16 years ago today Peter Canavan kicked one of the most pressurised kicks in GAA history 2 years ago

16 years ago today Peter Canavan kicked one of the most pressurised kicks in GAA history

"Is this the point that puts Tyrone in the All-Ireland final?"

For those not in the know, Peter Canavan is affectionately known as God among Tyrone supporters.


Originally this was because of his ability to elevate average Tyrone teams into good teams throughout most of his career. He was the target man, the guy who everyone looked up to, and who the opposition wanted to stop.

For a while he was regarded as the greatest player to never win the All-Ireland, a tag that certainly didn't sit well with him.

In the latter stages of his career, Mickey Harte took over and appointed him as captain of the 2003 team. During the team meeting at the start of year, a defiant Canavan stood up and said "I don't want to be a great captain. I want to be a captain of a great team."

New blood was being introduced, with the likes of Stephen O'Neill, Brian McGuigan, Conor Gormley and Sean Cavanagh, to name just a few, but someone who was also brought into the fold was Owen Mulligan, a former student of Canavan's at Holy Trinity High School in Cookstown.


The rest as they say, was history. Tyrone won their first ever All-Ireland title later that year, and Peter The Great walked the steps up Hogan to lift the Sam Maguire.

However, during his speech, he said something that highlighted his elite mentality.

"It took me a long time to get here, I'm not finished yet."


In other words, one All-Ireland was never going to cut it. The following year was a disappointment, as the Ulster side couldn't muster up the motivation or drive, and understandably so, following the tragic death of their teammate Cormac McAnallen.

They crashed out in a thriller against Mayo, and many saw this as the end of the road for God, but they clearly weren't listening the year before; sure he "wasn't finished yet."

A new hunger had been restored in Harte's side and they attacked the 2005 season with a frightening fierceness. Although they lost to their bitter rivals, Armagh in the Ulster final replay, they knew they had something special brewing.


The Red Hands conquered Dublin in the quarter finals - much of that to do with Owen Mulligan's historic goal in the first game and then an unbelievable 1-7 in the replay - to secure an All-Ireland semi-final against the Orchard County; revenge was imminent.

Like every Tyrone v Armagh game at this time, it was played at an unbelievable pace and you could cut the tension with a spoon, never mind a knife.

With both teams laid bare, having given their all, and the scoreline sitting as a draw in injury time, Stephen O'Neill gets fouled in what would be considered a scoreable zone.

It certainly wasn't an easy free given the angle and the distance, but not least the immense, mounting pressure that was riding on it.


Owen Mulligan had been taking the frees all day that day, but he turned to his former teacher and said: "I don't mind."

Canavan took the ball, placed it firmly in his hands, and proved to be the coolest man in Croke Park despite being at the very centre of this melting cauldron of anxiety.

The commentator poised it: "Is this the point that sends Tyrone into the All-Ireland final?"

The reply to his own question was drowned out by the delirious crowd. The final was indeed secured, and Tyrone (and Canavan) went on to lift their second All-Ireland title.