Cavan's Padraig Faulkner expects Armagh to be 'different animal' in Championship clash

April merit award winner Padraig Faulkner (centre) with (l-r) Quinn Products area manager Damien Lee, father Pat Faulkner, mother Jackie Faulkner and Sean McMahon of UGAAWA <br />Picture by Jim Dunne
April merit award winner Padraig Faulkner (centre) with (l-r) Quinn Products area manager Damien Lee, father Pat Faulkner, mother Jackie Faulkner and Sean McMahon of UGAAWA
Picture by Jim Dunne

LOSING the Allianz National Football League Division Two final to Tyrone is now history as far as the Cavan players are concerned and, last week, they had a four-day team-bonding session in Portugal to wash away the blues.

Now, they are fully focused on the next big hurdle - their clash with Armagh in the Ulster Championship at Kingspan Breffni Park. Corner-back Padraig Faulkner certainly has Armagh in his sights and the tall defender was the winner of the Quinn Building Products UGAAWA Merit Award for April.

“It was very disappointing that we didn't manage to beat Tyrone, but our aim at the start of the league was to win promotion and we did that,” said Faulkner.

“It looked bad for us after losing our first two games when we were eight points down to Meath at half-time in Navan, but we managed to turn things around in the second-half and that was why we eventually went on to gain promotion. That was the turning point of our league season. We will be up among the top teams next season and that's where you want to be. That's how you learn.

“Now, it’s on to the Championship and our game with Armagh, which won't be an easy one, even at Breffni Park. Armagh will be a much different animal from the team we met in the league. We know that and we have got to be ready for it. It is a fantastic achievement to win this award - my first individual honour, I never won a man-of-the-match even.”

In the Division Two final, Faulkner shadowed a number of Tyrone players as the Breffni Blues tried to curb the wily Red Hand forwards. He also pushed upfield when Cavan counterattacked.

“We had our work cut out to try and stop those Tyrone boys,” he said.

“They have a lot of talent in their attack.”

Like his father Pat did before him, Faulkner wears the number three jersey with his club, Kingscourt Stars, but he prefers a wider area to operate in: “I don't particularly like full-back and I'm glad that the Cavan manager [Terry Hyland] allows me to push further upfield,” he said.

“That's what I prefer to do.”

Also in the mix for the April award were Fermanagh captain Eoin Donnelly, who starred against Tyrone in the league's final round, and Donegal ladies’ forward Geraldine McLaughlin, who helped her team win the Lidl National Football League Division Two title.

Faulkner, who has Ulster U21 and minor and Cavan senior championship medals in his collection, is the first Cavan winner of the UGAAWA award since Martin Dunne, who collected the honour for May 2013.

He received an engraved Belleek Living vase, specially designed silver cuff links from Carlingford Design House, training gear from O'Neill's International Sports and a medical kit bag from Kingsbridge Private Hospital via 3FiveTwo, organised by McNeill Communications.

The presentation was made at Quinn's Corner, Dungannon by Quinn Building Products area manager for Fermanagh/north Leitrim Damien Lee. Faulkner will also receive two tickets and overnight accommodation for the next UGAAWA banquet.