Pádraig Faulkner enjoying Cavan's latest promotion push
By Cian O’Connell
“We don't like staying in the one spot,” Padraig Faulkner laughs about Cavan’s fluctuating Allianz Football League form.
A Division One outfit in 2019, Cavan, who still summoned some impressive Ulster Championship displays, drifted back into Division Four.
Mickey Graham’s team, though, have stitched a five match winning sequence together in Division Three, and are on the verge of securing a second successive promotion.
“We are looking for consistency, we haven't really seen it in league form over the last few years,” Faulkner adds. “We've had high highs and low lows, but we have bounced up, down, up, down, we are just looking for that consistency playing the Division One and Division Two games.”
Faulkner, an influential figure for Cavan, acknowledges that the fact the league carries championship implications now, it is vital for long term development to be operating in the top two tiers. “It is, definitely,” he responds.
“This year we can't guarantee with a league final win that you will be in the All-Ireland series, but all we want is to get promotion to Division Two. That was our sort of medium goal at the start of the year - it is all we have focused on so far.
“If somebody had said we'd have won five games on the trot we'd have snatched that straight from someone's hands.
“Winning can become a habit, but at the same time losing can become a habit too. It all depends on your next game. We are in good form and in good spirits too, taking five games in a row we are happy with where we are in the table too.”
Covid restrictions disturbed the inter-county calendar for a couple of years, but Faulkner is relishing the busy schedule. “The more games the better,” Faulkner says.
“With Covid and not getting games - putting them to the wayside, it was fierce annoying. You had to wait a serious time to play your last two league games. I like the games running fast and steady.
“Thankfully we haven't picked up too many injuries. We have a lot of lads coming back, the games are coming fast and thick, but we are enjoying them.”
Faulkner is closing in on 100 appearances for Cavan. “That would be a serious achievement,” Faulkner says. “For any player to play 100 performances for the county.
"Just looking at the panel we have at the minute, we have myself coming up, Jason McLoughlin is coming up to it very soon too, Killian Clarke, Killian Brady, Gearoid (McKiernan), Ray (Galligan), Marty (Reilly) - a lot of lads have clocked up 100 performances for the county.
“It is a serious achievement, it is a credit to past managers, strength and conditioning coaches, and entire panels that lads are playing for so long and really sticking to it.”
Graham has occupied a central role in the Cavan football story also. “As well as keeping things fresh, he brings consistency too,” Faulkner says.
“This year he has brought in James Burke, who has brought a freshness to the game, a real focus on defending and attacking, he brings a new approach. One of the appointments at the start of Mickey's management was the appointment of Andre Quinn, he has been top class with our strength and conditioning, and overall player development.
“I think Mickey will say himself, he is as only as good as his backroom staff, and he really has that in place over the last few years.”
These are encouraging times for Cavan.