Captain Galligan the latest Cavan player to join the century club

GAA News

The win over Armagh marked a special occasion for Cavan goalkeeper Raymond Galligan.

The Lacken clubman and county team captain celebrated his 100th senior appearance for the county in the victory over the Orchard.

Galligan may not have the most appearances but he did make his debut before any other player on the current Cavan panel, lining out up front for Cavan in the Tommy Murphy Cup against Antrim in 2006.

Having also lined out against Tyrone on Saturday, Raymond has now made 101 appearances for the county, 88 in goals and 13 as a forward. He has played 54 times in the National League, 31 times in the championship (including the Tommy Murphy and Tailteann Cups) and 16 times in the Dr McKenna Cup.

He made his league debut against Meath in 2008, his McKenna Cup bow came against Derry four years later and his championship debut was versus Monaghan in 2015.

To date, he has scored 1-104 (51 frees, 30 45s). He has captained the team since 2019, won Ulster All-Stars in 2016 and 2020 and a PwC All-Star in 2020. In terms of medals, he has an Ulster SFC medal, two Intermediate Championships with Lacken Celtic (2004 and 2012, the latter as captain) and a Division 4 National League title.

Asked after clearing a century against Armagh if he was now aiming for 150, he joked: “I think now that just might not be an achievable goal. I’ll just take every game as it comes.”

“Driving in the road, if you told me we would get a comprehensive victory against Armagh I would have taken it with both hands. We’re down a lot of bodies through injuries and different things. It was a really spirited performance and I think it was just good to get the result and obviously get into the semi-final of the McKenna Cup which is great also.

“When you’re taking part in these competitions you want to be going out to win games so it’s great, it’s given us that extra bit of preparation for the league. To get these games this time of hyear is going to bring on this team a lot. It’s extra game time for lads.

“We were probably disappointed with our performance the last day (against Antrim) in the sense that our skill set probably let us down at times and we let them kind of create chances so we put a little bit more emphasis on retaining possession and making sure we didn’t give the ball away cheaply.

“With the conditions that were there, I think we did really well. I think it was a draw at half-time, we played real good concise football. It was winter football but I thought the skill level was high quality and there weren’t a major amount of mistakes for this time of year.

“We knew there were areas we wanted to improve on, it was a quick turnaround but I think lads were tuned in today, they knew they weren’t going to get as much time on the ball. Armagh are a very good, strong physical team. I think we did the simple things well today, especially in the first half when Armagh were really pressing.”

The most capped player on the Cavan panel at present is Martin Reilly on an amazing 162, while Gearoid McKiernan is next on 125 appearances. Reilly made his debut in the McKenna Cup against Tyrone in 2007; current Cavan selector Ryan McMenamin was in action for the Red Hands that day while current Derry boss Rory Gallagher played for Cavan on the same occasion.

Killian Clarke joined the century club last season.

Killian Brady, who has recently been in the United States on honeymoon, is currently on 99 appearances. Next in the list are Jason McLoughlin (94), Padraig Faulkner (92), Ciaran Brady (82), Conor Moynagh (74), Gerard Smith (56), Oisin Kiernan (54) and Conor Madden (53).

Cavan manager Mickey Graham paid tribute to Galligan and his long-serving colleagues after the game.

“He has been a hell of a servant. With the commitment and sacrifices that are required at inter-county football now is huge. Any player who makes 100 senior appearances, I say fair play to them because it is so difficult and I think they’ll become few and far between as the years go on because of the commitment that’s needed.

“For the likes of himself, Marty and other lads, and I know Killian the Gunner is not far away either, you have to step back and look at this group of players and say, ‘Jesus, what they have given to Cavan football’. It’s only when they’re gone that we’ll appreciate it.”

Galligan had famously never played in goals before trying out the position in the winter of 2014-15 under then Cavan manager and Lacken clubmate Terry Hyland. He played his first game in a two-game tournament series against New York in Gaelic Park that April and went on to nail down his starting place for the championship and has been an ever-present since bar a short spell under Mattie McGleenan.

Galligan is already regarded as one of the county’s best goalkeepers, with Hyland recently commenting on Northern Sound radio that he regards the 35-year-old as Cavan’s best netminder of the last 20 years.