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Cavan goalkeeper Raymond Galligan.
Cavan goalkeeper Raymond Galligan.

Raymond Galligan relishing Ulster final return

By Cian O’Connell

“I suppose it has some degree of relevance,” Cavan goalkeeper Raymond Galligan replies when asked about the experience acquired in the 2019 Ulster SFC Final defeat to Donegal.

“We are under no illusions that it was a five point hammering we got last year,” Galligan continues. “They were extremely dominant throughout the game. It definitely is something we are mindful of, but for us it is all about seeing how much we have improved over the course of the past 15-17 months.

“For us it is just all about ourselves and hopefully we have improved enough to put on a complete performance that will be good enough on the day.”

It has been an interesting time for Cavan under the guidance of Mickey Graham, who has extracted gutsy Ulster Championship displays from his team.

Two Allianz Football League relegations have been quickly forgotten about chiefly due to the fact that Cavan responded in the Championship.

Reaching two provincial deciders in a row is a source of real encouragement, but there is a marked difference entering Sunday’s Athletic Grounds encounter against Donegal.

Three victories over Monaghan, Antrim, and Down have been stitched together with no shortage of drama along the way.

Cavan goalkeeper Raymond Galligan making a save to deny Antrim's Patrick Gallagher in the Ulster SFC quarter-final at Kingspan Breffni.
Cavan goalkeeper Raymond Galligan making a save to deny Antrim's Patrick Gallagher in the Ulster SFC quarter-final at Kingspan Breffni.

“Absolutely, having these games back to back, week on week, it doesn't give you that much opportunity to dream big or to look too far ahead of yourself because like that from Monaghan into Antrim and then it was about Down,” Galligan says.

“It is only really a few days after when you start looking to the final next weekend. It is a lot different to last year when we had that window to really embrace the Ulster final. Now the games are coming thick and fast so it is really a matter of us trying to get ourselves ready straightaway.”

The action packed schedule was inevitable, but momentum has been generated according to the highly regarded Cavan custodian.

“Definitely, we won't really know until game time whether it is helpful to ourselves or not - having all of these games,” Galligan states.

“We feel fresh and we feel like the momentum in having these games, what it is doing is it is allowing us to be able to understand each other better.

“The system we are playing, we teased it out when we got back for the first two League games and we have been building on it for the last three games.

"So hopefully on Sunday these five games previous will have benefitted us significantly.”

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