Wednesday 21 February 2018

Cavanagh wary of McGleenan factor

Seán Cavanagh with his daughter Eva and former Tyrone footballer and current Cavan boss Mattie McGlennan in 2015. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland
Seán Cavanagh with his daughter Eva and former Tyrone footballer and current Cavan boss Mattie McGlennan in 2015. Picture: INPHO/Billy Stickland
Donnchadh Boyle

Donnchadh Boyle

Seán Cavanagh has warned his Tyrone team-mates that Mattie McGleenan will have Cavan "playing out of their skins" for their visit to Omagh on Sunday.

Tyrone native McGleenan has taken charge of the Cavan footballers for the 2017 season and Cavanagh has first-hand experience of his coaching.

Their paths first crossed back in 2000 when a St Pat's Armagh side, powered by Cavanagh and former Armagh star Ronan Clarke, secured MacRory Cup glory. McGleenan also had a spell in charge of Cavanagh's Moy club a few years back.

And having already overseen a defeat of the Red Hand in the McKenna Cup last month, he expects him to have the Breffni men primed as the former Tyrone footballer returns to home turf.

"Mattie's a personal friend," Cavanagh said, ahead of the Healy Park showdown. "He coached me in the MacRory Cup back in 2000 in Armagh. He coached me for the club for a couple of years around '07, '08, '09. He's a great, great fella.

"I would be in constant contact with him, he lives only over the road in Eglish. He's obviously getting a tune out of Cavan at the minute, they're playing out of their skins.


"The type of guy he is, he'll always get the buy-in of the players. I said that before he came on board and you can see how the Cavan guys are responding to him.

"He got (our) scalp up in Kingspan Breffni Park in the McKenna Cup and I've no doubt he'll be looking to come to Healy Park and send out a message as well.

"That's going to be a tough for us no doubt about that. He'll know how to make life difficult for us. It's obviously our job to make life difficult for him."

Cavanagh isn't surprised he has landed an inter-county job.

"I knew the qualities he had from schools and club football. He's a great manager, very, very clever, and he gets the best out of all the players he works with.

"He just loves it. You can hear it in his interviews and see it in his interviews, he's got that zest for football and football management. He really is made for it. I've no doubt he'll be successful."

Cavan took a four-point win when the sides met in the opening round of the McKenna Cup and while Cavanagh pointed out the Red Hand were down a number of players that day, he expects the Breffni men to arrive in Omagh in confident mood.

"When you've won so many McKenna Cup games, you automatically assume that you're going to continue to win. But one thing I'd say is that we were short of players I suppose at that point. We maybe only togged out 19 players that day and had to bring in a few extra players for the Jordanstown game.

"Players were injured and with their clubs and whatever. It was a Tyrone team there were beaten by Cavan, you have to take it on the chin. We didn't perform.

"You could see the Cavan guys, even though it was only early January, they were buzzing. They really took an awful lot out of that game. We have to be ready for them because we know they're a tough proposition on their day."

Mickey Harte's current term expires at the end of the current season, and some confusion over whether he will be at the helm next year exists after the board refused a request to extend his term last year.

And while Cavanagh is insistent that Harte will be in charge for the foreseeable future, he believes that with the likes of McGleenan and other Tyrone natives cutting their managerial teeth in other counties and roles, the county will be well-served in terms of possible replacements.

"I think we're lucky in Tyrone," he said. "Paddy Tally has been with other counties, Brian McGuckin is in Derry at the minute, you've Mattie in Cavan. There's been a number of Tyrone men that have gone to ply their trade.

"We're probably blessed in Tyrone, we have a good level of GAA knowledge and GAA ethos in the county.

"Obviously the U-21 guys are going very well in the county at the minute, the probably natural progression would be the likes of Feargal (Logan) and you mention the name Peter Canavan and Brian Dooher, those names are synonymous with success in the county.

"So if and when Mickey does decide to step aside, we'll be well-stocked in terms of who steps in."

Irish Independent

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