Kavanagh yearns for interprovincial Celtic Cross

Rory Kavanagh is one of three Donegal men in action this afternoon for Ulster against Connacht in Interprovincial football semi-final in Markievicz Park, in Sligo.(Throw in 2 pm).

Rory Kavanagh is one of three Donegal men in action this afternoon for Ulster against Connacht in Interprovincial football semi-final in Markievicz Park, in Sligo.(Throw in 2 pm).

Rory, who will receive his second Inter-provincial cap this afternoon, is hoping to erase the experience of two years ago when he won his first against Munster, in Fermoy.

BY TOM COMACK

“It did not go well for us that day. It was a horrible day weather-wise; it was a small tight pitch and there were no more than 200 people at the game and we were well beaten,” explained Rory.

“Hopefully, we can get a better result and today will be overall a better experience and that we make it through to the final.”

While doing well with Donegal and the ultimate prize of All-Ireland glory is what makes Rory tick, an Inter-provincial (Railway Cup) winners Celtic Cross is right up there in things to be achieved list.

“Myself and Neil McGee were just saying on our way to training on Tuesday night, that neither of us had an Inter-provincial medal and how we would dearly love to win one.

“Karl (Lacey) has two and he is very proud of them and he has been telling us that he really treasures them and rates them highly in his list of achievements.”

In an age when the Inter-provincial series is pilloried by some and deemed by others to be finished as a competition, Rory certainly would not like to see it put in cold storage.

“I certainly look forward to playing for Ulster and that is the general feeling of the vast majority of players I know. It is seen as a great honour to play for your province and it most definitely the case with footballers in Ulster.

“It is a great way to get to know players from other counties and to play alongside them. Normally when we meet we are on opposite sides and knocking lumps out of each other. But the Inter-provincials give us the opportunity to play together and many friendships are formed. We met up on Tuesday night and the banter and crack was good and we are all looking forward to Sunday’s game and with a bit of luck making it through to the following weekend’s final.”

And for Rory Kavanagh and his county colleague Neil McGee the chance to win those first Inter-provincial medals and in the case of Karl Lacey a third and a step closer to Martin McHugh’s, Donegal record of five.

Ulster team: Brendan McVeigh (Down); Brendan Donaghy (Armagh), Neil McGee, Karl Lacey; Ciaran McKeever (Armagh), Darren Hughes (Monaghan), James Loughrey (Antrim); Dan Gordon (Down), Rory Kavanagh; Peter Harte (Tyrone), Mark Poland (Down), Joe McMahon (Tyrone); Martin Penrose (Tyrone), Benny Coulter (Down), Owen Mulligan (Tyrone). Subs: John Devine (Tyrone), Cathal McCarron (Tyrone), Tomas McCann (Antrim), Vincent Corey (Monaghan), Owen Lennon (Monaghan), Conleith Gilligan (Derry), Kieran Hughes (Monaghan), Ronan Flanagan (Cavan), Mark Donnelly (Tyrone).