Dara McVeety leaves Mikey O’Shea in his wake during his inspirational display against Tipperary. Photo: Adrian Donohoe.

Cavan set the early pace

After picking up a second win in as many games in this year’s Allianz league centre back Dara McVeety is laser focused on the team’s goal.

“It’s all about momentum,” McVeety said after the whistle had blown on Cavan’s home win over Tipperary on Sunday. “When we got promoted it was very much to try to hit the ground running to get a couple of victories, build a bit of momentum and build confidence.

“We have a good few young lads coming through, the likes of Niall Carolan. They’re savage players and it’s good for them to build that momentum, get a bit of confidence that they can excel at this level and push on hopefully.”

With a number of new faces making an impact on the team the Crosserlough man explained how they have managed to gel together so well.

“We’ve put in a lot of hard work so when you feel you’ve the hard work done, the chances are it will come together. There is a togetherness there, the boys are working very hard for each other, there’s no one player that we rely on for scores. We can get scores from anywhere and there’s a real team ethos at the minute which is great.”

The Cavan defence has managed to concede a total of just seven scores from open play in their opening games against Westmeath and Tipperary; only two on Sunday.

“We’ve worked hard on our set up since we came in this year, it’s not rocket science,” explains McVeety. “Boys working hard for each other, communicating well, trying to get back to help each other out is the big thing.

“We don’t have lads going out sticking solely to one man, we’re communicating well trying to pass men off when we need to, and you can see boys putting their bodies on the line, and the half forward line are incredible. Johnny McCabe and Oisin Kiernan come back and made us look good but the hard work they put in was unbelievable and then we got the turn overs.”

That impressive defence has been reflected in the nascent Division 3 league table. Cavan are in top spot for now at least due to superior score difference over rivals Offaly and Down, who are also on four points.

In both the Westmeath and the Tipperary games, Cavan have conceded a goal and two points on the trot. But on both occasions Cavan responded with a point where the half back line proved instrumental.

“On a personal level you kind of have a trigger: ‘Right we need to get a score, we need to do something here’.

“That doesn’t mean it’s always going to happen but you put yourself there to try and do something at the other end. Like when they got the goal, I was just thinking we need to get something here and I pushed on and the luck of the ball fell and we got the score.”

It comes as no surprise to manager Mickey Graham that McVeety was again one of Cavan’s top performers.

“What you see is what you get with Dara,” said Graham. “We’re not surprised, we’ve seen it for years and he brings a great tempo to the game, and I thought he was well supported by the lads around him too. I thought it was a great team effort all round,.”

Oisin Brady was another who put in a super performance. The corner forward and free taker finished with seven points to his name and Graham is happy to see him back playing with confidence.

“He’s getting a run of it now. Oisin had a bit of a dip in form last year and probably lost a bit of confidence, but now his confidence is back.

“I thought even the lads coming off the bench today did really well. Brandon Boylan and Conor Madden and these boys have been going well at training too so there’s other lads just waiting for their opportunities.”

Graham and his team will use this coming free weekend to continue to prepare for Longford.

“Two wins going into a break is great but we’ll park them up now because Longford are coming and it’s a local derby. It’s always a tough game so our focus now turns to Longford.”

Things are also looking promising for Cavan on the injury front.

“I’d say there’s four or five that are returning to train this week so they’ll be back in with us Tuesday night. There’s going to be some intensity at training for the next two weeks because everybody is just chomping at the bit.”