Donegal forward Paddy McBrearty said winning his fifth Ulster title was something he couldn't have imagined when the county ended a 19-year wait in 2011.

McBrearty won his first Anglo-Celt Cup as a 17-year-old in Jim McGuinness' breakthrough team eight years ago and claimed his fifth as part of a dominant forward display against Cavan today.

Donegal have doubled their tally to 10 Ulster crowns over the course of the decade.

"There's a lot of boys here with five now, starting off in 2011 it would have only been a dream," McBrearty told RTÉ Radio 1's Sunday Sport.

"We're sitting here with five Ulster championships. This is a dream come true.

"You see the scenes. People talking about scrapping the provincial championships, they should come up to Clones today and see the smiles on Donegal people's faces."

McBraerty's summer ended prematurely last year

McBrearty missed the Super 8s last year after tearing his cruciate ligament in the Ulster final win over Fermanagh.

Having kicked 0-5 (1f) today, he's looking forward to pitting himself against the likes of Kerry and Galway/the Leinster runners-up or the teams that beat them in the qualifiers.

"Contrasting emotions to this day last year," he admitted. "I probably knew leaving here I was going to be out for a significant time.

"I'm very proud of the boys today. They gave me an opportunity to come back here and rectify it.

"It wasn't just me. I had a team around me in Dublin, where I'm based and a team at the weekends in Donegal. Without them boys I wouldn't be here today.

"I'm looking forward to playing in the Super 8s. I missed it last year (through injury)."

Donegal disappointed last year after winning Ulster, losing a decisive quarter-final group home game against Tyrone that would have put them in an All-Ireland semi-final.

"We regrouped in November," said McBrearty. "We had a lot of questions to answer. We looked at the Tyrone game and saw where we went wrong and as a group and man to man we asked questions of each other. 

"We said we had to get back onto the training field, get up out of Division 2 and take every Ulster Championship game as it comes.

"We knew if we got our end of things right and kept the squad injury-free, we would be back here.

"We're a very young team. The likes of Jamie Brennan and Niall O'Donnell are top young lads, Eoghan Bán Gallagher and Stephen McMenamin, Donegal football is in a good place."