As the legendary Sean Cavanagh brings the curtain down on his illustrious county career, we take a look at some of his lesser known greatest hits:
- SHOULDER CHARGE ON FRANCIE BELLEW
Back in 2005, Tyrone and Armagh were in the midst of healthy pure hatred. Armagh were our North Korea and Francie Bellew was Kim Jong-un. In the third and most crucial game that season between the two, Francie was running about hitting boys with his knee, elbows and stuff, like normal. Sean finally decided that enough was enough that day and met Francie with a shoulder which reverberated around the stadium and whose shockwaves incidentally wrecked part of the new Cusack Stand. Bellew’s bones were still rattling as he took his seat to watch the All-Ireland final a few weeks later. After Geezer was inexplicably shown the line by his manager, a rapturous cheer erupted through Croker as the big man leapt like a Torrent trout over Coalisland to field a kickout and stride the rest of the pitch to chip over a fine coffin-nail score.
2. SHIMMY SENDS DICK CLERKIN INTO A SPIN
Two years later and Tyrone were playing Monaghan in Clones. Dick Clerkin never liked Tyrone. Some say it was because a boy from Trillick wiped his eye with a girl from Clontribret at the Gaeltacht when they were 16. I dunno. But Sean knew Dick hated us as Dick would mutter stuff like ‘red handed hoors’ during the parade. So Sean pulled his Category A shimmy, usually reserved for special occasions, and sent Dick into a spin like never before. Dick continued to spin for the rest of the game and into the changing rooms and onto the bus. At the post match meal he was still spinning and completely messed up his shirt with a plate of spaghetti Bolognese. Dick still hates Tyrone. The First Glorious Shimmy some say was taught to Cavanagh by an Edendork lad slipping on black ice getting on the bus at The Academy in Dungannon, before Seán’s Armagh days. Sean first displayed this “Geezer Teaser” in his debut in 2002. It’s said three different men from Crossmaglen were left (and still are to this day) – cross-eyed at the wondrous side step and following point. There’s talk that his shimmy is to be retired in the Croke Park Museum but must be looked at through sunglasses for fear of becoming another Dick or a pile of Dicks if looked at collectively.
3. TURNING DOWN L’OREAL CONTRACT
Whilst a lot of GAA players are lured away from these shores by the promise of a career in Aussie Rules, Sean Cavanagh stayed true to his county and refused repeated attempts by L’Oreal to be their face of L’Oreal Paris Shampoo and Conditioner. Sean’s hair has been much admired by the general public since he made his senior breakthrough in 2002. Despite the holy trinity ravages of Age, Clerkin and Bellew, the Moy man has managed to maintain his untainted barnet in perfect condition much the annoyance of the McCann brothers who have tried to mimic his magnificence unsuccessfully. L’Oreal finally stopped harassing Cavanagh in 2014 when he was caught buying a can of Just For Men in Killyman although he claimed it was for Philly Jordan.
By Landan Seamy
Local spy Sean McGrinny suspects that the anti northern bias in the GAA is even more entrenched than he had previously suspected.
“I heard that RTE is looking for ideas for new programmes to air during the championship season this year so as work in my line tends to be quite slack during Lent when people go off the beer I came up with an idea and decided to research it.
“My idea was to do a programme a bit like the part of Question of Sport when they ask what happens next. I recorded some matches and then looked out for fouls. I would pause the play as soon as I spotted one with the intention of asking “What will the referee do next?”
“When I spotted a Dublin, Kerry or Mayo hallion infringing the rules of our national sport I would pause the video with the intention of jotting down which of the four options the referee would go for:
(a) free with no card
(b) yellow card
(c) black card
(d) red card.
“To my dismay, however, half the time the cynical southern ref would just ignore it and that wasn’t even one of the options. This totally spoiled my idea but having 5 options on the screen would look too messy.
“I also noticed that any time a northern player accidentally infringed the rules there would be a certain black card so again that doesn’t help my programme for it became too easy to predict. The programme would end up going like this:
“Sean Cavanagh accidentally touches some Free Stater. What will the referee do next?”
“Issue a black card”
“Some people may think I’m biased but that’s wrong. Take the Tipperary and Derry match last summer. I looked at it again and Tipperary got far more frees than Derry and I’m saying that as a Tyrone man who has as healthy a dislike of Derry ones as any of my neighbours.
Sean’s wife Kate, who has asked to remain anonymous, has said that she thinks her husband is on to something but suggests that he has not quite hit the nail on the head this time.
She has looked at the videos too and has noticed that it is just the most handsome players that are treated harshly by the referees.
“Of course it is correct to say that lots of cards are issued to players like Sean Cavanagh, Tiernan McCann, Mark Bradley etc” she said. “Strictly speaking however” she continued “The reason why a disproportionate amount of northern players are getting the cards is just that most of the handsome players come from up here.”
It has emerged tonight that a soaring spike in the cost of standard hair gel has forced the Tyrone County Board to ask for a few pounds a month from players to cover the backdrop in finances.
A leaked document last week indicated that, despite changing to the cheaper but less effective Boots version of men’s hair gel, over £30’000 was being spent on gel, hair dye and tanning products.
A squad member sent us an email this evening, complaining of the poor standard of gel which left players feeling vulnerable and exposed during the rain-drenched Saturday night game against Dublin a fortnight ago.
“It’s bad enough that the gel is now of a lesser standard than the stuff Mugsy and big Sean used to use in the last decade, but they’re making us pay for it. Tiernan McCann was black carded last week because he couldn’t even see the player coming towards him as the cheap stuff was tearing the eyes out of him. And why do you think McCurry’s accuracy is off?”
The email also suggests that Sean Cavanagh has been told they can’t afford the dye any more and we’re to expect a more “salt’n’pepper” look from the Moy legend in 2017.
Croke Park officials have subsequently asked Tyrone GAA to pay for the extra watering needed for their pitch after the cheaper brand of tan washed off onto their turf during the exciting NFL draw.
“Niall Sludden was completely unrecognisable at the end of the game in that we thought he was a spectator trying to break into the changing rooms at the end. He changed two shades. They County Board have ended up spending more by cutting costs. Pure shambles. “
Players are being asked to pay a direct debit of £3 a month into an Abbey National account in Clogher.
In what has been described as a testing year with unprecedented levels of attention and scrutiny, Tiernan McCann’s tremendous hair has finally spoken out about its 12 months in the spotlight since rufflegate in August 2015.
In an exclusive interview, McCann’s sensational hair explained how trying the winter months were in the aftermath of the All Ireland quarter final:
“It’s been tough. The Kerry semi final was a taste of things to come. Kerry players were coming up close to me and staring at me and saying things like ‘mousse-head’ and ‘Elvis’. But that was mild compared to the abuse I’d get back home in places like Clonoe or Carrickmore. I just wanted to curl up and dye.”
2016 appears to have been a more pleasant experience for the beautifully follicled mullet with All-Star performances the norm throughout the championship and a new host of admirers across the island:
“Mickey Harte has been great. He brought in a new conditioner and it has given me my old strength back. On Sunday the McGees were saying all types of stuff to me like ‘gel-breath’ and ‘Dracula’ but this just drips off me now and I gleam resplendently, especially in warm weather.”
The Killyclogher hairpiece is due to release its first autobiography called ‘Hairway To Hell And Back And Sides’ in a final act of its journey towards redemption which will hopefully see the tremendous mane back to its former glory:
“I’m not 100% but almost there. Although some say I’m head and shoulders above most other hairstyles in the game today, I still have bad days. The Derry ones were calling me ‘Sherlock Combs’, ‘Jack the Clipper’, ‘Fat Boy Trim’ and other cutting remarks and it still hurts but there are more good hair days than bad.”
Meanwhile, Jonathan Munroe and Conor Gormley are to have a charity shouldering competition this weekend to raise money for the local school. The Carrickmore men are to run at each other from a distance of 30 yards and shoulder each other. The first man to hit the ground loses.
Tyrone County spokesperson Mary Fitzgerald admitted ‘we’ll not be doing that again‘ after the senior squad’s Secret Santa ended in bitter acrimony and fist-fighting.
The new county bonding initiative, which sees a player secretly pick a team mate’s name out of a hat at the end of November and then anonymously buy a present for them, is a staple festive gesture in offices and businesses across the planet.
Fitzgerald explained how the event began in bad taste at the county’s centre of excellence in Garvaghey:
“First out of the hat has Tiernan McCann’s present. Someone had bought him a pair of hair straighteners and a mirror. McCann never smiled once when on stage to collect his and even muttered something about them being ‘them oul shite Boots ones anyway‘ under his breath. I could see Colm Cavanagh a bit more red-faced than usual in the crowd.”
Apparently, the worst reaction was Mark Bradley who received a ladder and a note which said ‘that is for when you’re washing the skirting boards‘.
“Bradley went clean mad when he saw Ronan O’Neill smirking and went over to him and battered the head off him with the ladder. Then when Sean Cavanagh got his present, a scuba-diving outfit, the place erupted with players loyal to the captain slapping away at some of the new-comers to the squad who were chief suspects.”
The Secret Santa session was then immediately halted after Mickey Harte received his present, a Nazi soldier fancy dress outfit. Fingers were pointed at some of the Ardboe players not in the squad any more, who had somehow managed to sneak the present into the bag via a current player’s cooperation.
Meanwhile, in some good news the initiative raised £300 for charity. This year’s chosen charity is The Midges Conservation Trust.
A hairdresser in Killyclogher revealed this morning that she has already sold over 30’000 units of Tiernan McCann’s inimitable hairstyle after advertising it in the Tyrone Star earlier in the week.
McCann, who will likely line out for the Red Hands on Sunday against reigning champions Kerry, had his 8-week suspension overturned late last night for over-reacting to a Monaghan player’s attempt to dishevel his finest quality.
In a show of support for the Killyclogher player, local hairdresser Linda McHugh commissioned one life-size copy of McCann’s wig only to be inundated with requests since it made its first public appearance.
“I initially only ordered one for a lad who came into the shop looking for ‘a McCann’ but he was already a skinhead. So I had to order a similar-looking one from a Japanese website and then glue it onto his head. When the lad wore it to training that night, I received over 300 calls in the morning from men, women and children looking one as well. The Japanese crowd were only too obliging and put their slaves or whatever they have to work on it immediately.”
Moy man and Tyrone expert Colly ‘Dog’ McKill is sure that the sight of 40’000 McCann wigs will swing the game in Tyrone’s favour if it’s tight late on:
“As long as we don’t concede 4 or 8 or even 6 goals early on we’ll be in with a shout on the hour mark. And when the likes of Gooch or Donaghy look up at the Hill and see thousands of black quiffs guldering back at them it might be enough to see Tyrone over the line. I think so anyway.”
A Strabane tanning salon has also witnessed a spike in sun-bed bookings this week with many wanting the full-body McCann experience. The owner, Tony O’Neill, has since stopped the sun-bed option after a GAA aficionado told him Kerry men are usually fairly tanned, being closer to the equator than Tyrone, and that it might be seen as an act of defiance against Tyrone.
The wigs retail at £39.99 and can be purchased in all good supermarkets and small confectionery shops. You can get them for £37.99 if you use the promo code ‘tyronetribulations.’