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08th Nov 2014

One to watch – Sean Kavanagh

Ireland already have a fairly classy right back. Could Sean Kavanagh become the Donegal man's equivalant on the left?

Darragh Murphy

Ireland already have a fairly classy right back. Could Sean Kavanagh become the Donegal man’s equivalant on the left?

Left-back has historically been a strong point for Ireland but the conveyor belt of quality players in this position has slowed considerably in recent years.

Marc Wilson at left-back doesn’t quite stand up alongside the likes of Steve Staunton, Ian Harte and Chris Hughton.

But there is hope on the horizon with a pacy, technically-sound left-back by the name of Sean Kavanagh currently making waves in the Championship for Fulham.

‘Kavo’ burst onto the scene this season, given the nod at the start of the season by then-manager, eccentric-to-the-point-of-bizarre Felix Magath against Wolves on 20 August.

The young defender could have feared for his place in the team when Kit Symons took over on a caretaker basis, it so often happens that one manager sees something in you that his successor might not.

But the interim boss has kept faith with the young Dub and he’s gone on to appear seven times already this season in all competitions.

Fulham have had a shaky start to the campaign, winning just four times in 15 outings, but the signs of improvement are clear considering those four victories have come in the last seven games.

Without wanting to play the old “luck o’ the Irish” card, Kavanagh’s impact on the team can be seen in the fact that he’s played in three of these wins.

Speaking 98FM last week, Kavanagh showed that understands the importance of steadying the ship.

He said: “It hasn’t been a great time for the club in the last six months or so but it’s starting to get a bit more steady so hopefully we can carry on from where we are now.”

The highlight of his burgeoning career with the London club undoubtedly came three weeks ago against Norwich when he finished off a flowing counter-attack with a deft, strong finish past an experienced John Ruddy.

Firing past an England-capped goalkeeper is a far-cry from the Fulham Under-21s where he made 8 appearances during the 2013/14 season.

What a difference a few years can make, the twenty-year-old arrived at Fulham from Belvedere, a club that is only as old as Kavanagh’s manager Kit Symons, 43.

Since the move to London, Kavanagh’s confidence and overall game has come on leaps and bounds.

He said: “People probably look at me and probably think I’m a weakness in high balls and think they can probably bully a couple of us younger lads into it but I think I’m getting used to it now and I kind of enjoy that side of the game.”

The difficulty in adjusting to big-city life from Ringsend  hasn’t phased him either.

“At the start, I probably struggled with it but now I enjoy it because I live on my own and I have my friends around me but, at the start I probably struggled because I was over in a different city on my own but a couple of years on, it’s a lot easier for me.”

The club obviously have high hopes for their promising young full-back saying that he is “tenacious in the tackle and ambitious when on the ball, the youngster is considered to be one of the Club’s brightest prospects.

The high esteem in which Kavanagh is held is best highlighted by the fact that his form has earned him a call-up to Noel King’s U21 squad last month.

Prepare yourself Ireland, we’ve a player on our hands.

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