Ca­vanagh’s story an early leader in list of best sell­ers

New Ross Standard - - SPORT -

IT’S EARLY days yet in de­ter­min­ing which books will be most pop­u­lar this Christ­mas, but al­ready it looks like ‘The Ob­ses­sion - Seán Ca­vanagh, My Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy’ will be high on the sports list. When I sought a copy in The Book Cen­tre last week, I was lucky to get my hands on the last one as ap­par­ently it had been fly­ing off the shelves.

And while it’s noth­ing spe­cial in terms of a G.A.A. player’s life story, fol­low­ing the same pat­tern that can be quite pre­dictable and tire­some af­ter a while, in hind­sight I shouldn’t have been sur­prised at its strong early sales.

One thing that has be­come ap­par­ent since Ca­vanagh’s re­tire­ment as an in­ter-county player last year is that he is a mas­ter when it comes to gen­er­at­ing self-pub­lic­ity.

And for­give me if I ap­pear cyn­i­cal, but wasn’t it quite pointed that a pho­to­graph of his maimed face, af­ter a re­cent in­ci­dent in a club game with Moy, was so widely dis­trib­uted around the time that this book was hit­ting the shelves?

Ca­vanagh’s air­brushed por­trait adorns the cover, but its markedly dif­fer­ent than the im­age that was on every news­pa­per and all over so­cial me­dia of his bro­ken nose and gash un­der the eye af­ter that clash with Eden­dork.

Given that six play­ers were dis­missed in that heated game, it was nat­u­ral to as­sume that he was struck off the ball af­ter view­ing that picture, but that wasn’t the case.

An op­po­nent’s knee did the damage, and both the ref­eree and the Ty­rone

C.C.C.C. were sat­is­fied that it was an ac­ci­dent and there was no case to an­swer.

Moy dis­pute that view, but it would have helped at the out­set if Ca­vanagh had at least clar­i­fied to the gen­eral pub­lic that this didn’t hap­pen as the re­sult of a box in the face.

He comes across in this book as the type of in­di­vid­ual who would di­vide opin­ion in his na­tive county, de­spite his out­stand­ing on-field achieve­ments which in­cluded three All-Ire­land Se­nior medals.

While no­body could ever ques­tion his com­mit­ment to those great teams he played on in the noughties, there is a self­ish­ness and a de­sire to be cen­tre stage that comes across in this col­lab­o­ra­tion with Damian Lawlor, whether in­ten­tional or not.

De­spite their shared jour­ney over the past 20 years, he has a cool re­la­tion­ship with man­ager Mickey Harte that orig­i­nated in 2009 when Ca­vanagh was sick on the morn­ing of the All-Ire­land semi-fi­nal against Cork and was dropped for the game.

Harte’s own book later claimed that the ‘roof caved in’ on Ca­vanagh as a re­sult of the many de­mands placed on his time af­ter the pre­vi­ous year’s suc­cess, and the player was dis­ap­pointed to read this head­line in a news­pa­per.

Their re­la­tion­ship re­mains frosty, some­thing that was ev­i­dent dur­ing the year when Ca­vanagh was a reg­u­lar guest on ‘ The Sun­day Game’.

From a Wex­ford view­point, his re­call of our 2005 Na­tional League semi-fi­nal win over Ty­rone in Port­laoise is in­ter­est­ing.

He re­veals that the night be­fore, they stayed in Ci­ty­west Ho­tel and hit the Asian restau­rant around 8 p.m. Nor­mally they were only al­lowed chicken or beef, but they or­dered what­ever they wanted on that oc­ca­sion and paid a costly price the next day in a rain-sod­den O’Moore Park.

It was the wake-up call they needed, and less than six months later they were All-Ire­land cham­pi­ons for the sec­ond time in three years. ALAN AH­ERNE

Visit The Book Cen­tre on Wex­ford’s Main Street for the very best se­lec­tion of sports books.

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