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Last-minute fitness test for Cavan star McVeety

 

By John Campbell

Former Tyrone star Mattie McGleenan is certainly feeling the heat in the build-up to his first match in the Ulster senior football championship as his Cavan side prepare to take on Monaghan in the last of the quarter-finals at Kingspan Breffni Park next Sunday.

McGleenan was hoping to report a clean bill of health in advance of the fixture with Cavan's next door neighbours, but now finds himself confronted by unwanted headaches.

Dara McVeety, one of Cavan's most consistent players in the league, is a doubt for the match and such is his importance to the side that McGleenan reveals he will be given until Sunday morning to prove his fitness.

"I am still hopeful that we can have the best Cavan team on the football field on Sunday," insists McGleenan.

"Dara McVeety would be the main concern that we have.

"He's carrying a bit of a knock so we want to give him the maximum time in which to be fit because this is a vital game."

He adds: "Dara has been probably the talisman for us through the Allianz League. What you want in a footballer, to me, Dara McVeety is the man.

"He's been a natural leader in the league and in the big games when we needed somebody to step up Dara was doing that."

"The other side of it, too, is that the Cavan team that we're trying to put together is not a one-man show.

"It's a collective of the 15 players on the football field, and the other six or seven that come in and make the difference."

"That has been the key to the Championship so far, so we need that from Cavan next Sunday. We need 21 players to help us win the game."

Monaghan have been reporting a clean bill of health since their nine-point preliminary round victory over Fermanagh a fortnight ago, barring midfielder Darren Hughes, who was ruled out for the entire Ulster championship in April. However, McGleenan expects his former Scotstown colleague to play some part on Sunday week.

"Is Darren Hughes a smokescreen? I don't think Darren Hughes' injury is as bad probably as was made out. I would probably expect Darren to play next Sunday."

The winners of the game will meet Down in the second of the Ulster Championship semi-finals on Saturday June 24.

However, McGleenan is certainly not looking beyond next Sunday, knowing of course that Down manager Eamonn Burns will be putting both teams under the microscope following his own side's impressive quarter-final victory over Armagh at Pairc Esler, Newry.

Down have been conspicuous by their absence from the Ulster Championship closing stages over the course of recent years and are keen to come good.

Belfast Telegraph

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