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Breffni boss Hyland keen to play down his side's favourites tag

By Declan Bogue

Only in Gaelic games could winning a game by a landslide margin be turned into a negative for the winners and a positive for the losers. But that's exactly what has happened since Cavan buried Armagh by 17 points in the league during the month of March.

Armagh now speak about that game as 'bottoming out' in this season, while Cavan will maintain that if anything, it has left them vulnerable to a reversal of that result when they come together this Sunday.

"I don't think we would mention it in our dressing room. Armagh might in theirs for motivation," says Cavan manager Terry Hyland.

"That result was one of those days and I don't think it had any bearing of where Armagh were at or where we are now. It was just one of those results where we got a run on them on the night, everything went well for us and a lot of things did not go well for them. I think they will have rectified a lot of that."

Right now, Cavan are two divisions above tomorrow's opponents.

The Breffni Blues have Division One to look forward to next year while Armagh dropped through the Division Two trapdoor. It was a league of inches, but Cavan have been installed as strong favourites to progress in Ulster.

But Hyland warns: "We might be favourites with the bookies and with a lot of the public and the media but we know what Armagh can bring to the game. We played them a couple of years ago and we know what happened that day."

Now the second-longest serving football manager in the GAA behind Mickey Harte, Hyland reflects on a season 15 years ago when he was a selector for Val Andrews and their players walked behind the band for Ulster final day.

"I was involved the last time we got to an Ulster final in 2001 when we played Tyrone and they beat us by two points and we have not been back there since," he recalls of the last time Cavan were present for Ulster football's showpiece day.

"It has been an issue but it always an issue in Ulster anyway. Look at Tyrone, they have not won an Ulster since 2010 and they are third/fourth favourites to win the All-Ireland.

"You have to take into the mix that Ulster is totally different as a proposition to Leinster with one or two teams, Munster with two teams and Connacht with three teams.

"That is the difference because in Ulster you have at least six teams that can win, and it will throw up surprises as well."

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