By Shaun Casey
HURT can often be a major driving force inside a changing room and Cavan manager Ollie Bellew makes no bones about it. Losing to Warwickshire in the opening round of the Lory Meagher Cup hurt his Breffni Blues, and that drove them to overcome rivals Monaghan last weekend.
They face another difficult task this weekend against Lancashire, the only team to beat them in the league. “It’s Lancashire here (Kingspan Breffni) next,” said Bellew, after his side beat Monaghan as a curtain-raiser to the Cavan footballers’ clash with Armagh.
“Hopefully the people that got in early today will appreciate the hurlers and the efforts they make and the way they play and hopefully the Cavan people will start to get behind them a wee bit.
“They’re great supporters but if we can get them behind our hurlers as well, it would be smashing for us. Lancashire was our slip up in the league, we slipped up once in the league and now we’ve slipped up once in the championship so hopefully we’ll have learned enough from those games, and we’ll get that back.
“We put the league to bed, but we’re forewarned, once a team like that beats you, you’re not going to take anything for granted, you’re going to be all guns blazing. They’re starting to push themselves into serious contention for this championship so that’s going to be a ding-dong game.”
Monaghan played in a higher grade throughout the league, so were the favourites when the sides met in round two, but that hurt from the Warwickshire defeat saw Cavan enter the game as wounded animals.
“That’s a massive win for us,” added Bellew. “We were very hurt last week after the poor performance in Warwickshire, it was just a freak game that we didn’t do ourselves justice in so you can imagine the hurt there was in that changing room all week long.
“We knew we could do it today. We were well planned, well organised, Tóm (Mannion) had the tactics down to a tee, so they all came off and it was just exactly what we needed, it was the tonic that we needed and there was a lot of hurt put back in its box today thankfully.
“You have to take something from every game whether it’s a win, lose our draw. We hurt after that Warwickshire game last week. You always learn from it, and you always keep it in the locker so when it comes down to games like today, you don’t throw them away.
“In saying that, we very nearly threw that one away today but thankfully we stuck at it and got over the line eventually.”
Goals win games and three-pointers from Diarmuid Carney and Sean Keating were the key scores. “They’ve been coming, every game this year we’ve been waiting for them to light up.
“I don’t think we had a particularly brilliant day today, but we did a lot better than last weekend and things started to happen that we needed to happen.”