Cavan footballer, Thomas Galligan. 
Cavan footballer, Thomas Galligan. 

Thomas Galligan enjoying 'surreal' high of Ulster Final victory


By John Harrington

Thomas Galligan has an impressive shiner on his right eye and his aches have pains, but he’s still smiling after Cavan’s heroic victory over Donegal in Sunday’s Ulster SFC Final.

Two days later the scale of the achievement still hasn’t quite sunk in, yet the satisfaction is immense.

“Physically the pains and aches are only starting to come in now because I'm kind of coming back down to earth," said Galligan today.

“I still probably haven't taken it in that we've won because nobody expected us to win and everyone was telling us all week that it was just one more game for Donegal to play Dublin.

“That they just had to sort a few teams out and they'd be ready to take on Dublin. It's a bit surreal at the minute. You know, even not having the fans and meeting people.

“You're not going to the pub or anything like that, you can't do that and get the pats on the back you normally would. Still, nobody can take it away from us, it's great.”

Cavan players celebrate following the Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship Final match between Cavan and Donegal at Athletic Grounds in Armagh. 
Cavan players celebrate following the Ulster GAA Football Senior Championship Final match between Cavan and Donegal at Athletic Grounds in Armagh. 

Cavan were big underdogs going into the Ulster Final, and Galligan admits being written off was a big source of motivation for him personally.

“I suppose it was, like. You were listening to it all week about how you hadn't a chance. And you hadn't a chance against Down, hadn't a chance against Monaghan.

“People say it doesn't matter, but that really gets on a lad's shoulder. Yeah, everyone will use their own way to motivate themselves, but for me that was a big enough thing because I'm just sick of people putting Cavan down, to be honest. I think a lot of people would have used it to motivate themselves.”

Next up for Cavan is the considerable challenge of playing Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final.

For Galligan it’s a test to be relished rather than feared.

“I suppose it's a little bit daunting but it's also exciting. You're playing the best team in the country and you'll really know where you're at when you play them.

“There might be a bit of 'daunt' or whatever, but more people will be excited to get playing them.

“If you said at the start of the year that Cavan would be in an All-Ireland semi-final you would have gotten good odds. I think we'll enjoy it moreso that be afraid of it. 

“Nobody expected us to get here. There's no pressure on us, we're going out and playing football. The favourites tag probably weighed heavily on Donegal the other night, so hopefully it'll be the same for Dublin.”