Review of the season: Cavan

1 Mickey says farewell and Raymond steps in

MICKEY Graham did a commendable job at the Breffni County and decided to step down in the wake of their Tailteann Cup quarter-final defeat to Down after five years at the helm, a long enough stint by the standards of the modern-day intercounty scene. The highlight of his tenure was obvious – that memorable Ulster final victory over Donegal on a dark night in November 2020 and his final season in charge wasn’t too bad, claiming the Division Three title and having some decent outings in the championship. Stepping into the breach is the man who captained them to league success, Raymond Galligan, who is swapping the boots for the bainisteoir bib and we wish him all the best. He does have talent to work with and he has an impressive backroom team but the reality is they have struggled to build upon the success of 2020 so it’s a tough enough challenge.

2 Déjà vu in the Cavan Senior Championship

GOWNA were slow to come to the boil when they won their first senior championship in a generation in 2022 but once they got going there was no stopping them. It was a similar story this time around as they set aside their mixed league form (no surprise when you consider they were missing their county contingent for so long) and got better and better as the championship wore on, culminating in resounding victories over Crosserlough and Kingscourt in the semi-final and final respectively. They were hit by a late goal in their provincial outing against Naomh Conaill but there’s no doubting their supremacy in the Breffni County at this present time. Three in-a-row? We certainly wouldn’t bet against it.

3 Arva swat aside all before them

CAVAN Junior team Arva will see no reason why they can’t go all to the way in the All-Ireland race. Finbar O’Reilly’s side were in red hot form throughout their run to the Cavan Junior Championship, they were arguably even better in Ulster, and they came through their recent Twinning Final against Wandsworth Gaels – effectively an All-Ireland quarter-final clash. It would be remiss not to mention the fortunes of their Intermediate counterparts Ballyhaise, who came up trumps in the championship having lost the last two finals. They also did very well in Ulster but fell to a narrow defeat to a formidable Cullyhanna side in the final. There was a wee bit of debate about the fact that both teams played Division One football but at the end of the day it’s not their problem as that’s just the way they do things in the Breffni County and that’s entirely their prerogative.

4 A difficult season for the Cavan ladies

UNFORTUNATELY 2023 will be remembered for Cavan ladies’ troubles off the pitch rather than their exploits off it. The Breffni girls refused to field in their Division Two match against Tyrone over an expenses row, claiming among other grievances that 20 players commuting from Dublin are owed travel expenses from the county board. They returned to the field of play in the Ulster Senior Championship but fell to defeats to Donegal and Armagh, and they didn’t fare any better in the All-Ireland series – they finished bottom of their group and succumbed to play-off defeats to Laois and Waterford, meaning that they’ve been demoted to the All-Ireland Intermediate Championship for 2024.

5 Perfect ten for Crosserlough camogs

CROSSERLOUGH have a fantastic camogie team and they claimed their tenth ever Cavan Senior Championship with a hard-fought victory over Laragh United as well as winning the league title. They won the Cavan Junior title to boot. Their flagship team always give Ulster a good rattle and they qualified for this year’s final, losing out to a strong Granemore side. On the ladies front, Drumlane made history by winning their first ever Senior Championship while Ballyhaise were successful on both the men and women’s fronts, winning the Intermediate title.

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