Sean Cavanagh: "Losing in those difficult circumstances, it just left a sour taste in my mouth"

Cavanagh was discussing his decision to play on into 2017

Sean Cavanagh: "Losing in those difficult circumstances, it just left a sour taste in my mouth"

Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh is sent off for a challenge on Mayo's Aidan O'Shea. Image: ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh was due to retire from inter-county football in 2016 but after being sent off in the All-Ireland quater-final against Mayo, he changed his mind. 

Cavanagh's swansong season looked to be heading for the perfect climax. Tyrone won the Ulster title against Donegal and had their sights set on another All-Ireland only to come unstuck against Mayo and lose by a point.

Cavanagh, a talisman for his county over the years, was sent off in the second half and Mayo progressed to the semi-final.

Speaking to Off the Ball's Oisin Langan about his decision to play on in 2017 Cavanagh said: "I suppose 2016 ended very dissapointingly for me personally in the Mayo game and part of the team having gone unbeaten through the whole of last year, I know we played division 2 but still, having gone unbeaten the entire year up until that match and losing in those difficult circumstances - it just left a sour taste in my mouth.

"The hunger was definitely there to come back. That coupled with the sort of age I'm at now - you do have to re-assess your body and your fitness and your strenght and whether you're in the proper condition to come back.

"I always said I wouldn't come back unless I was able to do the full training with everyone and keep pace with everyone. I felt pretty good and had a chat with Mickey and he was happy to take me back," he added.

 

 Sean Cavanagh of Tyrone lifts The Anglo Celt Cup. Image: ©INPHO/Presseye/Andrew Paton

Reflecting on last year, he said: "The way things were going last year, progressing through Ulster quiet nicely, we probably expected to go the (All Ireland) final ourselves so it's probably not just me that's driven by the (possible) success but certainly it's a huge factor."

Speaking about the current contract impasse between the Tyrone County Board and team manager Mickey Harte, Cavanagh said: "I suppose there has been that little bit of niggle between the Tyrone County Board in the past and some of the decisions they have made.

"To be honest, I don't know the full ins and outs of it. I've read the reports in the media and what not. It's outside of our control. It doesn't overly surprise me. I'm not sure what the protocol is in terms of extensions and what not but it doesn't change what Mickey does from day-to-day with us.

"The buck stops with him. We see him as our boss and not the county board. We'll continue to do what we do and hopefully that will bring us some success," he added.