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'Would you say Donegal were complacent? Quite possibly they were, because we were all talking them up'

Marc Ó Sé discusses Cavan’s Ulster final upset on this week’s edition of The42 GAA Weekly.

Donegal’s Michael Murphy dejected after the game.
Donegal’s Michael Murphy dejected after the game.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

MARC Ó SÉ HEAPED praise on Cavan boss Mickey Graham after he delivered the county’s first Ulster SFC title success since 1997.

Speaking to former Limerick hurler Shane Dowling on the latest episode of The42 GAA Weekly, Ó Sé also questioned whether Donegal were affected by the media talk that they were the main threats to Dublin’s All-Ireland crown.

“I think that these fellas have a manager that they’re buying into,” he said of the man who led Mullinalaghta to shock Leinster club glory in 2018.

“I remember when he was with the club (Mullinalaghta), he was with them and the county (Cavan) at the same time. Like, when was he getting time to go home or what was he doing because he must have been out every night of the week.

Ó Sé continued: “That’s passion, that’s something you don’t lick off the ground. To be fair to him they’re all buying into it and they’re all really relishing playing under him.

“Towards the end of the match I think they were trailing by a point to Donegal and you could see him on the sideline. He was so calm, he was so composed. It was as if he knew that this team could get over the line.

“He’s doing a great job, his troops are really doing it on the field at the moment. They’re going to have a fair task ahead of them in the next game, but we’ll get to that.”

Donegal’s bid for a third Ulster title in-a-row was scuppered on a day when Declan Bonner’s side played well below their best. Following the semi-final hammering they dished out to Armagh, Donegal were expected to easily overcome the Breffni men yesterday.

“Would you say Donegal were complacent?” asked Ó Sé. “Quite possibly they were. Because we were all talking them up, we were all saying they were the only team that would take down Dublin.

“A manager can say, ‘We’ll keep these fellas grounded and make sure they’re so tuned in for this game.’ But next thing the players will go away and this fella will say [to them], ‘You’re going to beat Cavan, you’re going to do this and that.’ Whatever the manager says, it’s all of a sudden diluted by what’s going on.

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“So unless you’re a very mentally strong player, this is going to creep in and you’re going to listen to what’s going on. I’d imagine possible something like that happened. It’s disappointing for Donegal for sure but well done to Cavan.”

Conor Madden’s goal in the 70th minute sealed a sensational victory for Cavan and it was no more than they deserved.

“What strikes me is the resilience of them and the way they weren’t giving up. Cast your mind back to last weekend to the Down game, what were they down eight points?

“And they just turned it around. Especially when you’ve got young players, there’s no fear factor. They just go for it. And I think that’s what you’re seeing now from this Cavan team.

“I think their resistance, their never say die attitude is really coming to the surface. In the second-half in particular, the amount of balls they turned over was incredible. 

“They were so hungry for the ball and you have to give them great credit for that.”

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Subscribe to The42′s new member-led GAA Championship show with Marc Ó Sé and Shane Dowling. 

About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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