Ulster SFC: Strong start key to 'special win' - Cavan boss Mickey Graham

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"To get a win against your neighbours is special" - Graham

Cavan boss Mickey Graham praised his players for "going for it" in their surprise Ulster SFC quarter-final win over derby rivals Monaghan.

The Breffni County scored a point after just 20 seconds and were ahead throughout as they secured a well-earned 1-13 to 0-12 home victory.

Graham believes his side's strong start provided the platform for their first championship success over their neighbours since 2001.

"We didn't stand back," said Graham.

"The lads went for it right from the word go - we knew we would only get one chance at it and we wanted to get off to a good start.

"The collectiveness of the team was important, from one to 15 and the lads that came on, it was a great workmanlike performance.

"Cavan have experienced a lot of disappointments in the Ulster Championship in recent years so to get a win over our neighbours on our home patch is special."

Martin Reilly
Martin Reilly's penalty came after Monaghan defender Drew Wylie was adjudged to have pushed over Conor Madden

The hosts took a seven-point lead into the interval but the visitors started the second half strongly and reduced the deficit to three within 15 minutes.

However, Graham was delighted with how his young squad coped with the pressure throughout the second half.

"We knew Monaghan were going to come at us and we spoke about how we would have to be patient and weather the storm," he continued.

"We said that we needed to not panic, keep doing what we were doing and try not to give the ball away too easily.

"But it's just one win and we will not get carried away. We haven't had too many championship wins down the years so we will take it one game at a time."

O'Rourke rues poor start

Monaghan manager Malachy O'Rourke, whose side were favourites ahead of the game, felt his side's decision-making was poor, particularly in the first half.

He also expressed his disappointment at the penalty decision which led to Martin Reilly scoring the only goal of the game.

"We never got to the pitch of the game at all in the first-half, we were hoping to hit the ground running but we didn't," he said.

"Then when we did get going we took the wrong options up front and our build-up play was a bit slow.

"We had more urgency in the second half and Cavan did enough to win the game but, while I wasn't close enough to see it, I heard it was a dubious penalty.

"The annoying thing is that unless it is clear-cut, you don't want the decision to go against you. It was a massive decision in the game."

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