Cat Kavanagh calls it quits

Michael Kavanagh, the winner of eight All-Ireland medals with Kilkenny, has ended what has been a glittering inter-county hurling career.

The St Lachtain’s (Freshford) defender enjoyed a fantastic career that also included 13 Leinster championships and five national league titles. Kavanagh follows teammates Eddie Brennan, another winner of eight Celtic Crosses, and James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick into retirement as Kilkenny undergo major change following last year’s All-Ireland success.

“There comes a time when you know it is time to go. That time has come for me,” he said.

Kavanagh had the distinction of playing at senior level with the county before he featured with the U21 side. He played for three seasons with the Kilkenny minor team, but failed to land an All-Ireland.

The next jump was on to the senior team. In 1998 he was called into the senior squad by then manager Kevin Fennelly and made his championship debut against Dublin in Parnell Park.

“Not winning a minor All-Ireland was my one regret,” Kavanagh joked.

“But really, how could I have regrets? I arrived for a golden era in Kilkenny hurling and I got to play with and against some players who will forever be remembered as giants of the game.”

He took time out to consider his future and hasn’t trained with the Cats this year.

“It is a big decision, a painful decision, but everyone knows the end of the road has to come some time,” he added. “Kilkenny are in a good place now and it is time for me to hand over to the next generation. I made the best contribution I could, and I enjoyed every moment of it. The years just flow by.”

Kavanagh was an All Star on four occasions between 2002 and 2008 and was a product of that great hurling nursery at St Kieran’s college, winning a senior championship in 1996.

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