Cavan face stiff test for three in a row

Defending champions to face Donegal in Ulster under-21 final

Patrick McBrearty will be in the Donegal team.

Patrick McBrearty will be in the Donegal team.

Wed, Apr 10, 2013, 07:00

Whatever about the long-term pain of Donegal’s relegation from Division One of the Allianz Football League, a victory here would certainly brighten up the mood – not that anyone is ruling out the staunchest possible defence of their All-Ireland title.

They face a highly-talented Cavan team looking to secure a third successive Ulster title in the grade, no mean feat in such a competitive province. Everything about Cavan’s semi-final win over Down – 1-12 to 0-6 – suggested they are every bit as good a team again. Michael Argue lorded midfield, Enda O’Reilly and Paul O’Connor scored freely, and the defence was very hard-working. Indeed they were six points up in the semi-final before Down recorded their first point from play and Donegal will not want to allow that to happen here.

Some may feel Donegal were lucky to escape with a one-point win over Derry in their semi-final, 2-11 to 0-15. Derry certainly hit them with a fierce finishing kick, coming from six points down and just missing what would have been a sensational late winner when Ryan Bell’s shot rifled off the bar. Yet Donegal will fancy their chances now, with Patrick McBrearty sure to be a handful to contain.

The winners here will play the Munster champions, Cork or Tipperary, in the All-Ireland semi-finals on Saturday week, April 20th, with Galway and Kildare already booked into the other semi-final.