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'I know what this means to the people at home, they deserve it' | Cavan boss Graham reacts to Ulster success

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

19:56 22 Nov 2020

There were emotional scenes at the Athletic Grounds on Sunday evening as Cavan claimed their first Ulster Senior Football Championship since 1997. 

Mickey Graham's side beat Donegal by four points to end their hopes of winning their first-ever three-in-a-row.

The Breffni boss found it hard to find the words to sum up his emotion while speaking to OTB Sports at full time,

"I'm waiting for somebody to pinch me and tell me the game is on tomorrow, that's the reality of it.

"What a performance, the lads dug everything and every ounce of energy out of themselves today.

"We as a management team are just so delighted for them boys."

Going into the game very few gave Cavan any chance, with many looking ahead to the possibility of a Dublin-Donegal All-Ireland Championship semi-final.

Graham felt the lack of expectation from outside their camp helped them.

"Let's be honest, yourself [OTB Sports] and every other person in the country had us wrote off, nobody gave us a chance coming in here bar ourselves and to do something like that is a special occasion.

"We had no pressure on us coming in here what so ever. The pressure was on Donegal, like people were talking about a Donegal - Dublin All-Ireland semi-final and how Donegal were the only team who could beat Dublin.

"The pressure was on them, nobody was giving us a chance so we came in and said look 'opportunities like this, you have to make the most of it' and by God, the boys went out and grabbed it with both hands.

"Let's be honest, people were hoping we'd come and just have a moral victory and maybe not let Donegal beat us by too much.

"We knew we had to go out and perform and give it a good shot."

Cavan run to the final

Cavan's run through Ulster was no easy one.

On their first day out, they had to come back from 10 points down to beat Monaghan in extra-time and then had two tight games against Antrim and Down.

Graham had nothing but praise for his side in how they've conducted themselves at all times this year.

"You have to play to conditions and the time of year.

"We played the conditions well during this campaign, to do what them boys are after doing six weeks in a row is a credit to them.

"I said it before the championship even started that to be still standing after six weeks will take a special, special group of players no matter if it was us, Monaghan or whoever.

"You have to give these boys credit, let's give credit where credit is due."

Cavan will now face reigning champions Dublin in the last four of the All-Ireland Championship in two weeks time.

Graham said this will mean so much to the people of the county.

"Wow, what can I say? Cavan has such tradition.

"I know what this means to the people at home, the blood runs through all our veins and we've been waiting a long time for this, so long, and being written off the way we were I think they [the supporters] deserve every bit of it today."

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Cavan GAA Mickey Grraham Ulster Senior Football Championship

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