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'Dublin teach you and Dublin punish you' - Cavan's day of learning against the champions

Mattie McGleenan was pretty impressed with Dublin yesterday.

CAVAN WERE BACK in big time league football for the first time in two decades yesterday and they witnessed the power of champions Dublin up close.

Kevin McManamon Kevin McManamon was part of Dublin's winning side yesterday. Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

It was a first day out for Mattie McGleenan in the league as Cavan manager, the county back in the top tier for the first time since the 1996-97 campaign.

And the Tyrone native was gushing in his praise of their opponents who began their five-in-a-row league title bid.

“I felt we made fundamental errors, we missed some good scoring chances at key moments in the game, I thought we conceded some cheap kick-passes away at times.

“But listen, Dublin teach you and Dublin punish you. Their movement off the ball, their running, their scoring was absolutely class.

“That’s why they are All-Ireland champions, they are the benchmark and that’s what we are aiming for. They are fabulous at how they play the game, they play the game to the line.

“That’s our education and they gave us a good lesson today.”

Kingspan Breffni Park was heaving as a massive crowd poured in, an unseasonably high attendance of 16,331 spectators confirmed over the tannoy in the second half.

“(It was) absolutely brilliant, there were 16,000 people there today (on) the first week of February. If that’s what’s coming down the road for the next two months, we’re going to have a great, great time.

“The crowd really raised us – I thought they were a brilliant crowd today. Being honest with you, I’m disappointed that there was seven points in it because on the day I don’t think there was a seven-point margin in that game.

“Listen, we are technically training on grass one month. This isn’t an overnight process. Jim Gavin is four years down the road with his team, you can see his influence and the way they play.”

The challenges will come thick and fast for Cavan at this level. They travel to Castleblayney to face Monaghan next Sunday before heading to Omagh to meet Tyrone on 26 February.

Mattie McGlennan Cavan boss Mattie McGleenan Source: Donall Farmer/INPHO

“We have Monaghan next week, which is a local derby,” said McGleenan.

“It’s going to be absolutely class. Everything we are doing now is preparation for the Ulster Championship, we have all intentions of staying in Division 1 because I think the level of football is absolutely fabulous.

“I think for Cavan’s development it’s so important we stay in Division 1. They (Dublin) will make us a better football team for next Sunday going against Monaghan and two weeks later it’s Tyrone. We are on a rollercoaster right now.

“Every game that we’re going to play now is building stones and blocks. I’m one month into this job. We’ll improve next week and by the time the ground dries and summer time comes, Cavan are going to be a football team.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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