By Niall Gartland
FORMER Fermanagh footballer Shane McCabe intended on taking a prolonged break from the world of coaching and management, but he decided to get back in the game and he’s assumed the reins at Cavan club Mullahoran.
Following a stint at his native Belcoo and a longer spell as part of the coaching set-up at Fermanagh McCabe decided the time was right to take a sabbatical.
However, Mullahoran were keen to enlist his services and he was already familiar with both the area and club itself as his father Hugh managed the Dreadnaughts for a spell during the noughties.
His friend Ryan McCluskey, another former Fermanagh player, was also keen to help out and that set the scene for his appointment.
So far things are going very much according to plan and Mullahoran are sitting pretty at the summit of Division Two with 11 games already completed. McCabe isn’t getting carried away and says that something they continue to strive for is a consistently high level of performance.
“Results are one thing and performances another. We’ve been getting to know the guys, and where they stand technically, physically and tactically. What we’re looking for is commitment while at the same time recognising that it’s club football at the end of the day.
“Those young lads have been caught up with Covid for the last two years so we appreciate football mightn’t necessarily be number one on the agenda. But in fairness they’ve definitely bought into what we’re trying to do.
“The quality is there but consistency would still be the question mark. In fairness we’re in a very good place in the league but there’ve been matches where we’ve been very poor and others we’ve been very poor.”
While Mullahoran play Division Two football, the championship is a separate entity and they’re set to field in the upcoming senior campaign amongst the Ramors, Gownas, Cavan Gaels, Crosserloughs and Kingscourts of this world. McCabe knows it’ll be a massive step up.
“Division One is obviously a better standard of football, so it’s not ideal for us.
“At the same time we’ve yet to get the team up to speed physically or tactically and that’s the main job Ryan and I have been working on since we came in.
“It kicks off in the middle or end of July and we have a bit of time to get the group together and set some targets for the upcoming campaign.”
Their age profile is favourable as they have a few experienced heads like Cavan footballer Killian Brady as well as a batch of players in their early twenties.
“The big challenge is gelling everyone together. It can be difficult to get people operating on the one wavelength so we’re trying to instill a good culture. We’ve a great bunch of lads there and you’d love to see them show the quality they have in the big-game moments.
“In the coming months there’ll be a good chance for them to do that in the league and championship.”