GAA Football

Intermediate honours up there with the best for Moy Allstar Colm Cavanagh

Tyrone Allstar footballer Colm Cavanagh. Picture by Seamus Loughran
Francis Mooney

He’s the proud holder of an All-Ireland medal, and recently received an All-Star award, but none of Colm Cavanagh’s many achievements can top the epic journey he’s on at the moment.

Moy’s pursuit of a provincial club title is all-consuming, and if they can get the better of Rostrevor in Sunday’s Intermediate Football Championship final, it will be as good as it gets for the Tyrone midfielder.

“It’s up there with anything I have ever done,” he said.

“Coming off a pitch and having your whole community either on the pitch or on the sideline, cheering you on, playing with the guys you have gone to primary school and secondary school with is special.

“They’re the guys that you’re going to be with for the rest of your life, so to do what we have been doing so far, it’s up there with the best moments of my career.

“It’s been a long time coming, we have played a lot of football over the years, and there have been so many good Moy teams that have come and gone, and won nothing.

“So to put ourselves in the position that we’re in at the minute is fantastic, its’ an unbelievable feeling.”

From the moment they won the county title for the first time in 35 years, the Moy management have been surveying the provincial scene and the many potential challenges they would face.

And it’s no surprise to bosses Audi Kelly and Gavin McGilly that the Down champions have come through to contest Sunday’s decider at the Athletic Grounds.

“Whenever we started the campaign, we knew there was a number of good teams in the competition, and Rostrevor was obviously one of those ones that was heavily linked with going all the way. We know it’s going to be a massive battle for us.

“We finished eighth in the Tyrone league this year, and if anybody had said to me after that, that we’d be sitting in an Ulster Club final, I’d have bitten their hand off.

Moy had to display exceptional powers of recovery to dig themselves out of a hole in the semi-final.

After falling four points behind while playing with wind advantage, they had some soul-searching to do during the interval, but the response was quite sensational, as they routed the Derry men with a 2-11 scoring blitz to win by nine.

“At half-time, we just knew we had played within ourselves. But we just said, look, we’ll go out and attack the game in the second half.

“We know we have good direct players who can play the game. We weren’t expecting to put up that score, but that first ten minutes in the second half was going to be key, because if Newbridge had come out and got a few scores, that would have left us in a position that I don’t think we could have come back from.

“So we started off, we won the throw-in and got a point, set our stall out early, and the likes of Harry Loughran and Ryan Coleman really dis the rest.

“Looking at the score-line at the end, it was unbelievable how much we put up in the second half, but at the same time, looking at our first half performance, we have an awful lot to work on to try to get that sorted, because we haven’t been sorting that well in a number of games to date.”

The players will draw confidence from that second half power-play, but Cavanagh insists that they must not lose sight of the need to eradicate the problems that dogged their efforts in the early stages of the game.

“We do know that when we’re on our game, we are hard to stop, and we can produce good performance.

“But equally, we can be very poor as well. But the guys will build a lot of confidence from putting up that score-line.

“Like any game, you evaluate it, see where it went wrong in the first half and how we can improve, and how we can bring that second half or a longer period throughout the next game.

“It is an Ulster Club final, and it’s always going to be a step up in every game. A final is that special occasion, and hopefully it will bring big performances out of everyone.”

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