‘Carloads of families came, it was like driving through McDonald’s’ – Stephen King on Cavan’s latest Ulster win – and whether Donegal will retaliate

There are some unwanted records that sportsmen have no interest in and Stephen King happily passed on the mantle of being the last Cavan man to lead the Breffni men to Ulster SFC success.

Not even his namesake could have written a more compelling story to take them to the promised land, as 23 years of pain came to an end when Cavan completed an extraordinary provincial tour on that famous November day in 2020.

The world was gripped by Covid at the time so no Cavan man, woman or child was there to witness the ecstasy at the sports ground up close as they upset Donegal, but that didn’t stop them from making the most of it do. even if Breffni Park was more of a “McDonald’s Drive-Thru”.

“I played with Cavan for almost 18 years when we won it and I can remember the time when you couldn’t get back to Butlersbridge from Clones because of traffic during 2020 nobody was at the game,” recalls King .


Stephen King of Cavan. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

“I’m sure everyone has been dancing in their living rooms like me and tonight you’re just on top form, you’re so excited. So everyone got in their cars and showed their support for the boys at Breffni Park.

“It wasn’t the same for them, carloads were filled with their family members and you could walk in and wave at them from the car. It was like a McDonald’s drive-thru because all you had to do was get in, wave, and get out.

“We saved a tremendous performance for the final against Donegal and there was a lot of euphoria after that but I felt sorry for the players when you compare that to the euphoria we went through in 1997.”

King has often heard in the episode that “You guys won the Covid championship” with Lady Luck on her side, but he branded such a notion “nonsense” as “history always says that Cavan won a championship and that’s it”.

Mickey Graham’s men will once again be underdogs when teams clash in Clones tomorrow as they bond for the first time since that shock finale, but King doesn’t see it as a “revenge mission” for Declan Bonner’s Donegal team.

“Teams have moved away from that, Donegal would have been very disappointed back then, but I don’t think the dressing room will be like, ‘Jesus boys, remember what these boys did to us two years ago,'” he said former Irish The Star of International Rules says.

“They definitely won’t take Cavan for granted, but they won’t be dragged into a revenge mission just because Cavan beat them in an Ulster final, they’ll talk about the here and now and how they’re performing again this year.

“They were brilliant against Armagh, but there will never be any question of revenge. However, it will be in the back of everyone’s mind that “we have to perform and these Cavan boys are no pushover and can catch us on the spot”.

After three consecutive relegations, Cavan slipped down to the bottom division and while King was less than impressed with some of their league performances this year, he was delighted to see Division 4 silverware at Croke Park last month.

They may not be a Division 1 team, but with star names like Ray Galligan, Pádraig Faulkner, James Smith, Gearóid McKiernan and Paddy Lynch – “players who would make any team” – in their midst, King feels they make a team should pack bigger league hit.

“We’re not a Division 1 team, I won’t say we are, but I honestly think we’re a Division 2 team at midfield. We should be able to beat with the likes of Limerick, Louth, Meath, Clare,” says the Killeshandra clubman.

King hopes the ‘winner mentality’ that also saw them edge Antrim aside from Ulster in the quarter-finals can give them another shock, but he’s realistic about their prospects if the winners in the final face either Derry or meet Monaghan.

“Ulster is sacrosanct to Cavan people and we always feel we can do well in it no matter what happened before. I think there’s a game in Cavan and I think Cavan would do better against better teams over the years and even in my time,” says the former midfield ace.

“Donegal will know they were in a game. I’m not saying we’re going to win but I think they’ll do their best and hopefully on the day that might be good enough. Any team can beat any other team in Ulster on any given day, it’s by far the most competitive province.”

https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/gaelic-football/car-loads-of-families-came-it-was-like-a-drive-thru-at-mcdonalds-stephen-king-on-cavans-last-ulster-win-and-if-donegal-will-get-revenge-41623904.html ‘Carloads of families came, it was like driving through McDonald’s’ – Stephen King on Cavan’s latest Ulster win – and whether Donegal will retaliate

Fry Electronics Team

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