Johnston urges Breffni to prove they can mix it with big hitters
At 32-years-old, Cavan's Seanie Johnston admits that his chances of playing in an Ulster final are rapidly diminishing ahead of his side's derby against Monaghan in Breffni Park on Sunday (throw-in 2pm).
Monaghan are favourites to march on, and have accrued serious experience over the last five seasons under Malachy O'Rourke, but there has not been more than one point in it the last four times the neighbours have met.
But the Breffni will back themselves, and none more so than corner-forward Johnston, who admits he thought he would never see these days again having forced through a transfer to Kildare in 2012.
"I was out for three years and it was looking unlikely that I would be back, but I came back in last year and helped in the promotion push as well," said the teacher at Breffni College.
"The years slip by very quickly so it is important to make the most of every one.
"As you get older you tend to appreciate it more whereas when you are younger you think it is going to go on forever. I came in at 18 thinking that and suddenly you are 32 looking back and you have not won anything."
He admitted the transfer saga and the negative coverage surrounding it equipped him with a thicker skin. Johnston also has an interesting take on the theory that Ulster is made up of two tiers - one of Tyrone, Donegal and Monaghan, and the rest all lagging some distance behind.
"Until you win something you are not going to be included in that group. That is the reality for us," he said.
"Would we like to see ourselves up there? Of course we would. Do we think the gap is that huge? No we don't, but it is up to us to prove that on the field of play and show that we can compete with those teams.
"They are three super teams and the reality is that they have pulled away in the last number of years."