The big day is almost upon us and another Ulster final on Sunday in Clones with Cavan the opposition this time.
This will be our eighth final in nine years which is a magnificent achievement. I was just thinking the other day aren’t we (Donegal supporters) really spoiled and there is a whole generation of followers that take being in an Ulster final for granted.
The older generation will know that this is far from the case and many of us grew up in an era when getting to an Ulster final was an ambition and one which only came around now and again. But in the last decade or so it is almost a yearly thing.
On Sunday we face an emerging Cavan, once the great power in Ulster football. I detect an air of complacency among Donegal supporters that worries me. I’m worried there seems to be a view out there among followers that the outcome is a foregone conclusion. Now, nothing could be further from the case and anyone that thinks that are well wide of the mark.
Cavan will be no pushover. They are a good side. The bulk of the team is drawn from their four in-a-row winning Ulster U-21 teams.
They have beaten Monaghan and Armagh (after a replay), two decent sides.
They kicked 23 points against Armagh in the replay which in any man’s language is good shooting.
Former player Mickey Graham, who enjoyed great success with Longford club Mullinaghta, has come in and is the manager. Mickey was a dangerous forward in his playing days and obviously he has instilled belief in the players and like Anthony Cunningham in Roscommon, he has given them a harder edge.
They certainly will be no pushover and the other thing they will have on Sunday is huge support in St Tiernachs Park. They are fanatical supporters and they crave success and will really get behind the team.
That is why I think it is important that every man, woman and child in Donegal that can get their hands on a ticket to get to Clones on Sunday and get behind the team from the word go. Because one thing’s for sure Cavan fans will be out in huge numbers.
Believe me the 16th man in the stand does count. We have to go no further back than Sunday in Salthill and how the Roscommon crowd got behind the team and lifted them. The Cavan crowd will be every bit as vocal and we are going to have to counter that. So let us get to Clones on Sunday early because it is an early throw-in.
As for the game itself. I think we should run at Cavan from the word go and put them on the back foot just like we did against Tyrone in the semi-final. We cannot afford to let them get an early foothold and give the Cavan supporters something to shout about.
The longer we can keep the Cavan crowd quiet the better.
I believe this is a game we can win. I believe we have a better team with a lot more firepower up front than Cavan. But at the same time we have to be wary and nothing less than a top class performance will be enough to see us claim a tenth Ulster crown.
Finally, congratulations to Maxi Curran and the Donegal ladies and their good championship semi-final win over Cavan on Saturday evening in Killyclogher in Tyrone.
Brian McEniff was in conversation with Tom Comack
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