Colm Cavanagh may have played his last game for Tyrone. The All-Star midfielder has indicated that the passing years, combined with mounting personal commitments, have combined to force him to consider bringing his inter-county career to an end.
Cavanagh (32) is the only member of the current squad who possesses an All-Ireland medal, won back in 2008 in a memorable victory over Kerry.
The Kingdom have since turned the tables on their fierce northern rivals, confirming their modern-day dominance in Sunday’s semi-final as they came from behind to set up a meeting with champions Dublin in the decider.
“I’ll be 33 this time next year, and it’s a young man’s game,” he said. “I’m getting older, my second baby is due this week as well. It’ll probably be one of those things that I’ll sit down and have a think about.
Cavanagh yesterday fuelled speculation that he may call it a day by tweeting a photograph if himself with two-year-old daughter Chloe, taken at Croke Park following Sunday’s defeat, and captioned ‘We had a good run daddy’.
The Moy man, an All-Star for the past two seasons, will leave a huge void in the team when he goes. The sweeper role he has perfected over the past four seasons has been at the core of Tyrone’s counter-attacking strategy, and he will be difficult to replace. But he’s confident that the county is in a healthy state, and that success is not far away.
“There’s a lot of good lads coming through there in Tyrone, a lot of young, bright footballers, and they’re going in the right direction. We’ve made three semi-finals in a row, we were in a final last year and imploded a wee bit.
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“There are some seriously talented footballers and I genuinely believe they can do it (win the All-Ireland). I genuinely believe that they will do it, with or without me. If it’s without me, I wish them all the success. They’re a special group of guys and I think there’ll be something coming back to Tyrone.”
Should this be the end of the road for Cavanagh, he signs off with regrets that a second successive All-Ireland final appearance proved beyond the Red Hands as they lost out to a rampant Kerry side on Sunday.
“We were in control of that game for long periods of time, but you have to give credit to Kerry, they turned the screw in the second half. They have some quality footballers there, and they stepped up. The goal was a massive score for them, it as a momentum shifter.”
And the Red Hand veteran feels Kerry will need to perform to the peak of their powers if they are to halt Dublin’s drive for five in the decider on September 1.
“Any team is beatable on their day, any team can be beaten on one day. But to do that, I think Kerry will need to play out of their skins.
“If they have the same half of football as they had against us in the first half, that won’t be good enough against Dublin.
“We saw how Dublin were able to turn the screw against Mayo on Saturday, so in order for Kerry to do it, they’ll need their big players to step up to the mark. They’ll need goals and they’ll need to cut the goals out at their end as well.”