Cavan captain Dara McVeety 'back to 100 per cent' for Wicklow Qualifier
HE was only fit for 20-odd minutes as Cavan chased a lost cause against Donegal, but Dara McVeety says he is “back to 100 per cent” heading into this weekend’s All-Ireland Qualifier trip to Wicklow.
A hamstring injury forced the Crosserlough clubman off late in the Division Two final defeat to Roscommon on April 1, and he was in a race against time to play any part in Cavan’s Ulster opener against Donegal.
Mattie McGleenan brought his captain off the bench in the 52nd minute as the Breffnimen chased the game, while the influential Martin Reilly was only introduced seven minutes earlier after also struggling with injury.
But McVeety insists the four week gap between the Donegal defeat and Saturday’s Garden County clash in Joule Park has helped ease Cavan’s injury worries as they seek to get their summer back on track.
“I’m grand now, back to 100 per cent,” said the Breffni captain.
“I just needed a few weeks to get my fitness back up, get a bit of strength into the hamstring. It’s the type of injury you always have in the back of your mind, especially if you’re trying to fast-track it, so it’s good to have that bit of training under my belt now.
“[Against Donegal] I played as much as I could have possibly got out of the match. Unfortunately Martin Reilly was the same; he was another massive loss because he was one of our best players through the League.
“That didn’t help the thing but that’s part and parcel of it. You have a better hand now going into the Qualifiers so hopefully we can make more use of the panel and get a few better results.
“I’m looking forward to playing a few games – it feels like a long time since I played a full match.”
And the break since losing out in Ballybofey has given McGleenan time to iron out some of the issues that contributed to a below-par performance against the men from Tir Chonaill.
Despite a bright opening 20 minutes, Cavan were eight points adrift of Declan Bonner’s side by the close of play. After an impressive League campaign, it was a hugely disappointing way to exit Ulster.
But McVeety insists they have got that out of their system and determined to rebuild through the Qualifiers – starting in Aughrim.
He continued: “Everyone was very disappointed.
“The few injuries coming into the game didn’t help, just the uncertainty of a few lads carrying niggles from club matches, but we didn’t perform, we let ourselves down.
“But we sat down, talked about what we felt everybody needed to do, looked at the videos and just worked on it since. That sort of thing happens in football, you just have to get up and get on with it.
“The year’s not over yet.”
Yet McGleenan sounded a note of caution in the aftermath of the Donegal game, challenging his players to improve upon recent performances in the Qualifiers.
And McVeety thinks the extended break will help on that front.
“A few of the other years you were knocked out of Ulster and then straight into the Qualifiers the following week.
“You don’t really have time to fix stuff, so it’s good to have a little break to reassess, look at where we went wrong and try and fix those things hopefully.
“Hopefully we’ll be able to get back on track against Wicklow and do ourselves justice.”