Sean Cavanagh's crazy training regime after weeks of 'choosing a carryout over the gym' 2 months ago

Sean Cavanagh's crazy training regime after weeks of 'choosing a carryout over the gym'

"Whatever you're eating, half it, and whatever you're training, double it."

Sean Cavanagh will go down as one of the best players to ever wear a Tyrone jersey, and there is a plethora of reasons as to why he deserves that accolade.


Everyone will remember the dummy, the last minute scores, the big fetches, big tackles, but above all else, the overriding memory that comes to mind when you picture Cavanagh playing, is his sheer power and athleticism.

When the Moy clubman opened the legs and got into his stride, he was like a wrecking bull, and oppositions teams and managers would spend weeks preparing how to handle him.

That's why it was surprising to hear the three time All-Ireland winner tell a story about how a 60 year old woman was able to overtake him on the running track, and although he obviously got everything in order, there was a period where the university lifestyle was more of a priority than the gym.

Sean Cavanagh


Speaking on the latest episode of the GAA Hour podcast, thanks to AIB, proud partner of the GOAL Mile, Cavanagh explains how he turned things around, and how Derry legend Damien Barton played a massive role in that.

"In 2002 I was a fresher in Jordanstown and the craic was good. You were more concerned with what you were getting as a carryout than what time the gym was, but that was back in the good old days, when you could really let your hair down in the off-season.

"I was enjoying myself, at least three nights a week, I was out in Belfast - sort of tidied myself up for the 2002 county season, but then got injured and slipped back into Belfast again where the craic was good.

"Damien Barton took over the Sigerson team at Jordanstown and around October/November in 2002, we were running St Mary's Peter's track and we were doing like 400m runs or something and I was struggling, I think I had two or three nights out in a row in Belfast.


"I remember doing these runs, trying to keep up with the rest of the lads, but struggling to do that, and I remember just seeing this 60-year-old woman just dashing past me.

"Damien Barton came up to me after that, pulled me aside, and said: 'Whatever you're eating, half it, and whatever you're training, double it.'"

Rather blunt but necessary advice from the 1993 All-Ireland winner, but in the end, it played a big role in helping Cavanagh become the player that he did.


It wasn't just harsh advice either, Barton made his mission to get the young Tyrone star into the best shape that he could be.

"He (Barton) goes 'we're going to start doing. bit of extra training big man', and in fairness to him, he was incredible. He would have rang me and said 'Sean we're going running around St Pat's Academy where the pitches are' because there was like a big cross country track down there, and he would just ring me to say that me and a couple of other lads are going.

"It could have been on a Sunday morning or something, and he genuinely come, met me and the other lads, and ran the absolute bollocks of us. I do remember him saying to me after one of the runs: 'Sean, I've been chatting to Art McRory (the then Tyrone manager) and he thinks a huge amount of you, and he said if you get yourself athletically right, then you would be a serious footballer for Tyrone.'

"That's a Derry man that said that, and he said it in a very genuine way where he had my best interests at heart.It was one of those moments where even though I only played for Art McRory and Damien Barton for the guts of a year, they had a big impact in turning me into the footballer that I was.


"In 2003 I then kind of sprung onto the scene, and as the year went on, I went from being a sort of heavyish corner forward to getting my chance in midfield, and athletically I was able to get up and down the pitch, and be quite hard to handle from there on."

Related links: