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05th Feb 2024

“It is a little bit premature” – Sean Cavanagh sounds ‘note of caution’ for Derry supporters

Niall McIntyre

Sean Cavanagh has sounded a ‘note of caution’ to Derry supporters over their perfect start to the Allianz National Football League.

The early signs are that Derry have taken very well to Division One football, with Mickey Harte’s side having won their first two games against Kerry and Tyrone respectively.

Having not played in the top tier since 2015, Derry are taking something of a step-up for this year’s early season fare but it has proved no problem so far for last year’s beaten All-Ireland semi-finalists.

The Glen and Mickey Harte factors also have the county on a high and while Sean Cavanagh has come to terms with his old manager’s move to their Ulster rivals, he still wouldn’t be going over-board on the Oak Leaf county at this stage of the season.

“Time moves on,” Cavanagh said on The Sunday Game, of his old general’s move to Derry.

“We all have to recognise that. Mickey has, and we have to make peace with it now. It doesn’t mean we’ve to like it, but it’s just where we’re at.”

“I would just caution a note, it is round two of the League,” Cavanagh added.

“They are full out, they were full out last week.

“Kerry weren’t full out last week, Tyrone aren’t full out this week,” he added.

“Whether they start to run out of steam later in the year is another question to be asked. So look, it is a little bit premature,” he said.

Both Kerry and Tyrone fielded more inexperienced teams than Derry in these National League clashes and, despite his own county’s loss, Cavanagh isn’t overly concerned.

“Tyrone are inexperienced, there were only seven starters from last year’s quarter final against Kerry.

“We’re inexperienced, light, youthful. We had to fire in the young lads, the lads have been a little lethargic the last couple of years, they did very well last week.

“Today it was too much against a physical, battle-hardened team like Derry.

“I wouldn’t be too critical or too annoyed from a Tyrone perspective. If they could just unearth a couple of young players, they could be a different team come summer.”

Alongside him on The Sunday Game, Dublin legend Paul Flynn didn’t share the same concerns as Cavanagh regarding Derry.

“Derry are a force, even this early in the season.

“They did do it last year too. I know it was Division Two but they dominated from day one, and they didn’t peter out as such, they were there right up to the semi-final.

“All they need to do is add a couple of players to their squad and they’ll be there or thereabouts.”

Meanwhile, there was a humorous moment between the pair when Cavanagh reminded Flynn of his by now infamous tweet about David Clifford in the wake of last year’s All-Ireland final. Flynn, to his credit, took it on the chin.

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