Strength of panel could give us the edge, says Evans

John Evans: We were unlucky against Mayo.

Cavan v Roscommon
John Evans hopes he can use Roscommon’s strong panel to offset Cavan’s home advantage at Kingspan Breffni Park today.

The Kerry native was pleased with how his men performed against Mayo, even if it wasn’t enough to stun the All-Ireland runners-up in last month’s Connacht semi-final. With Roscommon and Cavan having picked up a win against the other this year, Evans appreciates it will be an even closer run thing.

“You’re looking to get a couple of breaks, like any team in a Championship game,” said Evans.

“Both teams have huge hunger and, without going on too much about it, Cavan have home advantage.

“But at the end of the day, we have a strong panel and it could come down to the utilisation of the panel.

” We have a lot of good footballers and if we use them in the right way and make changes at the right time that might just edge it for us.”

The qualifier is the counties’ third clash, the latest after the Division 3 final when the Rossies were impressive winners.

What delighted Evans on that occasion was being able to structure a win with so many of his players unavailable to him.

“That was a league final and it’s over and done with. Certainly both teams have kicked on a good bit from that. Not alone did Cavan recover but they also recovered from the loss to Armagh by taking out Westmeath.

“They have momentum and initiative and a purpose about them. They’ll be a tough nut to crack and they’re getting boosts left, right and centre with players returning from suspension and getting lads fit again.

“But we’re hoping we haven’t stood still either. We were unlucky against Mayo, we had a good game-plan and implemented it well.

“We lacked a small bit of experience but we took a lot of positives from the game. The players went back to their clubs after it and we’re looking forward to this game.

“When we played that league final we were without eight or nine players, about five U21s.

” We hope we’ve progressed since then but Cavan have had the extra championship game and that has sharpened their claws. They’re sharper than us so we will have to knuckle down.”

Unlike Cavan, Roscommon have an ability to alter their tactics from one variety to another. In the Division 3 final in Croke Park, their football was extensive while their Connacht semi-final saw them tighten up considerably.

“All of the top 10 teams now can do that — go defensive, go all-out attack or something involving both of them. It’s no longer about one or two game-plans now but having a, plan b and c and maybe more. We have been practicing that a lot for over a year and a half now. You have to be adaptable to be able to succeed.”


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