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Cavan Elated After 'Rollercoaster' Comeback Victory Over Down

Cavan Elated After 'Rollercoaster' Comeback Victory Over Down

Mickey Graham warned his players of the shock they might get if they're ever leading at half-time in a big game.

Graham's Cavan came back from 10 points behind late in the first half of the Ulster semi-final against Down to eventually win by one. They will play Donegal next weekend in a repeat of last year's Ulster decider.

Previously in this year's Ulster campaign, Cavan trailed by seven at the break against Monaghan and by one against Antrim.

"We do leave ourselves mountains to climb in the second half of matches," Graham told RTÉ Radio 1 after his side's 1-14 to 1-13 victory.

"Today was no different. If you didn't have heart trouble the last few weeks, you'll never get heart trouble. That had everything today.

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"It was a rollercoaster of a second half. We got the lucky breaks and the lads showed great resilience and determination to never throw in the towel. You have to admire them for that.

"It was knockout football. We said at half-time that we were doing a lot of silly stuff, lots of mistakes being made. We weren't putting real pressure on Down. We said, 'Lookit, if this is going to be the last 35 minutes of the year, let's go out fighting'.

"In the second half, the fear factor seems to be gone and we realise that we have nothing to lose. The bigger the challenge, the more they seem to rise to it. They rose to that challenge in the second half.

"The first question you always ask of the players is what did they see happening. They'll nearly always give you the answers. We just try to put the belief [back] and give them the confidence to go out and try to do their best. You'd make a couple of change here and there and hopefully they work."

Conor Madden came off the bench to score three points for Cavan and be named Man of the Match.

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"Mickey got us in at half-time and it was plain to be seen that we weren't doing the basics," Madden told BBC Northern Ireland.

We just weren't doing what we set out to do. Mickey said we were well in the game, that we've shown it before, that this team just doesn't give up.

"We chipped away, got a few points and sensed that it was on. We went for it then.

"Everyone to a man stood up, and the boys that came on as well. There was no holding back and that's the way we want to play football. We want to go all out and go for the games. We sensed with 15 minutes to go that we were well on top."

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PJ Browne
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