There is perhaps more than a touch of irony attached to a situation whereby a high-profile Australian Rules training camp is taking place in Mayo in the week leading up to an All Ireland semi-final involving one of the AFL’s prime targets.
Tyrone’s Sean Cavanagh has spurned at least two concerted advances to carve out a fresh career Down Under, having first come to the attention of the AFL scouts when the Red Hands won their initial All Ireland title five years ago.
Cavanagh has, of course, since added a second All Ireland medal to his collection and remains one of the most successful players within the GAA as a whole.
His ongoing contribution to Tyrone’s cause still elicits covetous glances from those charged with persuading some of the GAA’s brightest stars to change codes.
Cavanagh, though, is not for turning.
“Yes, I’ve had another approach quite recently but I’m very happy just to be involved with Tyrone.
“We did not think a few weeks ago that we would be bidding to book our place in the All Ireland final and obviously we are delighted to be going in against Wexford on Sunday. That’s my only focus right now,” stresses the strapping Moy clubman.
Currently holding down the full-forward berth rather than manning a midfield slot as has been his wont over recent years, Cavanagh’s value to Tyrone has increased sharply.
When manager Mickey Harte found himself without several established players at various stages over the past year, it was to performers like Cavanagh that he turned for inspiration and leadership.
It goes without saying that Cavanagh was not found wanting.
“I go out to do my best. We shipped a bit of criticism at the start of the championship and maybe rightly so. But we have gained in confidence, we have had a few decent wins and now we want to take it to the next level against Wexford,” insists accountant Cavanagh.
Earlier in the summer, it looked as if he would be operating in tandem with his younger brother Colm in the side.
But a collar-bone injury sustained against Westmeath in the qualifiers has kept Colm on the sidelines recently. However, he will be back in the squad for Sunday and naturally Sean is pleased to see him available again.
“Both of us were injured against Westmeath. My injury looked worse than it was but Colm has had a frustrating time lately. He is glad to be getting back into the groove,” says Sean.
While Sean will be expected to fire the Tyrone attack up from the start against lively Wexford, Colm may get a little game time before the end.
And that would certainly provide him with a timely fillip as he bids to improve his match fitness.
He will surely be in the frame for the All Ireland final should Tyrone manage to win on Sunday but no one in their camp is looking beyond the formidable task that they feel a reinvigorate Wexford side will pose in Croke Park.
“We were very pleased with the way we played against Dublin but Wexford is a new challenge.
“We have to be up for it and make sure we do the basics well,” says Sean.