Steven Poacher talks about why the underage successes of Cavan paved the way for their Ulster final win over Donegal, while Shane Stapleton speaks about the impact of Andre Quinn who was appointed head of athletic performance two years ago.
BY GERARD BROWNE
The right foundations were put in place for Cavan’s victory last Sunday, according to Steven Poacher.
The Breffni ended their 23-year wait to win the Anglo-Celt Cup after upsetting Donegal 1-13 to 0-12 in the Ulster decider.
After suffering back-to-back relegations last month, Mickey Graham’s charges progressed all the way from the preliminary round with wins over Monaghan, Antrim and Down prior to their triumph at the Athletic Grounds.
They now face six-in-a-row chasing Dublin in the All-Ireland SFC semi-finals on Saturday December 5.
The newly-crowned Ulster champions enjoyed a dominant spell of underage success during the last decade, winning four consecutive provincial Under-21 titles from 2011-2014 and a minor title nine years ago.
Shane Stapleton explains the crucial appointment of Andre Quinn as Cavan’s head of athletic performance, while Poacher looks at the improvement he has brought to their tackling.
The Warrenpoint native was appointed to the role in November 2018, after previously working as a strength and conditioning coach in rugby.
“We’ve got to remember the foundations of this group and this was a Cavan team that that was used to beating those Donegal players at underage,” says Poacher.
“You can be under no illusions that those Under-21 games were mentioned in the camp before last Sunday.
“Those lads are now all in the age bracket of 26 to 30 years old — peak time to be kicking on and becoming successful.
“Their intensity levels in the middle-third was on a different scale and this allowed them to condense that area of the pitch.
“They got their match-ups right and still had the organisation of a sweeper.
“Cavan, in my opinion, are one of the most physical teams in the country and it’s hard to believe there in Division Three because they’re improving game after game.”
📮 Sign up to the OurGame newsletter — a daily email reminder of our latest videos, articles, quizzes and more.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the OurGame YouTube page for live streams and more.