When Cavan surprised Down in the National Football League several weeks ago, Eugene Keating found himself pitched in as a half-time substitute.
His subsequent contribution at centrethreequarters proved significant in bringing his team their first brace of points in the competition following their slip-ups against Longford and Tipperary in their opening two games.
But when Keating steps into the white heat of Ulster Championship action against Fermanagh at Kingspan Breffni Park on Saturday (5.30pm) he will do so in the rather unusual role of centre-half-back.
But the Breffni Under 21 ace is not unduly perturbed about the challenge confronting him.
“I’m looking forward to the game and I don’t mind where I play. We know that Fermanagh will have taken great heart from their win over Down and we face a massive test because our track record in the Ulster Championship lately has not been great,” points out the versatile Keating.
It’s 12 years since Stephen King led Cavan to their last Ulster crown but the Blues supporters are taking heart from their team’s history against Fermanagh. “People are saying that we have never lost to them in a championship match but I wouldn’t know too much about that — I haven’t been around that much altogether,” laughs Keating. “What I do know is that this Cavan side is very keen to prove themselves.”
Cavan manager Tommy Carr skippered Dublin to All Ireland glory in 1995 and is familiar with success at the highest level but has found the going tough since assuming command in the Breffni county.
“Fermanagh may not have had a great league campaign but they were playing at a higher level than we were. Besides, they got to last year’s Ulster final and I have no doubt that they will want to at least match that. We’ve home advantage but it’s only a hop over from Fermanagh so their fans won’t be fazed nor will their team,” insists Carr.
Fermanagh still have worries over key duo Ryan McCloskey and Martin McGrath, while Cavan’s Seanie Johnston is a doubt.