Belfast Telegraph

Late goal only a consolation for Cavan as impressive Donegal secure fifth Ulster title of decade

Donegal 1-24 Cavan 2-16

Michael Murphy of Donegal lifts the Anglo-Celt Cup.
Michael Murphy of Donegal lifts the Anglo-Celt Cup.
Ulster GAA Senior Football Championship Final, St. Tiernach's Park, Clones, Co. Monaghan 23/6/2019 Cavan vs Donegal Cavan's Killian Clarke and Neil McGee of Donegal Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/James Crombie

By Sean McGoldrick

Donegal completed their most successful ever decade in football by winning their fifth Ulster title in nine seasons in Clones with Michael Murphy captaining them to all these victories.

The magnitude of their success can be gauged from the fact that in the previous 123 years the county won five provincial titles in total.

While Cavan grabbed two late goals Donegal were in control of this contest virtually from the throw-in, though their late fade-out is a concern for them going forward.

Jamie Brennan again starred scoring 1-4 from play and Cavan will wonder why they opted to go defensive at the start rather than trust the front-foot attacking play which had served them so well during the series.

Trailing by eight points at the break, the game was already beyond their reach. They had much more success once they had their best forwards on the field. They probably scored enough to give them hope that they can still make the Super 8s.

Declan Bonner's side were also retaining the title for the first time since 2012. But as this group of players look forward to the Super 8s in which they will be in the same group as Kerry, they will be aiming to go one better than in 2019 and reach the All-Ireland semi-final.

Cavan opted for a defensive side drafting in Ciaran Brady and Gerald Smith – who replaced corner-forwards Cian Mackey and Conor Madden. Obviously the strategy of team boss Mickey Graham was to stay in the hunt for as long as possible and then unleash more of their forward power.

In the event both sides set up defensively – Cavan pulled 13 men behind the ball when not in possession while Donegal did one better and pulled everybody back.

Read how the game unfolded:

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