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O'Mahony criticises Cavanagh's comments on Kerry fans and Mickey Harte

“I just think it was a bit of a cheap shot,” Aidan O’Mahony said about Sean Cavanagh’s recent remarks on the Tyrone manager.

Aidan O'Mahony and Sean Cavanagh.
Aidan O'Mahony and Sean Cavanagh.
Image: Inpho

AIDAN O’MAHONY HAS hit out at Sean Cavanagh’s “cheap shot” on Mickey Harte’s position as Tyrone manager and his remarks about Kerry supporters.

Speaking on The Sunday Game after Kerry’s All-Ireland semi-final win over Tyrone, Cavanagh suggested that it may be time for Harte to move on from the role. 

“There does come a time when that baton has to be passed on,” the Red Hand legend said of his former manager. “No one can fault Mickey Harte but time moves on.”

Earlier in the summer in his Irish Daily Star column, Cavanagh labelled Kingdom fans “patronising” for clapping the Tyrone squad out of the dressing room after Kerry defeated them in the 2012 qualifiers. 

O’Mahony admits he’s not the biggest fan of Cavanagh’s punditry. 

“We’re going on about punditry now at the moment,” he says. “I don’t know, I’ve no problem with lads analysing games and going on about teams…if I’m analysing the All-Ireland you analyse lads on the pitch and stuff.

“I can remember he was asked a question about the time in Killarney and he said something about the Kerry crowd that they were patronising and that they were clapping them onto the bus,” O’Mahony says. “I can remember that game. 

“Myself and Owen Mulligan get on great and we’ve massive respect (for each other) and I’ve massive respect for all those guys. I marked Stephen O’Neill and all these guys and Sean Cavanagh and they were the greatest guys that ever put on a jersey for Tyrone. 

“I can remember he made a comment that the Kerry crowd were patronising, they were clapping them on the bus. I remember that day.

“All that was from the Kerry crowd was Mickey Harte had gone through so much grief that time that there was so much respect for him. I saw him the last night again going on about Mickey Harte.

“I just thought for a guy that Mickey Harte made, and I’ve no problem saying that. I’d say it about myself and Jack O’Connor and Paidi O Sé who brought me in first. You look back on these guys and I wouldn’t cut the legs off them because they made me who I am today. 

“They gave me the jersey to put on my back and then made me who I am. You could say your club did and everything else but these guys believed in you. I’ve met Mickey Harte several times and he caused us plenty of heartache in 2005, 2008 but I’ve massive respect for him.

“I just think for a player to cut the legs off him so easily, you seen Owen Mulligan came out about it the last day as well. I just think it was a bit of a cheap shot,” added the Paddy Power ambassador.

AidanOMahonyMay19 Paddy Power News columnist O'Mahony.

“You know, he’s on the Sunday Game, I’m sitting here with ye so he’s obviously doing better than me! I’m joking,” he laughed.

It’s not the first time O’Mahony has been critical of the five-time All-Star. He accused him of “looking for a few headlines” after Cavanagh’s remarks on The Sunday Game in June that if Kerry were in any other province they wouldn’t have made the Super 8s. 

He also took umbrage with Cavanagh’s description of Tyrone’s defence recently. 

Meanwhile, the former Kerry defender believes Peter Keane’s side need to match-up one-on-one defensively against Dublin in the All-Ireland final on Sunday week. 

Paul Murphy acted as a spare defender in front of Tyrone’s two-man full-forward line but O’Mahony doesn’t see him fulfilling a similar role against the reigning champions. 

O’Mahony knows the sweeper role well, having been employed there on occasion during the latter years of his Kerry career, including in the 2016 All-Ireland semi-final.

“It’s a difficult role and I know Paul did it the last day as well. It’s a difficult role, because you are more or less sitting on the D. And you are there for the game.

“I remember the 2016 game and in the 72nd minute we were level and I spent the whole game just circling the D. And you can’t go out to the wing because Dublin do that game where they try and come down the middle and they are trying to open you up and come around on the loop.

“So you are trying to stay around that D and it comes to the stage where you think, ‘Am I doing anything here?’ but you actually are doing your job because you are blocking up the space.

Tadhg Morley celebrates at the final whistle with Paul Murphy Kerry's Paul Murphy celebrates at the final whistle with Tadhg Morley. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

“Teams probably train where you’re trying to get the ball into your full-forward and he’s trying to dink it off.

“Not that I was there that day but I think it worked for us in 2016 just the forwards Dublin put on that day made a difference as well because they just had the legs on us in the finish.

“But I don’t think the game the next day is a game for a sweeper role I just think you have to go man-for-man. There’s going to be times where there’s one v one scenarios and you’re just going to have to put your faith in fellas you have tracking them.”

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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