By Shaun Casey
OLLIE Bellew couldn’t have imagined a more difficult start to Cavan’s league campaign. An away day clash with Longford, who contested last years Lory Meagher Cup final, followed by Warwickshire who are just down from Division 3A.
But the Breffni Blues battled against the odds on the opening day to come away with a two-point win and they’ll hope to carry that momentum into this weekend, although Bellew doesn’t believe home advantage will be worth much to his team.
“It couldn’t have been a harder start for us, it’s a nightmare start for us,” said Bellew, back in the hot-seat after a year out. “Now we have Warwickshire, another really hard one. When they’re travelling over together, that’s a bonding experience and they come as a tight unit.
“Every game is a hard one for us, we are coming from a low ebb. We didn’t win any games last year so we’re coming from the basement so every game we get is going to be tough.
“But we’ll take great heart from the fact we didn’t perform last week in Longford, we massively underperformed, and we all know we have to find another two gears. If we can get up another gear this weekend, we’ll be in the hunt hopefully.
“Kingspan Breffni, with the bad winter the pitch hasn’t been overly available to us, we haven’t got much work on it. But we’re in our own settings and our own surroundings and our own pitch, so there is a wee bit more comfort. But in reality, both teams are going in there on Saturday and it’s just another arena you have to perform in.”
Cavan, who failed to win a single game in 2022, left it late to see off Longford. Bellew’s side rattled off the final four points of the game to earn a two-point win.
“They’re nearly nicer when they come late and you’ve to show a lot of character to get them which is what we’re building on. It’s a great start, it’s absolutely perfect for us. It repays all the hard work of the winter, and it gives us a wee bit of confidence going forward.
“There’s a nice wee mood in the camp now but a couple of upsets from losing Mark Moffett, one of our forwards, to a broken hand in the later stages of the game which is a big loss to us.
“But to finish game out and to win it even after losing him, it’s a positive reflection of how things are going. Whatever happened last year has set us back a wee bit, but we came back in early this year and got cracking.
“We got a good set up and a good vibe about the camp and they worked very hard. Tom (Mannion) would head up the tactics and the players trust everything he says so when they go out and they put it into action and get a result, it’s gives them confidence in us and we have confidence in them.”