Keeping the faith. Doing the basics right remains the priority for goalkeepers says Raymond Galligan

Raymond Galligan saves a Gareth McKinless shot
Raymond Galligan saves a Gareth McKinless shot Raymond Galligan saves a Gareth McKinless shot

DOING the basics – shot stopping, dealing with high balls and accuracy from kick-outs – remain the priorities for goalkeepers says Cavan’s veteran netminder Raymond Galligan.

The Breffni number one – an Allstar in 2020 – is a tried and tested performer between the sticks and also a very handy option for his county from long-range frees and 45s. However, he hasn’t followed in the footsteps of the likes of Ethan Rafferty, Odhran Lynch and Rory Beggan by leaving his square and playing out field at every possible opportunity.

“It’s up for debate, it’s quite a hot topic at the moment,” he said of the evolution of the goalkeeper.

“Personally the way I look at it, the Allstar goalkeeper from last year Shane Ryan (Kerry), who was the best goalkeeper in Ireland and got the reward, he doesn’t float too far out the field. He keeps it very simple, he does the basics right. He pulled off kick-outs against Dublin that were of the highest order.

“For me, we can get carried away with ’keepers coming out. I definitely think the basics, and ’keepers doing the basics right, is the most important thing.

“It’s very exciting to watch ’keepers coming out but how much value is it adding? It could be a distraction.”

He might not be convinced of the value of marauding goalkeepers but Galligan is certainly not opposed to it.  

“When you have ’keepers like Ethan Rafferty and Odhran Lynch coming out and being able to spray good quality passes into their forwards, it can only add value,” he said.

“If it’s stopping a midfielder or a back from doing the same pass when they can do it, that's when I’d question it. When the lads are having a real positive impact on their team, I’d be all for it.”

Cavan begin their Tailteann Cup campaign against Laois and Galligan says manager Mickey Graham will have a full squad to pick from for the Kingspan Breffni opener.

“Thankfully everyone is fully committed,” he said.

“Hopefully the panel is going to be strengthened. Lads who were out for the Armagh game will be back in the next few days.

“We’re fortunate that everyone has hung around and with the majority of the panel from last year tasting that defeat against Westmeath, will see it as an opportunity to right that wrong.”

Former Cavan forward Graham is fifth in the list of longest-serving current GAA managers behind Colm Collins of Clare (10 years) and Armagh’s Kieran McGeeney (eight years).  

“Mickey has done a fantastic job and unlike other managers he’s actually won stuff,” said Galligan.

“We’ve got to two Ulster finals, we won one. We’ve been to the Tailteann Cup final, we have two League titles. He’s a proven winner.

“He’s changed up his backroom team, we have a fantastic coach in James Burke, we also have Ricey (Ryan McMenamin) who brings a lot of added value to the team.

“He’s also built the resilience. Going down through the leagues, we’ve been very fortunate that everyone’s stuck together. It’s built a real togetherness. In regards to management, we couldn’t be happier.”

Winning the Tailteann Cup would mean two trophies for the season for Cavan which would be a very good return. Galligan says the Cavan camp view the competition as “a brand new season”.

“We’re potentially playing six or seven games whereas last year it was a four-game competition,” he said.

“There’s not a lot of breaks, there’s not a lot of opportunity for recovery so you really have to be on point from day one.”