By Niall Gartland
KINGSCOURT Stars diced with danger in last year’s Cavan Senior Championship group stages but it’s a different story this time around with qualification to the quarter-finals virtually guaranteed after two rounds of fixtures.
Owen Lennon’s side had only one point to their name after two matches last year and they ended up squeezing into the last eight with a victory in the final round of group stage matches against eventual champions Gowna.
The former Monaghan skipper realised that his side had considerable room for improvement, particularly on the fitness front, and their hard work on the training pitch seems to be paying off.
They had a productive league, reaching the Division One final where they lost out to championship favourites Crosserlough a few weeks back, and have a perfect group stage record after two matches, claiming victories over Cavan Gaels and Ballinagh.
Commenting on their progress, Lennon, who is in his second year at the helm said: “Last year was a bit of a wake up call for all involved.
“Our fitness levels weren’t what we’d have liked. Some of our players came back a wee bit late and we ended up playing catch up.
“We came back a bit earlier this year, our boys are in better shape and thankfully we’ve had better results so far.”
Kingscourt can boast excellent players like Padraig Faulkner, Joe Dillon, Barry Reilly and others, but they could have no complaints about their recent league final defeat to Crosserlough. Some counties delay league finals until their respective championships are run off, but Lennon was more than happy to get it out of the way.
“I totally agree with playing the league final after the league. In other counties, including my own, they wait and it’s absolutely ridiculous.
“If one of the teams had a good championship and the other didn’t, there’ll be a big difference in the standard they’d have been playing at before the league final.
“The league final should be based on league form and we were very happy to get those extra matches. Crosserlough gave us a wee bit of a lesson and showed us the levels we need to reach. That’s going to take a lot of work but overall we’re happy with how the league went.”
Kingscourt take on Lacken in their penultimate group stage clash this weekend. Qualification is virtually guaranteed but Lennon says it’s important they don’t rest on their laurels.
“We’d be targeting at least another point just to be sure of qualification. You never know, last year we got through with three points but there have been years where some teams haven’t got through with four. We’re looking for performances first of all and if we do that hopefully the results will follow over the next couple of matches.”