Cavlan in from the cold to lead Tyrone’s title retention bid

GERALD CAVLAN is back from the footballing wilderness to lead Tyrone’s bid to retain their Allianz NFL title.

Cavlan made his first start of the season less than two weeks ago but a superb performance in the win over Cork has earned him the centre forward berth for this weekend’s semi-final clash with Fermanagh.

A regular for seven years, Cavlan had failed to win the confidence of manager Mickey Harte, but an injury to Brian McGuigan has handed him his big chance.

“It’s been frustrating, but the boys that have been playing are there on merit. They haven’t put a foot wrong, but you’re always going to get your chance with a few injuries. The important thing is you have to take it when it comes,” Cavlan said.

The defending champions will be without suspended midfielder Cormac McAnallen for the Croke Park eliminator, but defender Michael McGee and corner forward Owen Mulligan return from injury while Enda McGinley is preferred to Seamus Mulgrew.

Mick O’Dwyer and the Laois selectors have given a vote of confidence to the starting 15 which defeated Kildare last time for Sunday’s NFL semi-final against Armagh in Croke Park.

Sligo coach Peter Forde will be hoping that his county’s sporting gesture in giving the Lilywhites a replay, won’t backfire on them when the sides meet in Markievicz Park on Sunday.

A defeat for the Yeats County would result in their relegation with Down staying up. Forde won’t name his team until Saturday in order to give Dessie Sloyne (back injury) and Jimmy McGowen (dead leg) every chance to prove their fitness.

Meanwhile, Sean Davey who completes a four week suspension on Saturday night, is in contention for a place.

Liam Keenan is extremely doubtful for Longford who play Wexford in the Division Two league semi-final. Keenan twisted his ankle prior to the meeting against Derry but the injury is responding slowly to treatment.

Meanwhile, former Cork senior stalwart Steven O’Brien has announced his retirement from football.

O’Brien has garnered every honour in the game, with club and county, and recently won an All-Ireland club medal with Nemo Rangers.

Limerick will field the same team as that which beat Wicklow two weeks ago for next Monday’s Alliance Division Two NFL semi-final against Wexford at Portlaoise. Stephen Lucy who has not played this season because of injury is named in the substitutes.

LIMERICK: S. O’Donnell; M. O’Riordan, D. Sheehy, T. Stack, C. Mullane, J. Quane, D. Reidy, J. Stokes, J. Galvin, S. Lavin, M. Gavin, S. Kelly, C. Fitzgerald, B. Begley, M. Reidy.

TYRONE (SF v Fermanagh): P McConnell; R McMenamin, C Holmes, M McGee; C Gormley, G Devlin, P Jordan; K Hughes, S Cavanagh; E McGinley, G Cavlan, S O'Neill; B Dooher, P Canavan, O Mulligan.

FERMANAGH (SF v Tyrone): Ronan Gallagher; R McCloskey, B Owens, M Lilley; N Cox, J Gilheaney, S McDermott; P Brewster, M McGrath; T Brewster, Ray Gallagher, C Donnelly; R McCabe, S Maguire, R Keenan.

LAOIS (SF v Armagh): F. Byron; T. Kelly, T. Byrne, J. Higgins; D Rooney, K Fitzpatrick, D Conroy; P Clancy, N Garvin; C Parkinson; I Fitzgerald, M Lawlor; M McDonald, C Kelly, D Delaney.

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