Not quite another G8 conference outside Enniskillen – rather, CLG Uladh hosting a quiet get-together in the Lough Erne Resort last week with Mickey Graham, Declan Bonner, Ryan McHugh, Cian Mackey and the press. Both managers agreed the Ulster provincial championship was a special competition, the most fiercely contested in the country with Declan characterizing this year’s competition as one of the best. He is expecting a mass of green, gold, blue and white next Sunday and added there is no better place to be than in Clones on an Ulster final day with the sun shining, the flags flying and players battling it out for that very important Ulster winner’s medal.
Declan reckons there is all the makings of a fantastic final. Donegal went well in the games against Fermanagh and Tyrone and while things fell their way the players have worked hard to get to Clones but nothing is won yet. The commitment from the players has been magnificent and is part of why they are where they are. Commitment is not just a few training sessions and time spent in the gym – its 24/7, what they eat and don’t eat, how they sleep and how they conduct themselves off the field is “top class”.
Declan was full of praise for Cavan who will be highly motivated, meticulously prepared and very dangerous opponents. Mickey Graham is a top manager, as he has already proved with Mullinalaghta in winning the Leinster title against huge odds, and is doing a fantastic job. Cavan played their football at a higher level than Donegal in the 2019 Allianz National League Division 1. Under Mickey they are now on a really good run beating a fancied Monaghan team, have been hardened by two classic games with Armagh and showed real strength of character to pull away in the replayed semi-final after surrendering a big lead.