Graham: 'We're well used to being written off'

GAA news

Cavan manager Mickey Graham says the squad has been boosted by the news that all members of the semi-final panels will be allowed to attend the matches.

“The hardest part of this job is telling lads that they are not on the 26 first and foremost and then when they aren’t able to come and experience the match day as well, it is tough. They have put as much work into it as the lads who have got game time and they are just as important to the squad as the 15 or 20 lads who get match time on a given day,” Graham told The Anglo-Celt.

“It’s huge that everyone can tog out, it’s a reward for the effort of all the players. The lads who played the last day can’t thank the lads who weren’t on the 26 enough and they referenced that many times, everybody has played their part in this.

“There is no run-out in Croke Park but the way boys are with work and with a lot going on in their personal lives, trying to organise something like that at this moment in time would just be putting extra strain on lads. We just have to get on with it and hopefully the boys can adapt to the venue when we get there.”

Cavan have a full squad to choose from and, says Graham, the players have recovered well from the Ulster final, with no celebrations dragging on.

“We have a full clean bill of health. Everybody is good which is testament to the backroom team and the work that they have done which is brilliant. A full squad to pick from.

“In the times that’s in it, it hasn’t been that big an issue. With restrictions and everything else, lads have been able to keep their feet on the ground, there have been no distractions really.

“Lads got back to work on Monday or Tuesday and as I said, it’s not as if there were pubs and stuff open where lads could be out and about celebrating. There was none of that so strictly from the point of view of preparing for this match, the current restrictions suit us.

“The lads got back to normality quickly. Life goes on, they still have to work and it’s not as if there’s anywhere to go at this moment in time so it’s actually not a bad thing.”

In terms of how they will approach the peerless Dubs, Graham said the focus will be on their own performance.

“We have been in these situations, written off, in most of the games in this championship and we know how to cope with them. I think we are just going to approach the game from the point of view of ‘what can we bring to the table’?

“We know what Dublin will bring, we know what to expect from them. They’re a bit like Premiership soccer teams, you’ve seen them more than you’ve seen any other team in the country playing so we know exactly what lies ahead of us.

“We have to just focus on our own game and try and get up to the high standards that we set against Donegal and bring it up another notch or two from that.

“It’s about trying to get ourselves in the right mindset for that and to try and improve on our performance from the last day.

“We’ll be focusing on ourselves moreso than Dublin because we all know what Dublin bring. It’s about what Cavan will bring to it now and trying to get another big performance.”

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