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Magical Moy have eased my Tyrone pain, says Cavanagh

 

By John Campbell

Sean Cavanagh today provides the Ulster Council with a glowing endorsement of its frontline club championships just as the curtain is set to come down on the provincial fixtures itinerary.

And in the process, the triple O'Neill county All-Ireland winner offers what is a fresh insight into the role of the clubs.

With inter-county fare dominating the greater part of the year, and an ongoing clamour within the corridors of power to see the status of club competitions elevated, Cavanagh's ringing testimony will be music to the ears of GAA chiefs.

He may just recently have called time on his glittering inter-county career but since then he has entered what he alludes to as "a whole new world" with his club Moy Tir na nOg, who face Rostrevor in the Ulster intermediate football championship final at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh on Sunday (3.00pm).

And any notion that the 34-year-old Red Hands legend will be going through the motions is not so much dispelled as totally rubbished by the player himself - and with good reason.

"It almost seems like fate that I am where I am," reflects Cavanagh. "I have been playing for the Moy senior team since I was 15 and about 10 minutes after retiring as a county player I'm now getting success for the first time at club level would you believe!

"I can now really start to relate to the way players in Crossmaglen and Slaughtneil with whom I have played in the Ulster side felt when they were talking about the special club feeling and bond they had experienced through being successful.

"Now I'm starting to feel it - and what a feeling it is.

"It's as good as pulling on a Tyrone jersey and going out to play at Croke Park. When we played Newbridge in the Ulster club semi-final, I can't describe what it was like to see the whole Moy community and my family seated in the stand.

"The buzz and feeling around my own house has been magical.

"(My brother) Colm got his All Star too, but to be in this final with Moy is just extra special.

"The buzz when we reached this final was as good as any I have experienced in the build-up to All-Ireland finals with Tyrone.

"We are riding the crest of a wave and I've forgotten that I've retired from the county scene," smiles Cavanagh.

"And that's because I'm enjoying life that much with the club.

"With the arrival of baby Sean, getting an honour in Dublin from the Tyrone Association and reaching this intermediate final, it has really been a special few weeks in my life.

"The club and my family helped to pick me up after that dark day (semi-final defeat) in Croke Park against Dublin. Ever since that it has been blue skies."

Cavanagh's wife Fionnula, a member of the famous sporting Vernon family, is a native of Armagh - meaning the Moy club have even succeeded in getting Orchard county backing for their final tilt!

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