Hurling & Camogie

Cavan boss Ollie Bellew hopes to use inside knowledge of Armagh for League clash

The Breffni boss was involved with Orchard club side Cuchulainns last season

Ollie Bellew has praised Darren Gleeson
Ollie Bellew Cavan manager Ollie Bellew

Allianz Hurling League Division 3A

Cavan v Armagh (Saturday, Kingspan Breffni, 2pm)

CAVAN boss Ollie Bellew got the chance to run his eye over the Armagh club scene last season when he joined John Toner’s Cuchulainns management team and helped the Armagh city side reach the last four of the senior championship.

Middletown ended their involvement on their way to securing a fifth county title on the trot and now, with his Breffni bainisteoir bib on, Bellew will be plotting the downfall of some of the players he coached as Cavan lock horns with the Orchard county.

“I’ve known about Armagh hurling for some time,” said the Cavan boss.

“They’ll be physically very strong and very fit. The quality of hurling in the clubs in Armagh is growing because it’s gone beyond just the top three.

“The stock’s increasing but it’s a bit of a transition with the senior county side, they’ve had a few retirements, and the new management is getting to grips with the players that they have now.

“But it’s still Armagh and they’re going to get that spring in their step before long. Nobody will be expecting anything less than an Armagh win at the weekend, but we just want to see if we can keep making improvements week on week.

“We learned a lot from the defeat in Sligo and we learned even more from winning against Louth because we switched off for long periods of that game and then we had another really tough test in Castlebar two weeks ago.

“This is going to possibly be the hardest game we’ve had and it’s just about what we can learn from it and keep moving forward so we’ll give it our best shot.”

Cavan were promoted to Division 3A last season, winning four of their five 3B games, including the league final, and have been holding their own at the higher grade, but the threat of relegation still looms large.

Mayo and Sligo are out ahead of the rest, and both are unbeaten after three games, while Cavan, Armagh, Monaghan and Louth are all fending off the fear of relegation.

Cavan are currently positioned in third behind the leading duo but are tied on two points with both Louth and Monaghan, while this weekend’s opponents Armagh are bottom with one point.

“We’re doing really well and we’re loving the intensity of it, it’s where we want to be,” added Bellew.

“We’re finally here and we’re making the most of it. We’ve been unlucky a couple of times but every day is a learning day at the minute.

“You’re learning to live with the intensity and you’re learning to deal with the physical and mental aspects of it, you can definitely feel the difference in 3A and 3B. It’s where we want to stay so we have a couple of hard weeks now ahead of us.

“Mayo and Sligo are that wee bit above the rest of us, so we have a chasing pack, and it was probably anticipated that we’d be at the bottom of that but we’re holding on own.”