Saturday 29 April 2017

A day when Cavan town buzzed and Breffni people began to dream of the big time

'Jim Gavin spoke afterwards of the great atmosphere the occasion engendered but, when it came down to hard business, his blue-eyed assassins were never going to allow the giddiness of the day to impinge on their ruthless determination to continue on the winning trail'
'Jim Gavin spoke afterwards of the great atmosphere the occasion engendered but, when it came down to hard business, his blue-eyed assassins were never going to allow the giddiness of the day to impinge on their ruthless determination to continue on the winning trail'
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

If only every Allianz League game had this backdrop.

A fine early spring day, Cavan town buzzing with anticipation as word came through of traffic tailbacks in Virginia as Dublin supporters joined excited locals on the road to Kingspan Breffni Park.

Inevitably, the throw-in had to be delayed, put back by 15 minutes. Even that wasn't enough to get everyone into the ground on time. Dozens were still galloping down the hill towards the entrance gates during the national anthem. By the time all the counting was done, a crowd of 16,331 was in the ground for a game which held so much significance for Cavan.

Back in Division 1 for the first time in 13 years and welcoming the All-Ireland champions was a combination which stirred the Breffni spirit in a real and meaningful way.

Mattie McGleenan's squad may be some way from challenging for All-Ireland honours but there's a feeling in the county that something big is beginning to happen. Division 1 hosts most of the glamour action and Cavan feel they are now capable of coping with those demands better than for a long time.

Beating Dublin would have been the fairytale launch to the season but in reality, it was always unlikely to happen.

Jim Gavin spoke afterwards of the great atmosphere the occasion engendered but, when it came down to hard business, his blue-eyed assassins were never going to allow the giddiness of the day to impinge on their ruthless determination to continue on the winning trail.

The energy generated by the home supporters was palpable when Seanie Johnston fired over an excellent point from the left wing which put Cavan a point ahead after 21 minutes.

Johnston's misadventure in Kildare has long since been forgotten back home where his worth to the attack remains high.

He scored 0-5 yesterday - 0-3 from play - and would probably have done a whole lot more damage if the supply lines were better.

But then it was a day of learning for Cavan against the most formidable force in the business. Some Cavan supporters expressed the view after the game that it would have been better for the team if they had an easier start to life in Division 1.

In reality it wouldn't as they acquired a whole lot of valuable information yesterday which, if used constructively, will greatly help the cause in the weeks ahead. Meanwhile, Dublin continued on their unbeaten League and Championship run, which has now stretched to 30 games. They did it in a calm, measured manner, while giving the clear impression that there was more in reserve if required on an afternoon when Cavan enjoyed a taste of what the big time is really like.

Irish Independent

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