1 Falling at the final hurdle
ON the whole, it was a good year for the Cavan footballers. Mickey Graham’s side ensured their stint in Division Four was a short-lived one, and they added the league title with a one-point victory over Tipperary. Still though, the 2020 Ulster Champions will be a bit disappointed about how it all panned out during the championship season. They produced a strong effort against Donegal in the provincial semi-final, spearheaded by the impressive Paddy Lynch up front, but they eventually fell short. They had high hopes for their Tailteann Cup campaign, and made it all the way to the final where they lost out to Westmeath. It put a bit of a dampner on their season and their manager Mickey Graham said he was considering his future after the game. Eventually though, he made the call to return in 2023.
2 Back at the top table
The last two decades hadn’t been plain-sailing for a Gowna team that had slipped down the pecking order in Cavan, but a talented crop of young players have been making their mark and they went one better than last year by winning the senior championship title with a thoroughly deserved win over Killygarry. They have a few old-timers as well who will be glad they hung on, including Mark McKeever, who’s the very definition of a club legend. They gave a decent account of themselves in the Ulster Club Championship, losing on penalties to Enniskillen Gaels.
3 The U-20s show promise
THE Cavan U-20s gave it some rattle in this season’s Ulster Championship. Managed by Damian Donohoe, hopes were fairly muted heading into the campaign (which is understandable when you consider Cavan’s miserly record at underage level in recent years), but they exceeded expectations with a fantastic run to the final. They produced a great performance against Tyrone, but fell short by a single point. They had some reason to feel aggrieved as the referee gave the Red Hands a number of soft-looking frees in the closing stages, but when all is said and done, it bodes well from a Cavan perspective that there’s players of the calibre of forward Darragh Lovett coming through the ranks.
4 Drumlane are pipped at the posts
MARTIN Dunne’s Drumlane side were a real success story this year – they bagged the Cavan Junior Football Championship title and they didn’t stop there, navigating a tricky path to the Ulster Junior showdown against Tyrone representatives Stewartstown. Spearheaded by captain Ryan Connolly, they produced a stirring display in an incredible game of football that ebbed this way and that. The match was eventually settled on penalties in Stewartstown’s favour, but Drumlane can be so proud of their efforts this year. They were afforded a guard of honour as they walked off the pitch at Clones by hundreds of supporters and it wasn’t hard to understand why – it was a gallant performance and neither team deserved to lose.
5 Success on the camogie front
THERE was good news stories across the board on the camogie front. The senior intercounty team claimed a super victory over Wexford in the Division Three final to earn promotion to Division Two for the first time. One of their star performers, Shanise Fitzsimsons, was also nominated for a soaring stars award. On the club scene, Lacken avenged their 2020 Ulster final defeat to Tyrone side Naomh Treasa before going all the way to claim the All-Ireland Junior B title just a fortnight ago.