CAVAN have claimed a victory against their All-Ireland semi-final opponents Armagh already this season, but their joint-captain Aideen Coyle knows a lot of water has passed under the bridge in the meantime.
It was February 26 in the first round of Division Three fixtures and Cavan pipped their Ulster rivals by a point away from home in Middletown. Five months later, both sides find themselves 60-plus minutes away from a place in the All-Ireland Junior final, and it’s really a toss of a coin between them given their respective formlines in the championship to date.
Coyle said: “We’ve stumbled against Armagh a few times in the last few years. They beat us two years ago in the All-Ireland final and last year they beat us in the Ulster semi-final after extra-time, a game we arguably should have won.
“We got the better of them at the start of the league but a lot of games have been played since and both teams are different. We know they’ll be very difficult opponents – they were in last year’s All-Ireland final and came through the group stages unbeaten so we’ve a lot of respect for them.”
The Breffni camogs have had a remarkable season, claiming an unexpected victory over Wexford in the Division Three final.
That they’ll play in Division Two next season is nothing short of a triumph given they didn’t even field a team for most of the last decade, but they’re also determined to go all the way in the All-Ireland Junior Championship.
Coyle makes no bones about their ambitions.
“The goal is to keep going up the ranks. We won the Nancy Murray and Division Four title last year and we’ve built upon that this season. It’s given the younger girls something to aspire to as they know Cavan camogie can be successful.
“I’ve said for years that Cavan camogs are capable of competing with the best teams so we’re looking forward to playing in Division Two and it would be great to get up to the Intermediate ranks as well.”
The Breffni County qualified for a semi-finals with a game to spare and while a narrow defeat to Clare in a dead-rubber contest had no repercussions as such, Coyle says they were still disappointed to slip up.
“We’ve had plenty of time to work on our preparations for the semi-final and that’s been the beauty of this year’s championship. We were disappointed to lose to Clare but in fairness we probably had it in the back of our minds that we’d already qualified for the semis.”