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'It's a great lift after a tough year' - Cavan dreams of glory

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The Sports Shop owners Conor McEntee and Tommy Owens

The Sports Shop owners Conor McEntee and Tommy Owens

The Sports Shop owners Conor McEntee and Tommy Owens

Shoppers were admiring the big white Christmas tree in Cavan town's Main Street yesterday, but just a few doors down, inside Tommy Owens's sports shop, they were truly singing the blues.

Channelling his best Dublin Moore Street accent, Owens declared: "That's the last of them now," as the sole remaining blue Cavan GAA shirt - to fit a one-year-old - was sold.

Buffeted by the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, business owners and customers yesterday had just one topic on their minds: Cavan's dream All-Ireland weekend.

As well as the David versus Goliath All-Ireland senior football semi-final matchup with Dublin at Croke Park, Cavan's camogie team line out today in an All-Ireland final - the Premier Junior decider against Armagh, at Cavan's Kingspan Breffni.

"It's a huge weekend for Cavan GAA and everyone is proud of our men and women," says Mr Owens, who is also chair of Butlersbridge GAA club.

"We've no shirts left. People have been buying flags for their gardens and blue bunting and hats which have flown out the door."

"It's a tremendous end to a tough year and it has given people such a lift."

However, when it comes to discussing the colour blue in Cavan, things are a little complicated. Owens acknowledges that some of his customers are, shock horror, Dubs.

"Blue is definitely a Cavan colour, it's not a Dublin colour," says Mr Owens.

"But there is a big population of Dubs who have moved here in recent years, so some of them have been in buying flags."

That's exactly what Brittaney Hennessey was looking for yesterday when she jumped out of a taxi on the edge of town to buy some Dublin merchandise from a street seller.

"I'm from North Strand originally but I live in Belturbet," she said.

"This flag will only drive the neighbours mad. Dublin all the way."

Cheering

Business owner Conor McEntee opened the doors of his Krave Cafe yesterday after six weeks of lockdown.

Sporting a Cavan shirt, he said he would be cheering on one of his own friends and regular customers - Cavan wing-back Ciarán Brady.

"The lockdown has been tough, and Cavan suffered more than most, so it's been special to see the lads give the whole county a lift," said Mr McEntee

The team has worked hard for this and they're sure to give Dublin a tough game. The whole county is on a high and there is a feel-good factor around the place."

Eight kilometres away in the village of Ballyhaise, postmistress Susan Brady was busy serving customers and finalising her arrangements for tomorrow - as Cavan GAA's PRO, she will be among the select few Breffnians at Croke Park.

"Every man, woman and child in Cavan would have filled Croke Park," she said.

As for the outcome, Ms Brady was defiant: "We're not going to Dublin for the spin and we're certainly no 'Cavan joke'.

"We will give them a game as Ulster champions, that I can guarantee. Cavan abú."


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