at Kingspan Breffni
Cavan defender Killian Clarke had experienced narrow championship losses to Monaghan in 2013, 2015 and 2017, which could not have been easy to bear for a man reared on the county boundary in Shercock.
But that run was halted yesterday in tremendous fashion by Clarke and his team-mates and the former captain believed it was long overdue.
“It's a long time coming at this stage, we have been on the receiving end of a few tough defeats to Monaghan. We have been going in leading in the second half and then they pipped us by a point or two. It's always a tough game,” said Clarke after the match.
“Today, we probably didn't get going in the second half the way we wanted, our kick-out malfunctioned a wee bit and stuff like that and that puit us under a bit of pressure. But we held out, in years gone by we probably would have flattened and let them walk through and tip over a few points but we stuck at it and we got the result we wanted.”
Killian felt that the outstanding performance of full-back Padraig Faulkner was instrumental to Cavan's win.
“I think a big factor in it was Padraig Faulkner, I thought he was excellent today. Conor McManus is a marquee forward in the country but I thought he wasn't his usual self today and I think a lot of that was down to Padraig's performance and fair play to him. When Monaghan didn't have that outlet inside they kind of struggled for scores. We worked that well.
“And we had that bit of belief... We put in some good performances in the league and came out the wrong side of a few results but the stats showed that we weren't a millions miles away at the same time.”
Cavan got off to a dream start with quickfire points from Conor Brady and Niall Murray but Martin Reilly's penalty for a foul on Conor Madden was what really lit the spark. Most, even among the Breffni fans in the 13,496 crowd, seemed to agree that the decision was fortunate for the home side.
“Yeah, we got the rub of the green a wee bit today, other days we didn't get the rub of the green but it balances itself out,” remarked Clarke.
“The harder you work, the luckier you get. It was an excellent ball in from Marty. Monaghan were playing a very high line in that full-back line and Conor Madden made use of it, Martin Reilly was able to pick him out with a ball over the top.”
Asked what the key difference this year was, he said: “We probably applied pressure higher up the field. There was poorer ball coming inside which gave us a chance in the full-back line where we might have struggled in previous years. Our midfield were very good today as well.
“We got the result we wanted but we still have loads to work on. They got a lot of short kick-outs away that we would have hoped they wouldn't have got but we will look at that during the week and hopefully we can right those wrongs and push on.
“We'll not look too far ahead, we'll review this game today and see where we went wrong and where that drop in performance came from in the second half and how we can rectify that for the next day. But yeah, I'm really looking forward to the next game and the rest of the summer hopefully.”