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Sean Cavanagh is savouring his swansong
By John Harrington
Tyrone legend Sean Cavanagh has confirmed that this will be his last year playing inter-county football.
The Moy clubman, who turns 34 tomorrow, made his Tyrone senior debut back in 2002.
And because he knows his 16th season is his swansong, hes savouring every moment of it.
In my eyes, this is it and genuinely I do absolutely love every minute that I'm training, said Cavanagh yesterday.
It's absolutely Baltic in Garvaghy. But I do love going up and training. I love spending time with the guys. I know that you'll never be able to replace that camraderie that you have with the team.
We're lucky in Tyrone that we don't have any club rifts, we have everybody who turns up to train for Tyrone and play for Tyrone is 100 committed to try and do the best for Tyrone.
That environment is a great environment to be in. I'm just living it, training by training, day by day and I'm really enjoying it at the moment because I know that this will be the end of it.
2017 might be Cavanaghs last year, but hes confident that team manager Mickey Harte will remain in charge beyond the current season.
Last year the Tyrone County Board last year turned down Hartes request for an extension to his term that would see him stay in the role until the end of 2018, but Cavanagh cant imagine a Tyrone team without Harte at the helm.
Genuinely I'd be very surprised if Mickey still wasn't there next year, he said.
Like anything, it'll be determined by success but I know Mickey, he's no plans to walk away and if we can deliver for him on the pitch this year, then there's no doubt I think Mickey Harte will be back in years to come for Tyrone.
But I think we as players, we know that he's the man for the job. We don't see him as not being there next year. It's an automatic of Mickey Harte being the Tyrone manager and probably will be for a few years to come. It doesn't really change our job.
Sean Cavanagh is confident Mickey Harte will stay on as Tyrone football manager beyond the 2017 season.
If the Tyrone players continue performing as they have so far this year then Hartes job should be safe. They came agonisingly close to ending Dublins long unbeaten run when they drew with the reigning League and All-Ireland champions on Saturday night, and its a testament to the ambition in the group that they felt like it was a League point lost rather than one gained.
I suppose in the changing room there was disappointment. I suppose whenever you go away from that initial disappointment you realise you've just drawn with a team that have been unbeatable for the last two and a half years.
As I said to the players afterwards, it's probably a good thing that we are disappointed because it shows where we set our standards.
We know that it's a Dubs team that's obviously missing a few key players and the conditions obviously weren't that conducive to nice football.
But, at the same time, it's a point from the All-Ireland champions in the first game back in Croke Park. We have to take that as a positive. But, look, we know we can play better and we know Dublin can play better. Ach, it's a generally positive outlook. Three points from four.
Having played in Division Two of the Allianz League last year, Cavanagh is confident that this years campaign in Division One and the experience of playing matches against teams like Dublin will have them better prepared for Championship football.
Last year we were playing games and were playing in third gear at times and were winning them in third gear. This year we know we have to be at the top. And you find out more about players, about individuals, about systems, about everything.
You completely find out where you're at. We obviously know now the correlation between League and Championship success. Every League game is a huge game in itself, that's the way we treat it, that's the way we prepare for it.
We know that at some point in our progression we have to start beating the bigger teams. Kerry beat us a couple of years ago in the semis, Mayo beat us in the quarters last year. Dublin have been there as well.
We know that if we're looking to push on to where we want to go we have to start beating some of the bigger teams and Division One is where we want to test ourselves against them.
I suppose we obviously have aspirations to push ourselves on. We were disappointed last year not to have got through that All-Ireland quarter-final and, no disrespect to Tipperary, we would have hoped to get through to the Final and have Dublin in the Final.
That annoyed us. We're obviously looking to build on that. The natural progression now is to go to a semi-final or final. And there's no doubt that Dublin will be waiting for us at some point if we're able to do that.
EirGrid, the state-owned company that manages and develops Ireland's electricity grid, enters its third year of sponsorship of this competition. It has a programme of activity, including the introduction of the EirGrid player of the provincial championship, planned to promote the Championship and recognise the talent on display at this grade. #EirGridGAA