Cavan Forum

Total revamp of the club scene needed

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Year after year we have to endure the sight of our senior winners exiting Ulster at the first hurdle. Today was a sad indictment of Cavan club football when Kilcoo wiped the floor with our county champions. And Doohamlet representing the 12th best team in Monaghan beat Ballyhaise, the 16th or so best team in Cavan. We need to address this imbalance.

Mike Hannon wrote an excellent article in this weeks celt outlining some grim statistics. The simple reality is, we have to change in line with broader economic and demographic changes. Cavan, along with many other counties simply cannot provide a livelihood for it's young people and the lure of emigration and Dublin is irresistible for many. This has an obvious knock-on effect for clubs in terms of player numbers.

The facts are depressing, eye-opening and thought provoking. In the past 6 years, Cavan's intermediate and senior championship winners have won 2 matches out of 14. We are officially the worst in Ulster.

Additionally, Cavan have per head of population, the third most clubs in Ireland behind Laois and Leitrim (qualify this stat by factoring in that Laois are a dual county) and that really leaves you with ourselves and Leitrim. We have 40 clubs for a population of around 70,000.

So here's what needs to happen. If we want to improve the standard and competitiveness in our county, we need pro-active people in the county board to commission a committee to investigate the boundaries of each club and analyse the population attaching to that club and make recommendations accordingly.

The alternative is to persist with more of the same, and lament the fact that we are so behind our provincial counterparts.

We need to aim for around 35 clubs.

Ned_Stormcrow (Cavan) - Posts: 1022 - 01/11/2015 19:34:25    1803561

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There was proposals for a Kerry style Club Championship in 2013 but that didn't go ahead. Not alway that easy to say cut the limit of Clubs.

Monaghan Clubs all won in today in Junior , Intermediate and Senior. They are always competitive in Ulster even if they don't win. I can't recall their teams getting tanked like today or like Mullahoran in 2012.

FoolsGold (Cavan) - Posts: 2013 - 01/11/2015 20:22:45    1803574

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you are right that we need to have fewer clubs but we all know it aint going to happen, the county board can make all the recommendations they like, clubs are only interested in their own little patch, its only a few years ago the junior clubs voted to stop senior clubs reserve sides playing in the Junior championship, they did not want the standard of the Junior club Championship raised, all they wanted was an easier route to winning it. so please don't even dare to think that any club has the best interests of Cavan football at heart.

We also have a real problem with amalgamation teams in this county, having been involved in many amalgamated teams both as a player and a coach, I've never seen the best 15 selected, there has always been some preset deal agreed, for example, 3 team amalgamation, must have 5 from each club starting, 2 team amalgamation, the team with 7 starters must have first sub brought on. I've also seen players not be bothered cos their club had the 7 and not the 8.
We also have clubs refusing to amalgamate with clubs from their own parish, you have Drumlane in with Killeshandra and Arva, when they really should be in with Belturbet, and you have Cornafean in with Ballinagh and Lacken, when they should be part of St Josephs, we have this sort of petty local rivalries all over the county.

eduardo66 (Cavan) - Posts: 64 - 01/11/2015 20:41:53    1803585

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Went to u-14 matches on the 3G on both Friday and Sunday nights. A couple of things I don't understand.

1) Why are we still playing championship football in the first week of November?
2)Why are teams playing 13 a side when teams had seven/eight subs available?
3) Why was the two points for a free taken of the ground removed? This is a good skill to develop and I noticed on both nights players kicking from the hands when last year the same players were kicking from the ground with better results.
4)Why are division 1 games the only division using the full pitch? Surely it should be the same for all u-14 games ?

evano11 (Cavan) - Posts: 257 - 02/11/2015 10:32:47    1803640

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In fairness to the small clubs as you call them they have tradition history stories to tell and a place to call theirs why should we want them to disappear to facilitate a neighboring village or town. Clubs are doing their best to promote the GAA and long may it continue.
These small clubs are right not to allow the big guns to try and poach a title they are trying to win for years just so that the bigger clubs can get their lads a junior medal or trophy.
I am in favor of dropping the amount of senior clubs I would go as far as to say drop them to 12 this way you will get competitive leagues if you introduce two up three down for the next 5 years there would be no messing with fixtures by giving the other team a walk over and so on by doing this. This way you get the best out of everyone and then and only then will the quality shine through because there will be consequences if they don't perform " Relegation" oh the shame of it.
Making it hard to stay in the top flight is how it should be. Just my opinion off course.
If you were in the park yesterday you just have to admire the condition Belcoo are in. I think senior clubs need to take note upper and lower body strength was awesome so conditioning has to be considered going forward by everyone.

The Quiet Man (Cavan) - Posts: 4533 - 02/11/2015 10:37:50    1803642

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seanorinn
County: Cavan
Posts: 2760

I am in favor of dropping the amount of senior clubs I would go as far as to say drop them to 12 this way you will get competitive leagues


In fairness this year in Div 1A it went down to the last round of fixtures to sort out who would get the semi final spots and who would end up in the relegation playoff, every single club had something to play for. If Lacken had beaten Cootehill in their last game they would have been in a league semi final instead they lost and now end up in a relegation playoff!!!!! You can't get more competitive than that , Division 3 has ended up in a three way playoff to sort out 2nd & 3rd spots and the Division 2 promotion playoff ended up a high scoring draw yesterday.
On the other hand if you wanted to make radical changes to the senior championship why not make up 16 amalgamations of the 40 clubs play in 4 groups of 4 with the top two in each group playing in the quarter finals. This would give all the top players in the county a chance to play for a senior championship medal and hopefully also improve their skill level by playing against better players and therefore up the level of performance within the county.When there's talk of past glories of the Mullahorans,Cornafeans,Crosserloughs you'll find that there was many a player playing with these teams from the surrounding parishes and at the time we had a county team to be proud of.
The Intermediate championship could be run off between the teams in Div 1 & 2 whilst the junior championship be played between teams in Div 3 & 4, and no Breffni league or anything of the sort.
As I say its only an idea but something has to be done to stop the slide of Cavan football which has being happening for the last 40 odd years

aceofspades (Cavan) - Posts: 228 - 02/11/2015 15:29:23    1803764

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In Tyrone they grade the team for Championship based on how they do in the League. Trillick were beaten in the Intermediate final last year but got promoted in the League to Divison 1. They won the Tyrone Senior Championshoip thsi year and are in the Ulser Club Semi.

In Cavan the likes of Drumalee, no offense to them were in the Senior Championship this year and them playing Division 2 o. They were relegated again this year, and could have been playing Senior Championship next year from the ACFL Division 3. Which is really the 4 Division.

FoolsGold (Cavan) - Posts: 2013 - 02/11/2015 16:00:37    1803773

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I have to agree with evano11 I was at an U14 semi final game and the setup at this level is all wrong.

These lads should be playing on a full pitch - and also playing 15 aside - ludicrous having 7 - 8 subs and only 13 playing

also on one side the goalkeeper was taking kickouts from his hand where the other goalkeeper was lauching it well past half way from the tee.

Goalkeepers should be learning this skill from an early age no way should he be kicking from hand it leaves him at a serious disadvantage when he moves up to U16

I would love a group of expert to be assembled and tasked with looking at every aspect of the game at all ages and come up with a plan to improve standards across the board

StayDownKing (Cavan) - Posts: 24 - 02/11/2015 18:34:38    1803821

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aceofspades
County: Cavan
Posts: 126

When there's talk of past glories of the Mullahorans,Cornafeans,Crosserloughs you'll find that there was many a player playing with these teams from the surrounding parishes and at the time we had a county team to be proud of.

Excellent point aceofspades. Perfect anecdotal evidence that when we had less clubs we had more success. When Cornafean were winning all around them, there was no such thing as Arva. Killeshandra's best players played with the reds too.

Ned_Stormcrow (Cavan) - Posts: 1022 - 02/11/2015 18:53:15    1803822

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How about this for a suggestion.

3 Leagues - Senior, Intermediate, Junior.

Run them off in good time starting early (March) in the year regardless of Inter County. Properly scheduled and weekly so players know more or less when they're playing and have plenty of ball played before the championships. Top 6 clubs from Senior Division qualify to represent themselves separately in the Main County Championship.

Main County Championship the premier competition to consist of 16 teams- 6 aforementioned clubs and 10 amalgamations from all the rest of the clubs in the county. 4 groups of 4 all play each other. Top 2 from each group advance to quarter finals. You could run this competition off in 7 weeks after inter county season, county final to be played end of September - but if Cavan are contesting the AI Final it could be problematic for fixtures ;).

In between the league and Main County Championship run off the club championships - Senior, Intermediate and Junior as per league standings. You could have this straight knock out or not. Junior and Intermediate champions represent Cavan at Ulster. If a club team win the Main County Championship they represent Cavan at senior. If it's an amalgamation then the Senior Club Championship winner to represent Cavan. These games to be run regardless of the county team involvement in AI series.

You could have 3/4 additional regional championships as well if above is straight knock out to provide extra games. e.g South, North, West, East Cavan Championship. All Junior, Intermediate and Senior clubs are mixed together in this according to their region- lucky dip sort to speak but it would provide a nice local rivalry and edge for local clubs. Again to be run regardless of Cavan's inter county progress in AI series.

I think it provides a nice balance. County players still get the Main County Championship but there's still plenty of games for the club player to play and indeed plenty of opportunity for county players to have game time with their clubs between county games if they so wish. Small clubs still get to keep their autonomy and have the extra spice of a crack at their more illustrious neighbours in the regional championship and a bit of local bragging rights. Any club that is so inclined to better themselves and go it alone in Senior has also the choice and if they do get to compete in Ulster should be much better prepared.

Hardtimes (Cavan) - Posts: 1056 - 02/11/2015 19:32:36    1803831

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Monaghan club sides regularly play Cavan club sides in challenge matches. The consensus is that you have too many senior sides which dilutes the quality of the senior championship. Monaghan have ten sides and the top six or seven are excellent and probably would win the Cavan championship. Your doing well to have such a good county side with the poor quality of club sides you have.

room2 (Monaghan) - Posts: 93 - 02/11/2015 20:10:14    1803845

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2008 was the last time Cavan won a game in the Ulster Senior Championship. That seems to be lost on people when they lament the County Senior team.

FoolsGold (Cavan) - Posts: 2013 - 02/11/2015 20:45:35    1803861

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I think the way Cavan run their league and championship is madness, if you play senior league for example you play senior championship I tried to follow Cavan abit this year but was lost because some teams were playing intermediate league and senior championship and that yous had 2 different leagues running through the year what's that about??. In Monaghan if your senior team league your well fit to play in senior championship and if manager doesn't want the county players playing then they don't play and the leagues run on smoothly.

Gooch22 (Monaghan) - Posts: 46 - 02/11/2015 21:14:43    1803871

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Ned you will find that the reason Killeshandra and Arva players joined Cornafean was mostly down to the rule then that senior county players had to join a senior club, once the junior club joined the senior grade the player could move back to them. This rule meant all senior county men were playing senior league and championship football and so were used to a higher grade of play.

Cavan really need to look at the Kerry model, which also sees all players with the opportunity of playing senior football, but this change of rules would also need the amalgamated sides to take it seriously and genuinely select teams on merit and with the interests of the players and the county team at the heart of decisions, and not be local in their outlook.

When Martin McHugh was Cavan manager he was of the view that the best players in the county needed to be playing Senior football, so that the step up to county football was not overawing for them. He also stated that Cavan county team needed to establish itself as a Division 1 team, again so that when Championship time came around the players would not be overawed by playing against the top teams, and also that the lower league teams they faced would actually be afraid of Cavan.

eduardo66 (Cavan) - Posts: 64 - 03/11/2015 11:57:37    1803974

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Amalgamations in Cavan won't work and everybody knows the reasons why.

Awwwwnow (Cavan) - Posts: 1050 - 03/11/2015 13:01:52    1803999

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County Board should step up and follow the Kerry system. All the top players compete in the 'County Championship' through district teams while still having the opportunity to represent their clubs at Junior, Intermediate or Senior 'Club championships'. The all county leagues would be played early in the year from February replacing the Breffni League. The club championships would take place through the summer when the leagues are usually played and the county championships in August/ September. Everything wrapped up by October.Under 21 Championship in Kerry is also played through the summer and very little football played during the winter. It's not overly difficult to follow this example and just look at Kerry football, the benefits are potentially huge IF county board, clubs and players buy into the idea.

patman92 (Cavan) - Posts: 51 - 03/11/2015 14:14:49    1804039

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FoolsGold
County: Cavan
Posts: 1227

1803861
2008 was the last time Cavan won a game in the Ulster Senior Championship. That seems to be lost on people when they lament the County Senior team.


I presume you are talking about the last time a team representing Cavan in the Ulster club championship here, and not the county Championship.

s goldrick (Cavan) - Posts: 5280 - 03/11/2015 14:30:51    1804046

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when the Kerry county team was in the doldrums in the late 80's and early to mid 90's - winning only one Munster title, and even losing a final to Clare, they looked at the reasons why standards had dropped, and totally revamped their league and championship structures, bringing in district teams to the Senior championship. And they have dominated Munster Football once again. The big difference with Kerry and Cavan is that the clubs in Kerry buy into the idea that the Senior County team's success is far more important than that of any or all clubs, while in Cavan the clubs only think about their own little corner and their own little local rivalries.

I mentioned earlier that in Cavan's heyday Senior county players had to transfer to Senior clubs, and one aspect of this was that players on the fringes at Senior clubs often moved to Junior clubs, this very much offset the loss of the Junior Club's star man, and helped raise the quality of the Junior club. then once these players were good enough for their senior club they would transfer back. I don't know when it all changed or when there became this modern notion that players should not transfer to other clubs within their own county. The way some react to a player moving you would think he had killed someone. the hypocrisy is staggering when a player decides to transfer to their club though.

eduardo66 (Cavan) - Posts: 64 - 03/11/2015 14:42:29    1804056

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Re SGoldrick, yeah I meant the last time a Cavan team won a game in the Ulster Senior Club. Cavan Gaels beat St Galls in 2008, been early exits every year since.

FoolsGold (Cavan) - Posts: 2013 - 03/11/2015 15:28:32    1804081

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eduardo66
County: Cavan
Posts: 31

I mentioned earlier that in Cavan's heyday Senior county players had to transfer to Senior clubs, and one aspect of this was that players on the fringes at Senior clubs often moved to Junior clubs, this very much offset the loss of the Junior Club's star man, and helped raise the quality of the Junior club. then once these players were good enough for their senior club they would transfer back. I don't know when it all changed or when there became this modern notion that players should not transfer to other clubs within their own county. The way some react to a player moving you would think he had killed someone. the hypocrisy is staggering when a player decides to transfer to their club though.


also I think that in the forties and fifties when a player moved to a different town for work it wasn't as easy to travel back and forth to his home club . he usually located to where his work was. nowadays it's a lot easier for players to remain with their local club regardless of where they live or work. I can fully understand why players would want to stick with the club that they played for all their lives.

how many county players are currently playing for Junior clubs anyway ?

also I think this thread was about the strengths of clubs within Cavan, not the county team. The provincial club championships were not running in the forties and fifties so we don't know how Cavan clubs would have fared. I think this year in Cavan there was no club team that were much better than the rest. Kingscourt lost 2 games and drew 2, so that's 4 teams that they couldn't beat at the first time of asking, so probably they weren't the strongest of representatives (not their fault of course..they did well to win the county final). There are a few teams within the county that need to apply themselves better because they have more county-standard players. perhaps next year we might see a stronger county champion that is able to compete in Ulster. Having said that , Kilcoo are some team and will be a match for anyone this year.

s goldrick (Cavan) - Posts: 5280 - 03/11/2015 18:00:08    1804166

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