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Sean Cavanagh must wait until taking over as Tyrone captain

By Declan Bogue

It might be a couple of months before Sean Cavanagh takes on the captain's armband for Tyrone, as he continues his rehabilitation from a groin strain.

Speaking at the launch of the 2014 Dr McKenna Cup, the Moy midfielder confirmed he is allowing his body to heal up after a long and demanding season.

In 2013, he played an astonishing 1,456 minutes of football for Tyrone alone, being ever-present from the first McKenna Cup game to the All-Ireland semi-final defeat against Mayo. Add to that his commitments with Ulster in the inter-provincial championship and the two tests for Ireland in the International Rules washout, along with a trying season for his club, then it is clear that he was ready for a break.

"Whenever the International Rules and the club football got finished up, I think it was 27nd October, at that stage your body and your mind, everything is completely ready for a rest," he revealed.

"It's been five, six weeks since then and I haven't lifted a weight or went near a football field or even looked at the football boots."

Cavanagh took a hammering for that infamous tackle on Conor McManus in the All-Ireland quarter-final against Monaghan and admitted: "I have been lucky, I suppose, in the aftermath of the Mayo game. It almost helps sometimes to get back into football even though you don't feel like it.

"It forces you back in and distracts you from all the hurt you are feeling around that time and I was distracted right away. It wasn't hard to draw a line under the county scene and get that out of your system."

A couple of weeks ago he was called by manager Mickey Harte to meet him in person and when they hooked up, Harte offered him the Tyrone captaincy.

"It was a massive lift," he says. You always look forward to a season, now as captain it gives you that wee bit more responsibility that you have to go and get yourself right too, to be around the guys, be on the training pitch as soon as possible to drive on.

"I think we saw last year that we were in good shape early on in the season and we were able to carry that through. That winning feeling, we got through the McKenna Cup last year and we were able to bring it into the league."

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