Not long after they exited the Ulster Championship following a loss to Donegal, the Cavan team held a meeting with management.

Promotion to Division 3 was already in the bag and a league title with it, but where did the Tailteann Cup stand in their list of targets? The meeting would tell all.

At the end of it they knew where they stood. All in.

"There was talk of were lads going to go abroad, '' says top defender Padraig Faulkner.

"There are a lot of lads playing football in America at the minute, but we sat down and said, 'this is something we really want to win'. And everyone stuck at it, there was no drop-off.

"It is a chance to win something and my friends think this is a great competition. It was right back to the drawing board, could be a great stepping stone for next year and we put 100% into it."

For Faulkner, the taste of silverware is something he cannot take for granted.

He played five years for Cavan before he won a medal at senior level.

"This is important to win for younger lads on the panel and for those who have great experience," he says.

"The younger lads get to play another two games at Croke Park and get that competitive factor again and it’s huge progress."

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Faulkner says that reaching the final is a nice reward for all the work invested.

Being an inter-county player in 2022 is demanding. Even with the GAA trying to safeguard players welfare by trying to limit training sessions and streamline seasons, every player is on the clock, around the clock.

"It is a big commitment and lots of different factors drive it," Faulkner says.

"You miss a lot of social gatherings and events. I've missed two weddings of friends of mine through this Tailteann Cup campaign alone and it is a tough time.

"You spend so many hours driving to and from training, to doing video analysis, to gym to training. It is like a second job. That is why it is nice to still be playing at this time of year in competitive games with crowds and a chance to develop."

Cavan saw off Sligo in the semi-finals

Sligo pushed them hard in the semi-final. So hard. They hit 1-14 and never stopped attacking. Faulkner is convinced that the game will stand to them.

"The Sligo we played in the league were a completely different team to the one that we played at Croke Park.

"They really brought the game to us and I don’t know if we expected the Sligo team that showed up that day.

"They played to their strengths, and for us it was a good test because we saw areas to improve upon. We were up by six, to nearly lose two goals to them and go back up by six again, so it was mixed emotions.

"There were lots of takeaways, and where do you start?" he asks, laughing.

They came out after that game and watched Westmeath take Offaly apart in the first 20 minutes of the second semi-final.

"Westmeath really made Offaly look average, and Offaly are a good team, so that says a lot. We just have to look at ourselves now in the final. But that’s the nature of it."

And what about the chance to become the winners of the Tailteann Cup for the first time?

"Well, it’s a good competition and I enjoy the way it was run this year.

"I enjoy the incentive of trying to win and step up then. The group stages next year will be welcome because this year it was like playing two Ulster championships," he says.

"But to be here in a final, playing football in the summer with all the team invested in it – that’s really good."

Watch the Tailteann Cup final on Saturday at 3pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player, with live blog on RTÉ News app and on rte.ie/sport and live radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1.