By Shaun Casey
THE Cavan Senior Championship is edging towards the business end of the season. The group stages have come and gone, the last eight are now known, and “it’s a totally different competition now,” according to Killygarry boss Jody Devine.
Devine’s side qualified for the quarter-finals with an unbeaten run of four games, winning three and drawing one, but he believes that counts for nothing now. “It’s been good so far but that’s all history really because we’re into knockout football now.
“Qualification went well enough but we’re into a tough quarter-final, all we wanted to do at the start of the championship was to qualify for the knockout stages and we’ve done that. It’s knockout football so it’s all to play for.
“The form for the knockout stages just goes totally out the window when it comes to quarter finals because it’s a one-off game, you have to produce it and maybe someday you mightn’t produce it and you’ll be out.
“It’s all a different ball game. It’s a totally different competition now because the first round or the second round you know your still in with a chance the next day but when they quarter-final comes there’s no second chances.”
It’s a step further than last year when Killygarry failed to reach the knockout stages of the competition. “We lost the first three games last year by a point and we won the last game so if we had of got a draw in two of those games and won the last one, maybe four points would have qualified us.
“We weren’t that far away but we hadn’t got Martin Reilly last year which was a huge loss to us because he’s such an experienced footballer and brings that sense of calmness around the team and he’s an old head, so he was a big loss.
“This year we have a couple of younger players up from minor level that have helped out the panel and they’re the things that help out throughout the year.”
One of the teams that edged past them last season was Kingscourt, the team they’ll face in the quarter-finals. Devine is under no illusions of the challenge in front of his side but knows there’s little between the teams.
“We’ve had close games with them as well throughout the league this year. They mightn’t have had the best campaign during the qualifying stages, but they got the victory on Sunday that they required and they’re in the knockout stages and they might have a bit of momentum.
“They’ve always been a very good side and they qualify for the knockout stage of the Cavan Senior Championship. They were in the final a couple of years ago (2020) against Crosserlough and were unlucky not to win it the first day.”