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Sean Cavanagh bows out as a legend who gave his all for Tyrone

 

By Declan Bogue

After 289 senior appearances, 89 of them in Championship football, and 9-184 in those encounters, Sean Cavanagh has called it a day for Tyrone.

He departs the scene with six Ulster titles, three All-Irelands and a wealth of personal accolades, along with the usual International Rules and Inter-Provincial honours.

And yet he insists that none of them are on the mantlepiece at home.

"I've never dwelled on it," explains the accountant from the Moy.

"I don't have one picture of myself, I don't have one trophy in the house, I don't have one medal in my house… maybe I'll start looking for those!" he joked.

Asked if that was a conscious decision not to remind himself of what he had achieved while he was still in the throes of a playing career, he gave the press corps a belly laugh in replying, "I never wanted to dwell on what I've ever won. It doesn't match my wife's décor at times either, that's the reality. I had one picture of myself and Colm lifting Sam Maguire, that's all I had, and she put that into the attic a few years ago.

"I walk away and hold my head up high because all I ever wanted to do was to give all I possibly had for that jersey."

All through the years, the 34-year old has been an emotional being. Last year he had tears ready to burst with the frustration of a non-performance against Mayo, but this time he got all choked up because it was his last time, adding that it was a little easier this time as Dublin were just so comprehensively excellent.

"It's all I know, representing Tyrone and just loving my county like anyone else. I grew up supporting my county, I'll always support the county," he added.

"I've done my best. I've tried, I've given everything I possibly can for as long as I possibly can. I've had an amazing journey, I've been very lucky and successful.

"The time comes just to pass the baton on to some fantastic group of lads. I've told them in there that I'm so sorry that I couldn't help bring the success that some of the older guys helped to bring me at any stage. It's not for the want of trying."

It is becoming a fascination of how good Dublin are as they chase their third consecutive All-Ireland title. Cavanagh is as big an admirer as there is.

"It's tough luck to be part of an era and a team of that magnitude that's dominating the sport that I never thought was possible to dominate."

He's knows he got lucky in the game. Many others, including his clubmate Plunkett Donaghy, got only so much out of a long involvement.

"I'm smart enough to know that I've been much more lucky than an awful lot of players who have pulled on the white and red jersey," he added.

"You have to look around some of the guys we have there at the moment and they deserve so much more for the effort and the energy and the brilliance of skill they have.

"It's just tough to take and I suppose at times you feel sorry for some of the lesser teams that maybe have brilliant individual players. I've got to know a few of them through international rules and Railway Cups and you look at those players and think 'God help you' because you maybe just don't get that recognition in terms of trophies etc. I've been lucky to get that."

Luck was one thing. He also made it happen.

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