Cavan face a daunting trip to MacCumhaill Park, Ballybofey on Sunday for their opening Ulster Championship tie with Donegal. Donegal have not been beaten in Ballybofey since 2010 a record that includes 20 league and championship games.
Manager Matt McGleenan is under no illusions of the task that lies ahead for his side: “We’ve a huge challenge ahead of us. They haven’t lost in 20 games in Ballybofey. We’ve had a great season so far and we are really looking forward to putting in a big performance and see where it takes us.”
The Breffni County’s preparations have gone well. They recently had a challenge match with neighbours Longford to open Cnoc Mhuire, Granard’s school pitch. McGleenan was delighted to have that game: “It was a great opportunity to bring boys together again. We’ve had a good period of time training too. The boys were away at the clubs for three weeks. The game was important that everybody came through healthy and well.”
Despite April being the month for clubs McGleenan didn’t have his players for as long as he probably would’ve liked. He wasn’t complaining though about the fixtures: “We are unfortunate in the situation but that’s just the luck of the draw. We have a fabulous day in Donegal coming up. We are focusing on that direction and we are really looking forward to a huge game and a huge crowd.”
Cavan and Donegal had very different league campaigns. Cavan gained promotion back to Division 1 while Donegal were relegated to Division 2. McGleenan admitted form doesn’t matter when it comes to championship football: “League form goes out the door now. Championship football comes down to one day. Turning up and having a huge performance. We’ve learned that from last year. The lads are brilliant. They’ve put in a fantastic shift and we are really looking forward to getting the championship up and running.”
There is potential in this current Cavan team and they will be hoping for a good championship run this year starting with a win in Ballybofey on Sunday: “We have a great group of lads and we are going to turn up and give it a serious go. We have to turn up and have an outstanding 70 minutes and then see where that takes us from that point. We are under no illusion that Donegal have put a lot of work into the championship this year. The talk was the league wasn’t that important and everything was based towards championship.” said McGleenan.