Galligan content with Cavan’s honesty in season opener

By Michael McMullan

NEW Cavan manager Raymond Galligan was happy with the honesty of his players in their first outing of the season.

The Breffni blues were on the wrong end of a 0-15 to 1-10 scoreline against McKenna Cup champions Derry on Wednesday night.

Last season’s captain stepped straight into position vacated by Mickey Graham and said it was “enjoyable” to get stuck into his new role.

Despite defeat, there were positives and getting new players cutting their teeth at senior level was important.

“I had my mind made up last year that I was going to retire,” Galligan said when asked if standing on the sideline was a strange emotion after years of service on the field with county.

“Over the last few weeks, being involved with the team and the panel, it has been very enjoyable and exciting.

“It was nice to have the opportunity to finally get a competitive game. I’m disappointed with the result but I think there are lots of learnings from today for ourselves and the players.”

Like many managers in the pre-season cup competitions, Galligan was hoping to “unearth” some new players after casting the net in recent weeks.

Cormac McGeogh, Liam Fay, Mark Magee, Jack Tully, Emmanuel Shehu and Peter Smith represented Cavan at senior level for the first time.

“For them to step into the heat of battle in the last few minutes when it was a one or two-point game and know they have the work done over the (last) few weeks,” Galligan said of the pleasing aspects of the first game.

“They were able to keep that momentum going; it was comforting to know their buy-in has been rewarded by getting the opportunity.”

Cavan trailed 0-7 to 0-4 at the break and will rue passing up some goal chances.

Gerard Smith hit the net to put the home side 1-6 to 0-8 ahead early in the second half before Derry wrestled control back again.

“Derry are a very seasoned team, albeit they missing a number of players due to the different commitments but I suppose Derry club football is so healthy that anybody who plays for Derry is a great footballer,” Galligan said of the learning curve.

“We were definitely tested by a really good team there. What we learned today is that we can’t give the ball away cheaply, possession is key.

“Derry were very economical with their use of the ball and missed very few opportunities.

“That was the takeaway…that we need to be a bit more careful in possession and our transition from defence into attack but the honest of effort from our lads was quite reassuring.”

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