Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Premier Junior final: Armagh v Cavan (1.45pm, Kingspan Breffni Park)
ERINN Galligan captained the Cavan camogie team to their success in the Nancy Murray Cup on the 14th November, but this week she admitted that Cavan got as much, if not more, from beating Roscommon to reach this weekend’s Liberty Insurance Premier Junior final which will be played in Kingspan Breffni (1.45pm, Saturday).
“We set out to win the Nancy Murray at the start of the year. But after we beat Tyrone in the league, then again in the group stages before Halloween, we knew that all we had to do was look after ourselves and we would win the final.
“Just before the final we were told that we would get a shot at the Premier Junior because of the re-organisation of competition after the removal of seconds teams from the lower grades. Well that was such a shot in the arm for us and you could see the change in attitude that night at training.
“We had beaten Roscommon in the first league game away back at the start of the year. But you couldn’t read into that. We had trained hard over the winter and Roscommon didn’t seem to have all their players out.
“Crosserlough had played Four Roads a couple of years ago in the All-Ireland club semi-final and we couldn’t see some of the players that had done damage to us that day,” says the pharmacist in Arva on the Longford-Cavan-Leitrim border.
“We were expecting a change in pace when we played Roscommon in Athleague. We went a goal down in the first few minutes and spent most of the first half finding our feet. But we pulled away in the second half for the win and that was really satisfying for the players.”
Erinn is one of the longer serving players, although not there long enough to have experienced inter-county camogie before it went into hibernation for more than a decade.
“There didn’t seem to be interest in a county team. The club camogie scene was OK. Then we got Jimmy Greville into Crosserlough and things started to move.”
Greville was involved with Westmeath at county level and he quickly turned Crosserlough from a team with ambitions of winning Cavan into one that would become the team to beat at Ulster level.
“Yeah, we won Ulster two years in a row, got well beaten in the first All-Ireland semi-final and then got closer in the second. Last year Loughgiel beat us in the first round of Ulster which was a disappointment. But we are back again as Cavan champions and looking forward to playing Tír na nÓg from Randalstown in the quarter-finals in January.
“Jimmy brings a lot of enthusiasm to the table and that rubs off on players. He is very organised, but he really gets a good team spirit going and that has been the same with the county since he came in this time last year.
“The Crosserlough girls knew what he was about but the whole county panel really can’t wait to get to training and games. That is why winning the Nancy Murray was not going to satisfy us this season.
“We can’t wait to get into a bit of a dogfight of a game and see where we’re really at.”
Galligan has played county football down through the years and was involved when Cavan annexed the All-Ireland intermediate crown in 2013.
For now she’s thoroughly enjoying focusing on one sport at inter-county level this year, and probably appreciating inter-county duty even more given the extra recovery time, “biting at the bit” for each and every training session and game rather than just going through the motions or following a schedule.
“I played football with the Crosserlough boys up to under 14, but we had no girls’ teams at that time and I joined Lacken. When Crosserlough started football, I just stayed on with Lacken and played camogie with Crosserlough.”
For the past couple of years Crosserlough were double winners, but back in September Lacken dethroned them in football while the camógs made it five in a row, leaving Galligan with county medals in both codes.
“Now, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t give up one code for the other,” she grins. “I love the football and the camogie, but when you get that extra break in between, it does add to your bite to get to training.”
“It’s massive to have the outlet, to have people having a goal,” she says on the addition of a county camogie team.
“You start off at underage and you want to play with your club, then you want to reach the club’s senior team and compete. Then the automatic next step is to see am I good enough to make the county team or panel, and see can I push on after a few years to get a Cavan jersey and be on the starting county team.
“It’s all a process of having a goal and another goal and another goal for yourself, and being competitive. You’re competitive in your life in general, in your career, and then you’re competitive in your sport as well.
“If we win on Saturday, I know 2020 will have been a mighty year for us. If we don’t, we will know how much harder we have to work at this level to achieve success.
“When we set out 12 months ago to get a Cavan camogie team on the pitch, we didn’t expect to be in this competition. But we are, and better than that we are in a final. Maybe we can take a leaf out of the men’s football team that went into the Ulster final without fear and got their result.”
— to www.irishnews.com