Hurling and camogie

Bellew backing Breffnimen to keep their cool in Croke Park clash with Fermanagh

Cavan manager Ollie Bellew
By Kevin Óg Carney

Lory Meagher Cup final: Cavan v Fermanagh (today, Croke Park, 6.30pm, live on TG Sport YouTube)

IN Ollie Bellew's stint to date as Cavan's senior hurling team-manager, the Breffnimen haven't lost to Fermanagh.

This evening, the Antrim native will lead his charges out onto Croke Park's hallowed turf and should he keep his record intact against the Ernemen, he'll be celebrating a Lory Meagher Cup triumph.

The St Galls clubman and his backroom team have already made history by guiding Cavan to a historic appearance at Croker and, incredibly, they will go into the game as favourites to lift the silverware.

Not since Cavan won a NHL Division Four title in 1985 has the county annexed a national hurling title at adult level. Bellew believes though that his players won't allow the occasion to get the better of them.

“They're such a level-headed bunch and so determined and so focussed on the big prize that all talk of Croke Park was banished straight after our semi-final win over Louth," Bellew said.

“All credit to them; they're fantastic men, very intelligent and very driven and they have what it takes so it's all good.”

Bellew is wont to talk up Fermanagh and his declaration at the outset of this season that the Ernemen would make yet another Lory Meagher Cup final this year has proven spot on.

The white and green brigade appeared in last year's decider but lost out to Louth at Croke Park; the same Louth side that Cavan beat (1-14 to 0-16) last week in their semi-final duel at Kingspan Breffni.

On the back of Cavan's victory (1-16 to 0-17) over Fermanagh in the quarter-final of this year's competition in particular, the Blues will probably go into this evening's clash as slight favourites but Fermanagh are the more experienced side and they will be gunning to reclaim a title they last won five years ago.

“Fermanagh are probably the most improved team we've met over the past two years. Every time we have crossed paths, they have really put it up to us,” Bellew said.

“It's no reflection on them that in the four meetings since we've taken charge, Fermanagh haven't beaten us yet. That would ordinarily be a good filip but Fermanagh have got better and better and there will be nothing in this again. This one will go right down to the wire.”

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Hurling and camogie