Reilly backs Cavan to keep turning on the style
CAVAN manager Peter Reilly believes that his team can take a giant stride into the history books by winning a fourth consecutive Ulster U-21 football title when they confront Donegal in tonight's decider at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh (8.00pm).
The Breffni outfit's dominance of this sector has been an enduring narrative and Reilly, who rendered fine service as a player to Cavan at senior level, is convinced that the success ratio in the U-21 sector can now be extended.
"We have beaten Derry, Tyrone and Monaghan to date and these matches have helped us to hone our strategy and bolster the spirit within the side but having said that we know that Donegal will be very tough opponents," asserts Reilly. "They have fine players both individually and collectively and they will be very well prepared for this particular game. They will, I am sure, want to take a leaf out of their senior team's book by getting success."
Donegal gained promotion to Division One of the Allianz League last Sunday by beating Armagh and will meet Monaghan in the Division Two final shortly but Cavan have also claimed their measure of glory by scorching through Division Three unbeaten to secure promotion.
"Obviously the fact that the senior teams from both counties have been doing well helps to spark interest at Under-21 level and I think this will be reflected tonight," concedes Reilly.
"We had to work hard to beat Monaghan in our semi-final and we know that we have to hit the ground running tonight if we are to get the better of Donegal."
Killian Clarke, skipper Conor Moynagh, Michael Argue and Kevin Bouchier are key players while Tom Hayes is likely to start again having impressed when brought in at the eleventh hour against Monaghan. Argue is very much the axis of the team, his towering presence at midfield virtually guaranteeing possession while his scoring skills have also been very evident. Donegal manager Maxie Curran has already put Cavan under the microscope and acknowledges that they will be very difficult opponents.
"They are very well-organised, they work hard for each other and they know how to take scores," observes Curran.
Patrick McBrearty, an All-Ireland senior medallist in 2012, is of course very much the ace in the Donegal pack, his outstanding contributions having underpinned the wins over Fermanagh and Armagh to date.
The gifted Kilcar clubman further underlined his current sharpness when he hoisted over two late points for the Donegal senior side against Armagh at the weekend.