By Niall Gartland
COOTEHILL have copper fastened their position as the foremost team in Cavan club hurling by retaining their senior championship crown with a convincing win over Mullahoran last weekend.
Their has been a perceptible shift at the top end of Cavan hurling in recent seasons as Mullahoran’s form has dipped after winning all around them for five years straight between 2016 and 2020.
Cootehill have hurled their way into the ascendancy, however, and a rich vein of underage success suggests that the good times aren’t over yet.
Hard work and some lateral thinking has been the story of their stratospheric rise – they entered the Monaghan leagues at underage level in 2015 which turned out to be a prudent move, and last year they lost the u-17 Division One final in Armagh to an amalgamation team. Their u-11 team also won the championship on Monday night with a win over another combination team, East Cavan Gaels.
It’s not surprising that they’re now sweeping up at senior level, and their manager Brian Brady, a native of Naomh Moninne in Louth, acknowledges that Cootehill are now the dominant force in the Breffni County, while acknowledging they could have performed even better in their 1-16 to 0-9 win over Mullahoran.”
“Cootehill have moved ahead of everybody by a good bit. East Cavan Gaels could be the main threat going forwards as Mullahoran don’t have much coming through and they’re kind of an ageing team,” he said.
“At the same time they put it up to us on Saturday, they lost a player to a red card and a free-taker which was a major turning point in the game.”
“We expected to win the game to tell you the truth, I wanted to score a bit more than 1-16 as well which didn’t happen. Mullahoran did well on the match-ups and held our scoring forwards well, which was probably the reason it was a tight game.”
Brady, who also helped manage Monaghan side Inniskeen this year, said he was put in a tricky position earlier in the year as Cootehill were pitted against Inniskeen in the Cuchulainn’s league.
“I got a text from Ulster GAA suggesting I referee the game. I said yes to it initially as I’ve got experienced of referreeing, but I got Fr Derek Ryan from Dundalk to referee the game. I said I ‘better not do this’, but I knew they were stuck as it was the day before the game and I didn’t want it to be called off so I thought I’d say yes then get Fr Derek.
“It was a really good game. Inniskeen beat Cootehill, but Cootehill in the middle of the football season are a different animal than they are now. I don’t really get a full commitment until the football is finished which is understandable as they’re pulled between two pillars. Most are dual players but it’s changing a bit now.”