GAA Football

Tyrone's Colm Cavanagh must be on 2017 Allstars team says Conor Meyler

Tyrone's Colm Cavanagh, Picture by Seamus Loughran
Francis Mooney

TYRONE'S Conor Meyler believes Colm Cavanagh must win a place on the 2017 All-Stars team, having been repeatedly overlooked in the past in spite of his consistent excellence.

The Red Hand midfielder shone brightly once again this year, rising to the challenge in magnificent fashion week after week as a commanding figure in his sweeper role.

He’s one of six Tyrone players nominated, along with goalkeeper Niall Morgan, defenders Tiernan McCann, Padraig Hampsey and Peter Harte and attacker Niall Sludden.

“All six boys are outstanding footballers and they have done really well and deserved their nominations,” said Meyler.

“But Colm this year, in terms of a leader around the middle, he has been outstanding.

“Although we didn’t make an All-Ireland final, I think he deserves a lot of credit for what he has done this year. Let’s hope, fingers crossed, that he does get one, because he really deserves it.”

Meyler views Cavanagh as an inspirational figure within the squad and a shining example to younger players as he displayed unwavering determination and commitment for a tenth successive season.

“Colm never misses a session, he’s being held together by tape sometimes, but that man never seems to miss anything.

“And when you have those sort of players around you, and you have a niggle, it makes you realise that if Colm can do it, and he can get back out, and he can take those hits, then so can I.

“To have those sort of players around you and around the panel, it makes a huge difference. A real warrior is what Colm is.”

Tyrone fell to a heavy defeat to Dublin in the All-Ireland semi-final, but Omagh clubman Meyler is confident the Ulster champions will come back stronger next year and put in another big challenge for the Sam Maguire Cup.

Mayo’s narrow defeat in last month’s final showed that the Dubs are not invincible, and Meyler also believes that historic cycles will also have a say in whether a team can continue to dominate indefinitely.

“Dublin were beaten in the league final this year too by Kerry, and Mayo ran them very close. When you look at it, Mayo had two draws and two one-point wins on their way through.

“In 2008, Tyrone beat Dublin by 12 points, in 2009, Dublin were beaten by 17 points, and in 2010 they were beaten by Meath in the Leinster semi-final by 15 points.

“The next year they won the All-Ireland, so it just shows you how much can change in a year with the same clientele of players they had.

“And you look at Donegal, with the team they had in previous years, and they came through to won the All-Ireland, and in the years before that they were struggling to get out of Ulster.

“It just shows you that in any year, anything can happen, and we know ourselves that physically, we’re in great condition. Maybe just on the day we weren’t tuned in and we weren’t prepared for that goal to go in.

“So we’ll take a lot from that, we’ll learn how to deal with situations when we go behind, we’ll learn how to deal with a team keeping possession, how we press them.

“We’ll probably take a lot more from that game than Dublin will and we’ll be back stronger, having learnt a lot from this year.”

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