'We are backing ourselves to win' – Galligan
Kevin Óg Carney
It’s a rare thing when Cavan and Limerick camogie matters are mentioned in the same sentence.
The Treaty County is immersed in the small ball tradition and is namechecked right now as the team most likely to win the 2021 Liam McCarthy Cup.
And while the county’s camogie profile doesn’t carry the same lustre as the corresponding mens’ game, Limerick’s second string camogs are expected by every pundit in the country bar none to notch an All-Ireland Premier Junior Championship opening round win on home ground this Sunday over an albeit ever-improving Cavan crew.
“They have a huge tradition in camogie and they’ve been competing at a higher level than us and have been training together and honing their skills all the time with their ‘A’ team so we know what we’re up against,”Cavan’s experienced defender Erinn Galligan admits.
“We’re going down to Limerick expecting a big battle but also expecting to win. We are backing ourselves all the way. We have the self-belief and the determination to get off to the best possible start in the league.”
The well-decorated Crosserlough club stalwart says everyone in the Cavan camp is excited by the prospect of mixing it with the crème de la crème this season in the premier junior league.
Galligan, who doubles up as a key footballer with Lacken Celtic, believes that Cavan’s ongoing immersion in camogie’s faster lanes will present tougher and tougher tests as time moves on but she reckons upcoming fixtures won’t come much more difficult than this weekend’s clash on the road.
“You’re always going to be up against it when facing up to the traditional powers of the game and it is another big step up for us and you know that Limerick will bring all their hurling-esque skills to the table, especially on home ground.
“But we can’t wait to get our championship campaign up and running and try and build on last year’s Nancy Murray Cup win and our Division Four league final win over Roscommon this year.
“We fell short in the Ulster championship in losing out to Armagh a couple of months ago and those wounds are still pretty raw but we took a bit of a break after that defeat and we’ve been working at improving on some of the weaker aspects of our game and hopefully that work will stand to us this weekend.”
Galligan believes that Cavan’s “great spirit and enthusiasm and self-motivation” will go a long way towards hoisting the team onto even greater plateaus but she agrees that the blues will have to come flying out of the traps for their Group 3 clash.
“No disrespect to the other teams (Antrim and Down) in our group but this weekend’s game looks certain to be our toughest game in the group. It’s away from home and against probably the best team on paper in the group.
“It’ll be very important that we start the game well and get right up to speed in the first 15 minutes. We are going into unknown territory but we have to have the confidence to bring our ‘A’ game to them. A good start could be vital.
“It will probably be hell for leather in the early part of the game. Hopefully we’ll still be going hell for leather in the final minutes of the game!”
Cavan will go into this Sunday’s game without long-term injured pair Roisín O’Keeffe and promising newcomer Katie Fitzpatrick (Kill) and while 2020 saw the blues find their feet on their return to the senior fold, those at the coalface of camogie affairs in Cavan reckon this year could be the making of the squad.
With just three fixtures to be played in the group, victory in Limerick would afford the Jimmy Greville-managed crew the chance to achieve the sort of national standing no Cavan camogie squad has ever achieved down the years.