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'It was the first time my two kids were at the game, it was a real emotional feeling'

It was a special day for Sean Cavanagh at Croke Park over the weekend.

Cavanagh lifts the cup in the Hogan Stand.
Cavanagh lifts the cup in the Hogan Stand.

SUNDAY WAS A memorable occasion for Sean Cavanagh for more reasons than one.

The Tyrone forward demonstrated his enduring prowess with a polished display to guide his county to the Allianz League Division 2 title at Croke Park – and he did it all in front of his young family for the first time.

Cavanagh’s wife and two young daughters, Eva and Clara, made the journey to Dublin for the 1-17 to 0-15 win over Cavan and after lifting the cup in the Hogan Stand, he was able to share the moment with his girls.

“I was immensely proud,” he explained at the scene of the triumph yesterday. “To get the opportunity to climb the Hogan Stand steps and lift whatever cup it is a proud part of my life and something I will always remember when I finish up.

“It was the first time that my two kids were at the game, across in the Cusack Stand with my wife. I was able to go across to them at the final whistle and get the photographs.

“Just on a personal note it was a really emotional feeling and a real honour. To be able to do that in Croke Park with my two girls and have those pictures is something I will always cherish.

“They understand even though they would never go to a game – Fionnula would normally be at home babysitting as she would not normally be all that interested in the wind and the rain in Healy Park but to have them down yesterday was a special touch. It was really nice to have them there to share the moment.

Sean Cavanagh celebrates after scoring a point Cavanagh scored three points on Sunday. Source: Inpho

“It was a nice moment and something I will definitely cherish and be up there with some of the best achievements playing sport.”

The 33-year-old scored three points as he skippered Mickey Harte’s side to an encouraging win, with Ronan O’Neill’s second-half goal proving decisive at HQ.

It capped a fine league campaign for Tyrone as they remained unbeaten and laid a marker for the real business which is just around the corner.

The Red Hand county have been installed as 9/4 joint-favourites to win the Ulster championship this summer but Cavanagh is wary of the position they find themselves in.

“We have a good squad I have said that many times but it is difficult to know how close we are to Dublin, to Kerry, to Mayo even to Donegal,” he continued.

“To progress through the Ulster championship is a serious target for us at this point. If we were to get through Derry and the winners of Cavan and Armagh and get to the Ulster final again that would be serious progress for us.

“I think we can’t look any further than that stage – I hate to be throwing out clichés but it’s 2010 since we won our province. That’s the mindset – it’s job done in that we are a Division 1 team again and we won our pre-season tournaments but the real work starts now.”

Sean Cavanagh was speaking at the preview of the EirGrid GAA Football U21 All-Ireland final between Cork and Mayo on Saturday 30 April. 

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Ryan Bailey

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