Football

Moy and Tyrone legend Sean Cavanagh brings curtain down on playing career

Former Tyrone star Sean Cavanagh has hung up his boots after Tyrone League promotion/relegation play-off defeat to Coalisland at the weekend
Former Tyrone star Sean Cavanagh has hung up his boots after Tyrone League promotion/relegation play-off defeat to Coalisland at the weekend

Former Footballer of the Year Sean Cavanagh has called time on his playing career at the age of 40.

His final game saw him lose a Tyrone promotion-relegation play-off at the weekend as Moy’s player-manager.

He came on as a sub midway through the second half, but was unable to prevent his side’s 2-10 to 1-7 loss to Coalisland.

The result means Moy remain in Division Two, while Coalisland hold on to their Division One status.

“Every minute you have in a Moy or Tyrone jersey, every minute I had was special,” said Cavanagh.

“Even the few minutes towards the end of that game was special, just to be able to play football to be amongst your community, amongst your friends.

“You build friendships for life from gaelic football.

“It’s a massive part of my life, I love it, just the way everyone else loves it.

“Age doesn’t change that, I still love the game, still have a passion for the game the way I always did, but nobody defeats time.”

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Cavanagh leaves the playing stage as Tyrone’s most decorated footballer, having won three All-Ireland titles, five Ulster medals and five Allstar awards.

He also captained Ireland to victory over Australia in the 2008 International Rules series.

Now a pundit with RTE, his venture into management this year was very much an accidental one, and an avenue he does not plan to pursue further.

The former Red Hand skipper took over the Moy job as player-manager in mid-season when the club was hovering close to the drop zone, in danger of suffering successive relegations from Divisions One to Three.

A spectacular revival saw them reach the Intermediate Championship final and qualify for the promotion play-offs, losing out in both.

“I never had any real ambitions to go into management,” he said.

“I had retired a couple of years ago as a player and I was only coaxed back because we were short.

“At this stage I have no real ambitions to kick on.

“I love the club, but I have a busy life and a busy family and a busy business.

“I was delighted to come in this year along with Gary (Millar) and try to push the club on a wee bit, and I think we did that in the last few months. But I would imagine its now somebody else’s turn to try and do that.”

Sean Cavanagh retired from county football in 2017 after winning three All-Irelands, six Ulster titles and five Allstars while playing for Tyrone
Sean Cavanagh retired from county football in 2017 after winning three All-Irelands, six Ulster titles and five Allstars while playing for Tyrone

Cavanagh admitted that Moy didn’t do enough to deserve to get the better of a strong Coalisland side at Pomeroy on Sunday.

“Sometimes you get what you deserve and sometimes you don’t, and on the two big days when we needed to pull out big performances, particularly in the first halves of those days, we probably left ourselves a wee bit short and left ourselves with a mountain to climb.

“And when you leave yourselves short, better teams will punish you.”

After playing with wind advantage in the first half, Moy trailed by a point at the interval, and finished on the wrong end of a six points margin.

“There was probably a three to four point breeze, and we went in a point down.

“We had to chase it a wee bit, we actually had goal chances, but it always felt that we were chasing it, whereas had we had something to protect in that second half, we could have played the way we wanted to play a little bit better.

“We had to open ourselves up, and whenever you open yourself up, you leave yourself exposed at the back.

“And you could see Coalisland, with a few long balls in, maybe getting a goal or two in that second half, which really put the game beyond us.

“But that’s Tyrone football. Whenever you have to chase stuff against good teams, they punish you.

ends