Cavanagh: I felt stale
Sean Cavanagh has admitted that 2009 wore him down, a veiled acknowledgement that perhaps there may have been some substance to manager Mickey Harte's contention in his autobiography that "the roof caved in" on the former Footballer of the Year last season, writes colm keys.
Harte's comments, centred on the player's omission from the All-Ireland semi-final team to start against Cork after complaining of flu-like symptoms on the morning of the game, have not caused a rift between the two.
In Tuam on Sunday, Cavanagh made his second seasonal appearance when he was introduced at half-time.
Afterwards, he acknowledged that 2009 had been a tiring year.
"I feel an awful lot fresher. Even mentally I feel stronger. I felt that in 2009 I was getting a wee bit tired and a wee bit stale. I'd been on the go for a long time," he said.
He acknowledged that 2008 was an "exceptional year" and that a seven-month break from the Cork game up to this month has now had serious benefits.
" I felt I needed a bit of a break. I can feel my body a bit stronger now as well. I had been playing with injections in my ankle for the past few years and my ankle hasn't felt as strong since I was 16 or 17. I'm really looking forward to building on my fitness and improving on my sharpness."
Cavanagh feels strong enough to start a match and dropped a hint to that effect after Sunday's defeat to Galway.
"With every training session and every game I can feel myself getting sharper. I don't think I'm too far away, but I suppose you'd have to ask Mickey that. I wouldn't say no to 70 minutes against Kerry in Omagh next weekend."
He appreciates that the pressure is on and that beating Kerry is imperative if they are to survive in the top flight.
"A few years ago Healy Park was a real fortress so hopefully we can make it that again," he said. "We have to push on. There was no one more disappointed leaving Tuam than us. We have to take responsibility for our own reactions, we have to start fighting back and that starts next Saturday night."