Colm McFadden finally got his hands on Ulster silverware last summer and he enjoyed it so much that he craves to do it all again this year.
He was given his big break by Mickey Moran against Down in the Ulster quarter-final in the summer of 2002. Ironically, he had to be happy with a place on the bench for the preliminary round meeting with Cavan.
“After nine years and many disappointments and near misses I finally got my hands on silverware last summer and it was a good feeling,” said Colm.
“And I suppose given the fact that it took so long makes you appreciate it more and also appreciate that it takes a lot of hard work and effort to win Ulster. I also feel that after winning it once it makes you want to win it again.
“That is the number one goal this year, to win it again and put Ulster titles back to back and everyone in the squad feels the same. The hunger is there to win and to build on last year and maybe go a step or two further if at all possible. To win Ulster again is very high on our priorities.”
But as was the case last year Colm and Donegal are taking it one game at a time and are not taking Cavan for granted despite the fact that Donegal are the raging hot favourites, the Division One team playing a team that struggled in Division Three and with five rookies in their starting 15.
“We played them last year and they gave us a lot of bother early on and they have won the last two U-21 Ulster Championships.
“They are at home in Breffni Park and they will have a big support behind them and they will have learned from last year and are a good bit more experienced and we are certainly not taking them lightly.
“I know supporters and the experts are talking us up and we are the favourites but that is not how we are approaching it. But as a squad we don’t pay much heed to talk about favourites, we concentrate on our own preparations and being fully fit and in the right frame of mind.
“That is the policy all along since Jim took over. That was the policy all last year and it worked well and it is going to be no different this season. We respect all teams and Cavan are no different and hopefully we will get over them and set up a meeting with Derry.”
In the absence of Michael Murphy, Colm will spearhead the Donegal attack this afternoon with Patrick McBrearty and David Walsh riding shotgun.
But this is something the big Cresslough man take in his stride and does not feel under extra pressure to perform in the absence of a player of the class and quality of the team captain.
“We are without Michael and he is a huge loss but I don’t feel any great burden of pressure on me because he is not there, at least not to date anyway. We have been without Michael for a few games now and have to get on with it and so far we have coped. It is not as if it was sprung on us in the last week. We have known for some time that Michael was not going to be ready so it is a matter of the rest of us going out and getting on with it and hopefully everything goes well for us on the day.
“That is what you have a squad for and when a player gets injured it is up to someone else to come and take up the slack. We are lucky in that we have a good strong squad because that is what you need if you want to be successful.
“If we get over Cavan, Michael should be back for the next game against Derry and we will be glad to have him but on Sunday we are just going to have to get on without him and I suppose that was the other positive that came out of the win over Armagh, that we went out and won that game without both Michael and Neil McGee.”