Breffni County hoping for stable league campaign

By Niall Gartland

ONE thing’s for sure, when it comes to Cavan football and the National Football League, at least in recent times, it’s rarely ever boring.

You have to go all the way back to 2015 for the last time they’ve avoided either being relegated or promoted, a remarkable statistic and you’d wager that they’d be happy enough to finish in a comfy mid-table spot in the first year of the Raymond Galligan era.

It’s been a veritable rollercoaster since 2015 – they’ve been up, they’ve been down (all the way down to Division Four) and last year they achieved promotion back to the heady heights of Division Two, winning the league title on their way.

They have a tough path ahead of them commencing with a trip to Netwatch Cullen Park in Carlow, Newbridge still being out of commission, to take on Kildare this Saturday.

It could be a bumpy enough ride as Galligan is in the early throes of piecing together a new-ish looking Cavan team with a number of stalwarts like Conor Moynagh and Gearóid McKiernan not part of his plans this year. Then there’s the man himself – he was Cavan’s automatic choice as goalkeeper for years, and time will tell whether Gary O’Rourke or Liam Brady will follow in his footsteps by cementing down a place between the sticks.

Defensively they looked wobbly at times during the McKenna Cup, losing both their matches to Derry and Down respectively but they showed a bit of promise in the forward line. They could be absent a few key men this weekend; Ciarán Brady was in sensational form in Arva’s run to All-Ireland glory and he might want a bit of a break, while another stalwart, Dara McVeety, is nursing an injury at present.

James Galligan and Brian O’Connell played well during the pre-season and may have played themselves into a starting spot, and as a team they have the potential to get their league campaign off to a winning start.

The Lilywhites are certainly decent and they actually have a very good record against Cavan in recent years, but they’re not world-beaters either. They played Division One football as recently as two years ago but were relegated, and last year they finished fifth in Division Two. They’re probably a bit more settled than Cavan at this stage, however, so Galligan’s side will be doing very well indeed to come back up the road on Saturday night with two points in the bag.

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