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Peter Canavan reckons Monaghan will ‘relish’ Mayo qualifier

Peter Canavan

Peter Canavan believes all the pressure will be on Mayo when they face Monaghan in the first round of the All-Ireland qualifiers.

Each of the four Division One sides in the first round of the All-Ireland qualifiers will face top tier opposition, as Mayo will play Monaghan in Castlebar while Armagh will host Tyrone.

None of the aforementioned counties will be over the moon with the draw, as they could have been drawn against lower division counties such as Cork, Louth, Clare and Meath, although Canavan reckons Monaghan will be happy enough.

The Tyrone great argued in his column for Sky Sports that all the pressure will be on Mayo when they take on Monaghan.

Peter Canavan on Mayo vs Monaghan.

“I think from Monaghan’s point of view, it is not a bad draw whatsoever,” Canavan wrote.

“Had they been drawn against one of the so-called lesser teams in the qualifiers, there would be far more pressure on their shoulders. And in recent years, Monaghan have not performed well against weaker counties.

“It is when their backs are against the wall that this team produces their best football. From that point of view, I see all the pressure being very much on Mayo. It’s a home game for James Horan’s side.

“Perhaps similar to Tyrone in Healy Park, Mayo appear not to play their best football on their home patch.

“I think Seamus ‘Banty’ McEnaney’s charges will relish the prospect of travelling to MacHale Park, and taking on Mayo. It’s a difficult assignment for last year’s Ulster finalists but one they are very much capable of winning.”

The pressure is on.

There is a very realistic possibility that both of last year’s All-Ireland finalists will crash out of this year’s championship in the first round of the qualifiers.

Mayo narrowly lost to Galway in the Connacht Championship quarter-final in April, and will have waited six weeks for a game before they take on Monaghan in Castlebar.

Monaghan have had more match practice in recent weeks, as they were beaten by Derry the weekend before last while they defeated Down in the Ulster quarter-final, and they will hope that game time will prove very useful to them against Mayo.

Tyrone will have to put a one-sided loss to Armagh in this year’s league behind them when they again take on the Orchard County at the Athletic Grounds, or else their defence of the Sam Maguire will be ended very early.

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