A matter of staying grounded ahead of the final - Patrick McBrearty

A matter of staying grounded ahead of the final - Patrick McBrearty

For Patrick McBrearty after Saturday’s win over Tyrone it was all about staying grounded and preparing for the Ulster final on Sunday week in Clones.

Donegal will face Cavan in that final and though speaking after Donegal’s four point win over Tyrone he wasn’t sure of the final opponents he still felt Cavan or Armagh would provide formidable opposition.

“It will be our eighth final in nine years and it is going to be a massive challenge for us,” said the 25 year-old, who turns 26 in August.

After Saturday evening’s performance and the manner of their victory over the Red Hands, the Kilcar man admits Donegal will more than likely carry the favourites’ tag into Sunday week’s final.

But that does not bother him.

“We are around the block long enough now to deal with the favourites’ tag. That is the way Cavan or Armagh will want it. But it is all about staying grounded.

“We will analyse the Tyrone game on Wednesday night and get back down to training hard and getting ready for the final.”

The Kilcar man missed Donegal’s Super 8 campaign through injury and also missed all of this season’s Allianz Football League following cruciate surgery at the end of last year.

He only returned to club action in April and had his first outing with Donegal against Fermanagh in the first round of the championship.

“I had this game earmarked for a comeback more than anything else. I had 11 months to prepare for this game. It didn’t go to plan for me in the first half; things opened a bit more in the second half. But I’m just delighted to be back.”

Though Donegal are the reigning Ulster champions, they were written off by many ahead of last Saturday evening’s showdown with Tyrone.

The Red Hands were the money-on favourites with the bookies. This was not something that bothered Patrick McBrearty in the run up to the game last week.

“If you look at it from the outside Tyrone were in the All-Ireland final last year and they defeated us last year both in the league and the championship so they were probably justifiable favourites.

“But we knew the talent we had in our dressing room and we knew that if we put in a performance we would come out on the right side of the result.”

While he was out injured young Oisin Gallen from Sean MacCumhaills broke into the team and but for a shoulder injury suffered in a club game at the beginning of last month was probably in the running for a starting place in the full-forward line last weekend.

“I'm pushing on now, I'm 26 next month and I have to watch out for those young lads coming up behind me.

“There is plenty of competition for places, I'm third now behind Jamie (Brennan) and Michael (Murphy),” joked McBrearty.

“It is good to have that level of competition for places. A versus B games at training you are looking over your shoulder all the time. But competition is good.”