Wednesday, as Kieran Donaghy and Andy Moran preview the All-Ireland semi-finals.
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