by Jackie Cahill
Cavan captain Sinéad Greene admits that the Breffni girls face a "massive challenge" against Tipperary in next Sunday's Lidl NFL Division 2 final at Parnell Park.
In what's a straight shoot-out for promotion to the top flight, last year's Division 2 runners-up Cavan face 2017 Division 3 winners Tipperary, in what promises to be a fascinating encounter.
The sides met in February, as Tipp claimed a three-point victory on a 1-13 to 3-4 scoreline, and the margins could be even tighter this time.
Cavan booked their place in the semi-finals by defeating Tyrone in the final round of regulation fixtures, before accounting for table-toppers Waterford in the last four.
Now, they're again just 60 minutes away from top-tier fare in 2018 and Greene says that former Armagh boss James Daly has played a huge role in the team's development.
Daly was in charge of Longford when they won the Division 4 crown last year and Greene says: "Every new manager brings a new face and new ideas, which is great.
"That's probably why we were a bit up and down in the League, because he was trying new girls out and giving new girls a run, which is important as well, that everyone gets a shout.
"Look, Aidan (McCabe) and Simon (Fay) did super work last year but James is just continuing on from that. It's going well.
"Him and Brian (Donohue) are working really, really well with the players and it's going good. So hopefully that'll continue."
Greene added: "We weren't that consistent throughout the league. You know, we won a few, lost a few.
"We were lucky in the end to make the top four. We were under a bit of pressure.
"We had to beat Sligo, we had to beat Tyrone to make the semi-finals.
"But look, it seems to be coming good now when it matters so hopefully we can continue that on Sunday."
But Greene is aware of Tipp's capabilities, as the Premier County target successive promotions.
Tipp lifted the Division 3 League title before landing TG4 Munster and All-Ireland crowns during an unbeaten 2017 campaign.
Under the guidance of manager Shane Ronayne, they've carried that impressive form into the new season and Greene notes: "Tipp - we know the challenge that's in our hands. It's absolutely massive.
"They have super players all over the field.
"They beat us in the round robin stages of the league as well.
"It's a massive, massive task. I'm sure we're going in as underdogs and probably rightly so.
"But look, we love a good challenge so that's what ahead of us on Sunday."
And Greene is confident that a big crowd will be present at Parnell Park, as Cavan and Tipp face off before the Division 1 decider involving TG4 All-Ireland senior champions Dublin and 2017 runners-up Mayo.
Greene added: "It'd be great if a good crowd came out to support us.
"Both games, whether you're a neutral or not. it'll be really, really good football on the day. Hopefully the crowd will come out and push us on as well."Tweet