Saturday 21 April 2018

McKiernan eyes Ulster run for Cavan

Gearoid McKiernan. Photo: Sportsfile
Gearoid McKiernan. Photo: Sportsfile
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Cavan captain Gearoid McKiernan has warned that the Breffni men haven't "proved anything yet" despite their promotion back to the top flight for the first time since 2002.

Terry Hyland's side take on Tyrone in Sunday's Division 2 final in Croke Park and McKiernan believes that they have plenty to work on if they are to prove their Championship credentials.

Last summer, London were the only team Cavan managed to beat as defeats to Monaghan and Roscommon ended their Championship interest by July 4.

"You always have to believe you're capable of (winning an Ulster title) but we haven't proven anything yet. We've only won a few games in Division 2 so you can't be saying we deserve to win an Ulster title," said McKiernan.

"The reason you go to training is that you hope some day it will happen but we're not thinking about that at the minute, we're thinking about Tyrone and then Armagh in the Championship - we're not thinking about Ulster titles."

McKiernan has been shifted to centre-forward from midfield and that move has coincided with an upturn in Cavan's offensive returns.

The Breffni men ended their regular Division 2 campaign as top scorer across all four divisions and in the process they have managed to remain stingy at the back. In the top two flights, only Dublin and Tyrone conceded less over their seven-game schedules.

"The normal thing to say is that you're happy as long as you're playing but I definitely do enjoy centre-forward a lot, the last few games especially," said McKiernan.

"I played a wee bit there last year but only got a full run at it this year. It's different. You've less defending to do, anyway! You're closer to goals and can find yourself in a wee bit more space at times.

"The conversion rate is up and we're getting more chances. Boys are breaking with more pace. We probably were known as a defensive team in the last few years but at the minute we're still a solid unit defensively and not conceding too many chances."

The likes of Eugene Keating and Cian Mackey have spent a large part of the League on the bench, and with Seanie Johnston looking to force his way back into the side having missed the Galway game through a hamstring injury, McKiernan believes this is the most competitive Cavan squad he has been a part of.

"The competition for places is very good and it's definitely the best squad I've ever been on," he said.

Irish Independent

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