By Kieran Lynch
CAVAN are hoping to build upon their Division 3B success, and carry that winning momentum into their Lory Meagher campaign, which begins this weekend.
The Breffni men defeated Leitrim 0-17 to 0-16 in the league final, and manager Ollie Bellew said that it was a ‘privilege’ to be part of such a momentous day for the county.
“It was brilliant; it’s only Cavan’s second national title in history, and their first in 40 years,” he said.
“It’s brilliant in many aspects: for the younger ones coming through, hopefully it will inspire them to help push Cavan hurling on, and for the older hands, who soldiered away there for so many years, in the face of such adversity, having had some very hard seasons, they never stopped being proud to play for their county.
“To see what it meant to so many people, it was just a privilege to be a part of it.”
That win has put a spring in Cavan’s step, and the hunger they displayed at training the following week, makes Bellew believe his squad are ready for the championship.
“We’re in a really good place,” he said.
“We were back in the gym on the Monday, and back on the pitch on Tuesday night. We were waiting for the ‘hangover’ of all the celebrations almost, but instead we had a pretty fierce training session.
“You had the guys who were disappointed that they didn’t start, and you have the guys who realise that we can do something special here, so they’re pushing hard to keep their place.
“That Tuesday night was as enthusiastic and as intense a training session as we have had all year. I’m glad that all the lads have their feet firmly on the ground and are ready to get back to work again.”
Cavan will compete against fellow Division 3B sides Lancashire, Leitrim, Longford and Warwickshire, as well as favourites, Monaghan, and Bellew believes that they will have a target on their backs after their league success.
“As lovely as it was to win the league, the GAA is all about the championship, that’s where every team gears their attention towards,” said the Cavan boss.
“We’re going to be seeing a few of the teams we played in the league again, and if they possibly took us a little lightly before, they won’t now.
“Plus, you also have Monaghan in the mix, who held their own in Division 3A, they’re the benchmark for where we would like to get to.”
They begin their campaign on Sunday in Birmingham to face Warwickshire. They’re flying out on Saturday evening, but Bellew says due to the work going on behind the scenes, it should be as ‘seamless’ as any other away day.
“Thankfully we have a top class secretary for Cavan hurling, Angela Hamilton, who looks after everything for us,” he said.
“Logistically, it won’t be that much different to an ordinary away weekend. We want to keep it as seamless as possible.
“I’m an Antrim man, and we’ve had the likes of Kerry flying up to play us, and other teams from Munster, so it’s not that unusual.”