Cavan camogs out to retain their league status

By Michael McMullan

CAVAN face a tough opening when their Division Two campaign begins this week but Shanise Fitzsimons is excited about camogie in the county.

The Breffni County made a return to inter-county action in 2020 after 10 years without fielding a senior team and it has been an upward curve since.

Fitzsimons led the Cavan attack when they won the Nancy Murray title later that season. It was followed up with promotions from Division Four and last year from Division Three.

Cavan travel to Trim on Sunday to take on Meath as their life in Division Two begins.

It’s another sign of progress since the clubs within the county floated the idea of bringing back the county team.

“Our clubs were competing well in Ulster so it was a no-brainer that we had to get a team going in 2020,” Fitzsimons said of the decision.

“We had huge numbers and we pushed on to be successful most years. The clubs expressed their interest towards the county board.

“We got a management structure in and everybody bought into that which is great.”

Cavan have added a new management in place for this season Shane O’Donnell is in charge with Ryan Corrigan on as selector. After doing their own strength and conditioning before Christmas, the hard yards have been done.

“We have been on the pitch since,” Fitzsimons side. “It is going well but we are up in Division Two so it will be a big jump.”

They had a challenge game with Tyrone and have since been tipping away in preparation for the start to the season. After taking on Meath, Cavan face All-Ireland Intermediate champions Derry in round two.

“It is a nice way to start,” Fitzsimons added. “We are focused on remaining in Division Two, that’s the top target now for the league.

“We played Meath last year and only lost by a point and they were in the All-Ireland final so we will hopefully build on that.”

In terms of championship camogie, Cavan have been “there or thereabouts” in recent seasons. Two goals from Rose Crowe-McKeever wasn’t enough to stop Armagh – with 0-13 from Ciara Donnelly – from landing the 2020 All-Ireland title.

Cavan reached the semi-final and lost to eventual champions Clare in last year’s All-Ireland Junior race.

“We will be pushing for the championship and hopefully get to Croke Park,” said Fitzsimons of their hopes for later in the season.

There are positive vibes in Cavan camogie. Fitzsimons had a sister on a recent All-Ireland minor winning team at Grade C. Their u-16 team is now operating at B level and there has been a trend of competing in finals.

“To be fair to camogie in Cavan, we have good structures,” Fitzsimons adds in summary. Cavan are there or thereabouts.

“We have minors who won the All-Ireland coming on to our team and being big players for us.

“We have a few girls who are up in Dublin at the minute and were at the Ashbourne weekend. That experience has been great for us. The standard of camogie in Cavan is very good because we are exposed to the highest level when the girls are playing in college camogie.”

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