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Sunday 25 August 2019

Breffni buoyed by Graham factor but Donegal too pacey, dynamic

Mickey Graham
Mickey Graham

There should be an electric atmosphere in St Tiernach's Park, Clones for Sunday's Ulster SFC final as favourites Donegal and Cavan collide in their first provincial decider since 1983.

The Breffni men are riding the crest of a wave following their semi-final replay victory over Armagh, the first game having ended all-square after extra-time.

Enterprising

Cavan manager Mickey Graham has already shown his impressive credentials with Longford champions Mullinalaghta's successful Leinster club success and at times are capable of some really enterprising 'one touch' football.

They will have learned some harsh lessons from the hot-house of Division 1 in the league and have bounced back strongly from that relegation in this Championship.

Roscommon's Connacht success has shown that relegation from the top-flight of the league can be an important turning point for the development of a team.

optimistic

Emerging teams sometimes learn more in defeat than victory and Cavan will be optimistic of capturing the Anglo Celt Cup this Sunday.

There are some intriguing head-to-heads in store, none more so than the potential duel between Cavan's Gearóid McKiernan, if handed a midfield role, and Donegal's Michael Murphy (pictured).

While Cavan will be buoyed up after reaching their first Ulster football final since 2001 they will need to ensure that all that local passion and understandable excitement does not impact negatively on them, that is to lose their focus from the outset.

Punched

Armagh punched holes in the Cavan defence but squandered goal opportunities over the course of their two meetings.

However, Donegal are a far more pacey, dynamic and clinical an outfit compared to the Orchard County and for that reason I expect them to secure their tenth provincial title overall and fifth this decade.

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