Hesitant start proves costly for Cavan
By Cian O'Connell
For Cavan it was a Sunday of bitter disappointment in St Tiernach's Park.
A Jamie Brennan inspired Donegal dictated the agenda in Clones with Cavan manager Mickey Graham acknowledging that a significant portion of the damage was inflicted early on.
Donegal accumulated a 0-13 to 0-5 interval advantage with one five points on the spin burst from the holders proving to be a decisive period. "There was probably a number of things that went wrong," Graham admitted. "It'll take us a couple of days until we sit down and look back on it and look at our video analysis.
"We probably got off to a slow start, Donegal really started off on fire and came at us in numbers and really ran at us. They over run us at times and it took us a while to settle into the game. It'll not be for a few days until I get my head around it.
"A lot of things we talked about didn't happen for us, especially in the first half. We got turned over at times against a team like Donegal they counter-attack and you are going to get punished every single time and that's what happened.
"We got turned over in the tackle, we kicked a few wides, gave away ball, dropped it short and it was all our doing and Donegal made it count at the other end.
"That was one thing you can't do against Donegal as they have so many runners all over the field and they punished us for that."
Contesting a first provincial decider since 2001 Graham felt that the Cavan players weren't overawed by that fact. “I would be very confident the lads came in with their feet on the ground and didn’t let the occasion get to them," Graham stated.
"I think it was more our decision making at times and just the heat of battle sometimes that can happen. They flooded a lot of men back into that area. They had looked at our games. We have had different games where we came up against up different scenarios and we had to work our way around it.
"But it is very difficult from where I’m standing looking at it where things went wrong. When I get a few days and sit down and look back at it things will become more clear.”