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From Poacher to Keeper – Raymond Galligan

Raymond Galligan - Cavan Goalkeeper and Captain
Raymond Galligan - Cavan Goalkeeper and Captain

Raymond Galligan is the current Cavan senior captain and has established himself as one of the top goalkeepers around, beating both Niall Morgan and Rory Beggan to an Ulster All-Star in 2016. This achievement is all the more remarkable given that Galligan had been playing as full forward up until 2015.

Emerging Talent

Raymond was a prodigious young talent, being marked out as a future inter county forward from a young age. He captained Cavan at minor level while playing centre forward and went on to kick 10 points against Roscommon in his national league debut. There was no doubt Galligan had the ability to be a serious operator at inter county level, however injuries and some time spent away in Australia meant the early part of his career never really took off.

A challenge awaits

When fellow Lacken clubman Terry Hyland took charge of Cavan, Galligan was presented the opportunity to reinvent himself as a goalkeeper, like a high ball dropping on the square, it was a challenge he seized with both hands. This selflessness and willingness to do what is best for the team has stood to Galligan, he has now transitioned to become Cavan captain and is seen as an excellent role model for the young players within the camp.

When pressed on his thoughts at the time of being offered the opportunity to play in goals Galligan replied, “it doesn’t matter what number you have on your back, it’s just great to be able to play for your county. I got that opportunity and that’s just the way I look at it now. It’s a short window of opportunity, I knew I had to take what I could get. It’s really just about getting out there and giving it everything you have. You don’t want to be left thinking what if.”

As one of Cavan’s premier free takers for the last decade, nobody was in doubt of Galligan’s ability off the tee. The big challenge he faced was learning to mind the net, to help with this Cavan recruited former Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Gary Rogers as a goalkeeping coach.

Galligan launches another Cavan attack
Galligan launches another Cavan attack

Becoming No.1

Having acted as understudy to Conor Gilsenan for the league in 2015, Galligan had shown enough improvement over the course of the season to usurp the Bailieborough man and become Cavan’s no.1 for their championship campaign. Keeping a clean sheet on his debut against Monaghan, while still venturing up the field to continue his free taking duties, Galligan’s influence on the Cavan team was transformative. Cavan’s kickouts now became the springboard for their attack’s and Galligan’s long range free taking abilities were clear when coming up to punish Monaghan from 55m.

In the intervening years since Galligan’s renaissance as a goalkeeper he has provided the foundation to a Cavan team that have twice been promoted to Division 1 and he led out his county in Cavan’s first appearance in an Ulster Final since 1997. Galligan continues to play full forward with his club, and is still considered one of the most dangerous forwards in Cavan football, regularly racking up large tallies.

Dependable at either end of the field, Galligan is a shining example of what can be achieved when a player is willing to sacrifice personal ambitions for the greater good of the team. As the man himself says “I’d rather be putting the ball into the net, than picking it out of it” , and we are sure Galligan will continue to experience success no matter where he is lined out to play.

Galligan is clearly a great role model for young sports people, and Cavan are lucky to have a player with his qualities both on and off the field. He closed our interview by paying thanks to the many people who have helped him on his journey so far, “ thanks to Terry Hyland for taking the chance on me back in 2015 and the current Cavan management team of Mickey, Dermot and Martin Corey for constantly looking for ways to improve my game through video analysis and coaching on the pitch, and Darragh McCarthy who I have worked closely with the past two years.” A student of the game, with a willingness to learn from those he works with, we expect Raymond to continue to be a vital cog in the Cavan machine for years to come.


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