There can be little doubt that hunger in football terms can make up for a lot of shortcomings in terms of personnel. I have seen many examples of teams with much less skill and talent overcoming opposition that appeared on paper to have been much higher quality. The one great leveller in Gaelic football is hunger. A committed, determined and hungry team that is well drilled and well prepared has a much better chance of being successful than a team with lots of talent but lacking hunger.
Cavan lifted this year’s Ulster Under 21 Championship primarily because they were the hungrier and more determined side. They were also blessed with several outstanding footballers and a team captain Gearoid Mc Kiernan who led by example from the first whistle to the last. Jack Brady their diminutive corner forward was excellent throughout and must have come very close to winning the man of the match award himself.
Ultimately however this victory was not about individuals. It was a real “team” performance with every player giving his all in search of a common goal. The possibility of winning of the county’s first provincial title at this level since 1996 was a huge incentive but there were many other reasons for Cavan’s hugely driven approach to this game. They had lost in last year’s final, they were facing the team that had beaten them as minors three years ago and then went on to win the All Ireland and they were underdogs. Thirteen of the players who played in that minor match for the Breffni lads lined out last night.All these factors came together as huge motivational tools which resulted in a very committed and successful team display.
Cavan also managed to get most of the breaks that were going but as I have said before you tend to make your own luck and no one could deny that they were deserving winners on the night. Let’s hope they don’t overdo the celebrations and can recover in time for the All Ireland semi final on Saturday night in Parnell Park.