The striker was unveiled by City manager Tommy Dunne yesterday as the club’s first capture of the off-season, and after enduring some tough times in the past five years, is delighted to have tied down an all too rare two-year contract at Turner’s Cross.
Having jumped from club to club since 2007, Kavanagh’s career had previously taken a nosedive with near disastrous consequences. But after rejuvenating himself at St Patrick’s Athletic in 2011, before a frustrating campaign at Shamrock Rovers this year, the 26-year-old believes now is the time for him to show his best.
He has come a long way from the troubled period which threatened to ruin his life as well as wreck his career. In 2008 he got into serious trouble with the gardaí, while drink, drug and gambling addiction saw him leave Waterford United after only four games in 2010 and he spent four weeks in a rehab facility.
But now he’s back on the straight and narrow, focused on getting back to playing football every week.
It might not seem like much for those looking in from the outside, but when you consider around 90% of players who played in the league last season are queuing up to sign on the dole, Kavanagh has taken great comfort from the knowledge that he is in the lucky position of having a contract taking him up until the end of the 2014 campaign.
“A lot more players should be offered two-year deals in the league now. It’s something that needs to be looked at and when Tommy put it to me, I was delighted with that,” he said.
“I didn’t want to hang around and wait for any other offers because Cork City are a big club in my eyes and I wanted to come down here and help build on what they are trying to do down here.”
The overall situation amongst players in the league is a stark one. Sligo Rovers’ league-winning hero Mark Quigley, for example, has been quick to highlight that the weekend after lifting the trophy, he was joining the unemployment line.
With Christmas coming up, Kavanagh feels for the majority of players who face an uncertain future heading into the new year and again insisted that clubs need to sort out the situation.
“It’s a good thing for a player who’s out of contract to see that there is interest in them. It gives that player a bit of confidence and maybe it’s something that needs to be looked at by clubs,” he added.
“There are a lot of lads sitting around, on the dole and it’s not nice for them with Christmas coming up.
“But from my own point of view, I’m delighted to have sorted out something so soon when other lads are in a position where they have to wait until January to get a call. It’s unfortunate.”
After a season of frustration at Rovers, where he made just seven starts and scored three goals, Kavanagh plans to hit the ground running at Turner’s Cross.
“Last year was a weird one for me,” he added. “There were times during the season where I wanted to go somewhere else and play regularly but I just stuck it out.
“To be fair, the lads at the club did a lot for me. I can’t knock them but it wasn’t meant to be.”
He is familiar with some members of the City squad, having played with Kevin Murray and Davin O’Neill at Cobh Ramblers and Vinny Sullivan at Waterford. And while the season doesn’t get going for another three months, Kavanagh can’t wait.
“My main target is to play every week. It’s all going to be done right and everything else should fall into place,” he said. “I’ve always liked Cork City as a club and I was close to signing last year. I actually sat down and had a chat with Tommy but it didn’t work out at the time.
“I can see them going places and it was that bit of stability which done it for me.”