WHEN Cavan decided to field a camogie team for the first time in nearly a decade, captain Erinn Galligan didn’t expect that they’d be competing for an All-Ireland final that very same year.
Their main target at the outset was the Nancy Murray Cup – effectively a secondary competition that feeds into the Junior Championship – and they’ve already secured that one with a convincing victory over Tyrone a few weeks ago.
They proceeded to cruise past Roscommon in the semi-finals of the championship by 2-16 to 2-6, and will quietly fancy themselves in Saturday’s decider against Armagh, so the question is this: why did their camogie team fall by the wayside in the first place?
Team captain Galligan takes up the tale: “We had a county team about seven or eight years ago, but it seemed like a lot of good players in the county who couldn’t commit at the time for one reason or another – either because they were playing football or away travelling and so on.
“The whole thing fell apart and it shouldn’t have because the quality of player was there.
Then what happened was, the clubs were doing so well in Ulster that we thought it’s a sin that Cavan aren’t competing on the inter-county scene.
“The county board realised that and they got management and facilities sorted so we could put out a team. It’s funny how it all came together in this of all years.”
Galligan is in the unusual situation of playing her club camogie with Crosserlough and her club football with Lacken.
This year’s senior club football final was a bittersweet affair as Lacken defeated Crosserlough in the final, but it’s just the way the 33-year-old’s career has panned out.
“Camogie was my first sport, my mother helped train the local primary school, but then I started playing football with the local boys’ team when I was eight or nine.
“I fell in love with football and it took up all of my time as a teenager, but when I went away to Aberdeen to study Pharmacy, I started playing camogie again with Crosserlough. I was 22 or 23 before I was back playing it properly really.
“Everyone around here is used to the situation so they accept it. When I’m playing football with Lacken, I’m Crosserlough ladies’ biggest supporter. They’re all my best friends and obviously I play camogie with them.”
A pharmacist by profession, Galligan has barely had time to blink this year. Covid has changed the way they work – and obviously she’s an essential worker – but she says she’s adapted to the situaiton by now.
“I haven’t stopped, I’ve a million holidays I have to take. When Covid started off it was crazy because people were at panic stations thinking they were going be locked up and wouldn’t be able to get their medication,.
“I think everybody’s accepted that this is going to be going on, our legislation has changed to give us a bit more leeway so it takes a bit of the pressure off GPs.
“If you were to go back the other way you’d nearly be confused so it’s just been a matter of adapting.”
By Niall Gartland