By Niall Gartland
RAMOR ‘keeper Liam Brady has explained what they did differently this year to claim their fifth ever Cavan Senior Championship title with a replay victory over Gowna on Sunday afternoon.
In as many words, they had a good hard look at themselves after the disappointment of a one-sided defeat to Cavan Gaels in last year’s championship, and they decided no matter what, they would give everything for the cause this season.
Their hard work paid off as they curtailed a young and talented Gowna team on a final scoreline of 1-15 to 0-14, and it’s fair to say they’re finally fulfilling their potential after hitherto failing to build on their senior triumph back in 2016.
Speaking on Monday, Brady said: “It’s just pure relief. We were expected to do big things after 2016, but it just didn’t happen for us. Possibly we took it for granted as we’d won so much at underage, but after losing the 2019 final, it means so much for us to get back to the top. It won’t sink in for another day or two.”
Asked what made the difference this year, he continued: “Last year was a major wake-up call. We got hammered in the quarter-final against Cavan Gaels and we had to look at ourselves collectively, both players and management.
“We weren’t up for it for whatever reason, maybe it was the effect of the lockdown. We fell flat on our faces and we were able to use that hurt. We just said ‘no more’, and if we’re going to be beaten it won’t be for a lack of effort.
“ We just had an attitude of ‘go for it’. I’m delighted for Ray [Raymond Cole, Ramor joint-manager) as well. He’s such a true Ramor man and does so much for the club.”
Brady has had an excellent campaign, but he’s the first to admit that it helps being backed by a rock-solid defensive rearguard. Jack Brady has been a revelation at centre-half back, while Mattie Magee and Brian O’Donnell did a job on the Gowna dangermen.
Brady said: “I just have so much faith in them. Sometimes you’re playing on teams when you mightn’t be as sure about some players, and you need to bring a sweeper back.
“We’ve done that at certain times, but we can also go man-for-man and we back each other. Gowna have some excellent forwards like Oisin Pierson and Conor Madden, but we felt Mattie Magee and Brian O’Connell had the beating of them, and we just went for it. We didn’t need to drop a man back, and the lads stood up to the challenge in both games.”
The Virgina-based side were lucky to survive the drawn encounter as Gowna spurned a few late chances to claim their first championship title in two decades. Brady says it wasn’t all-bad, however, and that they knew they could get things right on the second day out. So it proved.
“We were disappointed we didn’t win the drawn game. We thought we played the better football.
“We got two black cards which made it difficult, and we got out of jail in the last five minutes.
“We were delighted to get another crack at it because we didn’t feel we did ourselves justice in the first game.
“We didn’t feel we went for it enough. But we did that in the replay and it paid off.”