Cavan ‘keeper O’Rourke hails influence of Galligan

By Michael McMullan

CAVAN goalkeeper Gary O’Rourke hopes Sunday’s win over Monaghan will be a help to himself or whoever dons the Cavan number one jersey in the future.

Last year it was Raymond Galligan as the last line of defence but O’Rourke has made the position on his own since starting against Donegal back in February.

The Ballyhaise man, who played for UCD in the Sigerson Cup, admits taking over Galligan is an interesting dynamic and something he is often asked about.

“We had a strong enough relationship built up from being behind Ray for a couple of years and training away with him,” O’Rourke told Gaelic Life after being congratulated by family and friends on the Clones sod after Sunday’s championship debut.

“The communication networks are there and it’s a good thing for me and for the younger lads coming in as well.

“Ray is really open. He’ll talk to us constantly, he’ll give us wee nuggets from what he has seen and the experience he has.

“It probably is nice at times that you have that experience to lean on but it’s big shoes to fill and it’s days like this that hopefully will help myself or whoever else does it in years to come.”

It was a testing afternoon for O’Rourke who had to bounce back from having an early kick-out pulled over the sideline with the stormy conditions he faced.

Punching away a dangerous dropping ball would’ve helped settle any nerves. He made a point-black save from Kevin Loughran and got a leg to Jack McCarron’s attempt from the rebound.

Luck deserted him in the second half when he denied Conor McCarthy with another save only for Michael Hamill to score from the rebound to tie the game, 1-10 each.

“Every goalkeeper across the country this weekend knows all about it (Storm Kathleen) but it’s the same for everyone on the field,” O’Rourke said of dealing with the wind.

“You just have to adapt and get used to it. It’s the same for me in the first half and Rory (Beggan) there in the second half.

“It’s up to the lads a lot of the time to make our life easy and to be fair our lads did it in the first half, really helped me out making moves.

“The Monaghan boys did the same in the second half for Rory. I think both teams would be relatively happy with kick-out-wise if nothing else.”

Next up for Cavan is a semi-final on Sunday week against Tyrone and it’s all about getting back to basics to plot an Ulster final path.

They can do so on the back of a positive result as the Red Hands visit Kingspan Breffni. The Cavan camp have been used to looking forward. After their hammering at the hands of Armagh in Division Two, their resolve would’ve been tested.

“It absolutely hurt,” O’Rourke stated. “Anytime you take a defeat like that you’re going to hurt but you don’t have that long to hurt.

“Especially the way this condensed season is going. It’s next game up, it really was.

“We did a bit of analysis and parked it and it was heads down for Fermanagh. Even after Fermanagh’s result it was the same thing. You took your learnings from it and you had to look forward straight away. There wasn’t much time to lick wounds now. It’s just next game up and same with the next man up. If someone takes a knock it’s just the next man in.

“That’s the great thing with our squad. It is a real squad game and we’ve seen that throughout the league. Lads have got loads of game time and it’s showing on days like this when lads can come in and make that impact off the bench as well.”

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