Changing expectations at Templeport

By Niall Gartland

TEMPLEPORT literally couldn’t have done any better to date this season, but they could still fail to achieve their promotion goals despite having an unblemished record heading into the Division Three semi-finals in Cavan.

They won all of their games, most by a healthy margin, and if they get the better of Kill Shamrocks in a fortnight’s time, they will book their spot in Division Two regardless of what happens in the league final showdown.

It’s not a fait accompli but it would be a major surprise if they fail to do so, considering their stunning form this season, not to mention the fact they held their own in last year’s Intermediate Championship (the League and Championship is entirely separate in the Breffni County).

Their manager is former Templeport footballer Declan Farrell, who already has serious coaching experience under his belt even though he’s only in his late thirties. He led the team to the delayed 2020 Junior Championship but he’s realistic and says stabilising themselves as a mid-ranking team in Cavan is the big ambition in the short-term.

Asked whether they feel they can go into the deep end of this year’s Intermediate Championship (they missed out on a place in the knock-rounds by the skin of their teeth last year), he said:

“It would be a target, and people can talk about winning championships and even getting up to senior level, but you have to be realistic and consolidate yourself at certain levels first. We want to push onto Division Two and stabilise ourselves there. We want to progress but it’s a matter of taking things step-by-step.”

Templeport defeated Denn in the delayed 2020 Junior final in Cavan last year. A matter of months later, Denn got their hands on the trophy and ended up winning the Ulster title into the bargain. It’s a matter of some disappointment for Farrell that his side were unable to have a shot at the Ulster Championship.

“It absolutely killed us, I’m not going to lie. It would’ve been nice because we were in a good run of form and when you win something you want to go on and test yourself against the best in Ulster. We won the Junior title in 2015 and still regret losing the Ulster semi-final. You look back and think, wouldn’t it have been unreal to go all the way in Ulster. But the main point is to bring the team on. Bar the mid-to-late nineties, we’ve spent most of the last decades languishing in the bottom half of the lowest division in Cavan so we’re trying to change expectations.”

As for why they’ve been making these improvements, Farrell says they’ve been doing well at underage level and have resisted the lure of amalgamation.

“We’ve had a couple of very good minor teams, a good few boys have played with Cavan at underage level. We’re a rural club in the middle of nowhere and every club around us is amalgamated at underage level. We’ve been able to hold our own and keep our own players and that’s a big thing for us. If you amalgamate you end up losing players in the long run.”

READ MORE – Feature interview with former Cavan star Martin Dunne. Click here…

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