Colm Cavanagh has dispossessed big brother Sean of his midfield role in the Tyrone side — and the latter is delighted.
Three eye-catching performances in the central area by the younger member of the Cavanagh clan against Cork, Galway and Kerry have now enhanced his chances of selection there for the vital National Football League Division One showdown against Dublin on Sunday week.
And manager Mickey Harte is hopeful that Colm’s partnership with the rapidly-emerging Aidan Cassidy will prove an important mechanism within the side when the Red Hands launch the defence of their Ulster Championship title shortly.
The versatile 20-year-old Colm was still recovering from surgery during January when he had been expected to assist UUJ in the Barrett Sports Lighting Dr McKenna Cup but his return to fitness coincided with the start of the league.
And when he landed a goal against Derry in Tyrone’s opening round defeat it provided the impetus for his solid personal contribution to the team’s campaign since then even if results have not quite gone according to plan.
Now, as Tyrone fight for their Division One lives, Colm is fulfilling the role undertaken by triple All Ireland winning brother Sean with such distinction since 2003.
“I’m just pleased to be in the side,” says Colm.
“Both Sean and I underwent surgery for ankle injuries after Tyrone went out of the All Ireland semi-finals against Cork last August and we had lengthy spells of rehabilitation.”
He continues: “I’m grateful to be getting my chance and obviously I am very keen to play against Dublin.
“Sean has come back into the side very strongly at centrethreequarters and has been doing very well.”
While Colm bagged his second goal in the league against Kerry, Sean too had a substantial input landing two points from play and proving the architect of much of the Red Hands’ attacking strategy in what was the first game in which he had been given a starting place since that All Ireland ‘semi’ against Cork.
He had been introduced as a substitute in the league defeat against Galway but is currently looking increasingly comfortable in the No 11 shirt.
And he sees Colm’s form at midfield alongside Augher clubman Cassidy as a distinct bonus.
“Colm seems to have settled in well there and I’m delighted for him,” says Sean.
“In fact, I have to say that it’s very pleasing to see all four Moy club players — Colm and myself along with Philip Jordan and Ryan Mellon back in the Tyrone squad.”