By Niall Gartland
DERMOT McCabe’s decision to leave the Cavan Senior Intercounty set-up is an undoubted loss, but the recruitment of Tyrone legend Ryan McMenamin can help cushion the blow.
That’s the opinion of former Breffni manager Martin McHugh, who memorably led Cavan to the Ulster Championship title in 1997. McHugh, who still regularly commentates on Cavan club matches, believes they’re losing someone with a wealth of expertise, but at least they’re bringing in someone else with considerable coaching experience, namely former Fermanagh boss Ryan McMenamin.
McHugh managed All-Star midffielder McCabe back in the day, and it’s fair to say he played his part behind the scenes in last year’s Ulster Championship success. He’s also coaching his native Gowna at the minute, who are in the semi-finals of the Cavan Senior Championship.
McHugh said: “I’d know Dermot well, his football brain is second to none. He was an unbelievable footballer. You see it with Gowna at the minute, the way they’ve been organised.
“So it’s a blow to Cavan. He was manager of the minor team that last won the Ulster Minor Championship back in 2011, he was assistant manager with Mickey Graham when they won the Ulster Senior Championship.
So look, it’s a blow to Cavan but they’re getting a new voice, an experienced man in Ryan McMenamin. Dermot might feel he wants a break away from it and from talking to people in Cavan, he’ll be a loss to the set up. But they’ve a good experienced man coming in and from chatting to Rory Gallager he rates Ryan McMenamin very highly and has the highest of respect for him.”
McHugh also believes that Cavan football is in ruder health than it might appear after their senior side were relegated to Division Four earlier in the season.
He said: “The important thing is fro them to get out of Division Four and see whee the Ulster championship draw takes them.
“They’ve a good young team coming through. Even the likes of Padraig Faulkner are still quite young, and Ciaran ‘Holla’ Brady will be coming back from a cruciate injury. He’s a big leader so was a big loss to them.
“If you have Gearoid McKiernan and James Smith in the middle, that’s as good a midfield as you get. Another player I’m excited about is Oisin Brady, Dessie Brady’s son. He plays for Killygarry, and you have the Maddens as well. They’re still young and Division Four might give them a chance of building things. I think the future’s bright for Cavan, and that’s it’s better than you’d think from the outside looking in.”