Heady heights for the Cavan hurlers

By Niall Gartland

THE Cavan hurlers continue to make progress at a rapid pace and now stand on the brink of a place in the Division 3A final.

It wasn’t that long ago that they didn’t even field a team at inter-county level – they went six years without one before rejoining the Lory Meagher in 2017 and the National Hurling League the following season– but they’ve shown no sign of harbouring any sort of inferiority complex. They’ve been an absolute credit and having achieved promotion from the bottom-tier Division 3B last year, a significant achievement in itself, now face into a Division 3A semi-final against Sligo for the right to take on Mayo in the final.

It’s a re-run of their opening round league encounter against the Yeatsman back in February, a game they lost by 4-19 to 3-18. They weren’t far away but manager Ollie Bellew (pictured right) sees that particular game for what it was – a learning experience.

He said: “We were asleep for 20 minutes that day and paid the price. It was a real baptism of fire for us where we learned about the step up in intensity from Division 3B hurling.

“Sligo are massive favourites to beat us again but it’s been a fool that has backed against us all year and we’ll do our homework tactically and if we produce the performance to back that up, we could definitely get something out of the game as we’ll certainly not be lacking in fitness or conditioning. I think we’re exactly where we deserve to be with the amount of work that’s been put in, and the talent that’s in the team, and I think we’re getting our just rewards if I’m totally honest with you.”

Cavan made sure of their place in the semi-finals with a victory over Monaghan at the weekend, and their impressive form has always ensured that they’ll play in the newly restructured Division Three in 2025, an exciting prospect for Bellew.

Commenting on the new league structures, he said: “I can only look at it from our own point of view and not comment for anyone else, but for us to be promoted two years running is exciting times for us.

“We’re aware of our place in the pecking order, we’re slightly behind Mayo and Sligo and we’ll be also facing teams coming in from Division 2B. It’ll be a big challenge but if this year has taught us anything it’s never to underestimate this group of players and what they’re capable of achieving.”

He continued: “In the four years I’ve been in charge, I don’t remember losing many games, but when we do lose, we do the exact same thing as when we win – we go away and analyse what we can do better and what can be improved on. Win, lose or draw, it’s about improving every day we go our and they’re a brilliant bunch to work with.”

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