By Paddy Hunter
COVID-19 is not going to call a premature halt to Colm Cavanagh’s Tyrone playing career.
Having considered his future in Tyrone colours after last year’s All-Ireland semi-final loss to Kerry at Croke Park, the 32-year-old confirmed he would be giving things another go in 2020.
“At least one more season,” was his catchphrase at the start of this year. Yet before he was back in full harness for Mickey Harte this season, the GAA ground to a halt on March 12.
While everything remains up in the air about a possible resumption of matches, the veteran Moy campaigner has confirmed the Covid-19 virus won’t end his career.
“I suppose I have been joking about retirement for a couple of seasons now but I had made the decision I would be back this year. I was getting into a good place and as I have said so often there is no better feeling.
“It’s what I love to do but as this has gone on, we all have missed the sport, the training, I suppose that buzz. I am still very motivated and this isn’t going to end my career, that’s for sure.”
Cavanagh, like every other player, has been left to embark on his own personal training programe. While some my struggle with ‘solitary confinement’ after four and five nights together every week, Cavanagh remains positive.
“I have never had a problem keeping motivated and keeping to a routine, you have to keep active for mind as well as body. That’s possibly more important now.
“I use whatever I have to train with that’s handy. You have to make do, I run, do some skills and then some work with what I have about. But it’s all about keeping the routine, that is key to keeping going.”
Cavanagh, who made his debut in the 2007 McKenna Cup has also turned his hand to additional family chores during lockdown and while he admits looking after two young children is different, the midfielder is loving the experience.
“It really is fantastic and a real positive for me. You have to take something positive from this lockdown and this certainly is one of a few. I do know now what my wife has to cope with while I am out training or playing.
“It is an enjoyable time in that sense but I am missing that buzz with the boys a few nights a week. I suppose the thought of missing that has brought me back.
“Don’t get me wrong I am enjoying every minute of it, normally we have great family members to help out but now it’s just the two of us. It’s different but I have to say great all the same.”
The notion that the championship could resume without supporters has been touted in a handful of quarters, and while some managers would likely support it, Cavanagh would not.
“I wouldn’t want to play without the supporters. No, I don’t think it would be right. I suppose though if it was that or no football well that may be different but I think we all would want the supporters. It’s probably one of the reasons why I play.
“I love playing in front of the crowds, your supporters, family and friends, you live for those big days. I remember getting photos taken with my family on the pitch after a play-off win or whatever, those are special.
“Playing without fans would still be hard to turn down if it is the only show in town, as I said it would have to be given thought by everybody.”