Peter Canavan

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For the Garda officer, see Peter P. Canavan.
Peter Canavan
Peter Canavan - SFC 2005 cc 3.0.jpg
Canavan lifting the Sam Maguire Cup in 2003
Personal information
Irish name Peadar Ó Ceannabháin
Sport Gaelic football
Position Forward
Born (1971-04-09) April 9, 1971 (age 43)
Aghaloo, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland
Height 5 ft 09 in (1.75 m)
Nickname Peter 'The Great',[1][2]
'Wee Peter'
Occupation Teacher[3]
Club(s)
Years Club
1990–2007 Errigal Ciarán GAC
Club Titles
Tyrone titles 6
Ulster titles 2
Inter-county(ies)**
Years County Apps (scores)
1989–2005 Tyrone 49 (9–191 (218))[4]
Inter-county titles
Ulster titles 5
All Irelands 2
NFL 2
All Stars 6
** Inter County team apps and scores correct as of (22:03, 21 December 2006 (UTC))[5].

Peter Canavan (born 9 April 1971) is a former Gaelic footballer and manager.

He played inter-county football for Tyrone, and is one of the most decorated players in the game's history, winning two All-Ireland Senior Football Championship medals, six All Stars Awards (more than any other Ulster player, and joint third overall),[6] four provincial titles, and two National Leagues and several under-age and club championship medals. He represented Ireland in the International Rules Series on several occasions from 1998 until 2000.[7] He is considered one of the great players of the last twenty years by commentators such as John Haughey of the BBC,[8][9] and in 2009, he was named in the Sunday Tribune's list of the 125 Most Influential People In GAA History.[10]

His scoring record of 218 points is the second highest of all time in the Ulster Senior Football Championship.[4] His early high scoring rate, when he would often be Tyrone's best performer[11] — particularly in the 1995 All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Final when he scored eleven of Tyrone's twelve points—led to claims that Tyrone was a "one-man show," and that the team was too dependent on him, particularly in his early career.[12][13][14]

Since retiring as a player he has managed the Fermanagh inter-county Gaelic football team (2011 - 2013).

Personal life[edit]

Canavan is from Glencull, near Ballygawley, County Tyrone[14] and was the tenth of eleven children.[2] His older brother, Pascal, played with him on the Tyrone panel for most of the 1990s. He is married to Finola (sister of former Tyrone team-mate Ronan McGarrity[14]), and has four children, Aine, Claire, Darragh and Ruairi, and has been a Physical Education teacher in Holy Trinity College, Cookstown, throughout most of his career (Gaelic games are amateur sports).[14][15] While there, he taught Eoin Mulligan his point-taking technique, and the pair have been known in the media as 'master and student' ever since, particularly by television commentators.[16]

He writes a column for the Gaelic games magazine, Hogan Stand[17] and the Northern Ireland edition of The Daily Mirror.[18] and in 2008, Canavan joined TV3 as a football pundit for their first year of broadcasting live GAA matches.[19]

In 2003, just over a week before Tyrone's Ulster final appearance against Down, Canavan's father, Seán, died. It came as a shock to Canavan, who had thought his father (who was already in hospital) was getting better. He decided to play in the match, stating that he knew, subconsciously "[he] was going to be playing in the Ulster final all along and Daddy certainly wouldn't have wanted [him] to do anything but play."[20]

Canavan has suffered from asthma since he was a child, and has battled throughout his career to control the ailment. He told the Asthma Society of Ireland, "I thought to myself, this is something that I am just going to have to put up with." In later years, however, improved medication has afforded Canavan what he described as, "a better quality of life".[21]

Under-age career[edit]

In order to play for an inter-county GAA team, Canavan had to work around a Gaelic Athletic Association (GAA) bylaw, because of a dispute in his parish, Errigal Ciarán. Two clubs claimed to represent the parish, the established Ballygawley St. Ciaran's club and the newly formed club, then called Errigal Ciaran Naomh Malachai. Players from the Errigal team were not recognised as being GAA members, because the club failed to register correctly. Canavan registered as a member of the Killyclogher hurling club, even though he didn't play the sport, just so he would be eligible for selection for the Tyrone minors. Prior to that, he had not played legitimate club football, but had forged his way onto the Tyrone under-age teams with his performances at school level. The two clubs united under the banner of Errigal Ciaran two years later.[22]

In 1988, Canavan won the Ulster minor Championship, an under eighteens tournament, but lost in the All-Ireland semi-final to Kerry. The crux of this team, including Adrian Cush, Ciaran Corr and others, would stay together as part of the senior team for most of the nineties. Canavan captained Tyrone to two All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championships titles in 1991 and 1992, having been on the team which lost the 1990 final, again to Kerry.[3] In four years as an Under 21 player, Canavan scored 13-53 (13 goals and 53 points—each goal equals 3 points; 13 x 3 + 53 = 92 points, see GAA scoring rules) for Tyrone.[5] By the time he was twenty, he was already an automatic choice in the senior panel.

Early senior career: 1993-1998[edit]

Canavan's name was already known around Tyrone because of his exploits for the Under 21 team,[8] but he started to make an impact in the Ulster Senior Football Championship in 1994, as Tyrone lost to eventual All-Ireland champions, Down. He was the top scorer in the province,[4] earning him his first All Star, at the age of 23.[23]

1995 All-Ireland Final[edit]

Throughout the 1995 championship, Canavan had spearheaded Tyrone's march to the final, with round after round of massive scoring exploits. Against Derry in the Ulster Semi-Final, he scored 0–8, and against Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final, he scored 1–7.[24]

Tyrone reached their second All-Ireland Final in 1995, and were up against Dublin who hadn't won a Championship since the 1980s. In a turgid match, Canavan scored eleven of Tyrone's twelve points in the, but still ended up on the losing side. The game was remembered as contentious for Tyrone fans, for the fact that a point that would have equalised the match in the dying seconds was controversially disallowed, because the blind-sided referee deemed Canavan to have touched the ball on the ground.[12] The referee, Paddy Russell stated in his autobiography that he was certain the ball was on the ground, but Canavan contested in the same book that he managed to get elevation on the ball as he punched, which would have been very difficult to do if it was touching the ground.[25] He was the top scorer in Ireland that year, with a total of 1–38,[5] earning him the inaugural Footballer of the Year title.[23] The fact that Canavan's scoring tally was so far ahead of his peers on the team led to suggestions that Tyrone were depending too heavily on him.[12]

1996: Injury[edit]

For the 1996 championship, Canavan was handed the captaincy of Tyrone, and was Ulster's leading scorer for the third year in a row,[4] and subsequently awarded his third successive All Star.[23] Tyrone reached the All-Ireland semi-final against Meath, but Canavan was one of six Tyrone players to sustain injuries that day, which some Tyrone fans attribute to Meath's heavy-handedness.[26] Canavan's injury was so severe that he was still feeling the effects for over a year,[8] and there was speculation as to whether he had been playing on a broken foot.[27]

1998–2000: International stage[edit]

During a weak period for Tyrone Seniors in the late 1990s, Canavan represented Ireland in the inaugural International Rules Series in 1998 against Australia. In 1999, he was named vice-captain of the team for the tour to Australia, and Ireland came away convincing winners, with Canavan scoring eleven points in the first test in Adelaide, South Australia.[7] In 2000, In the first test Australia's Jason Akermanis gave Canavan a bloody nose 20 seconds into the game.[28] Canavan was sent off in the second test, after fighting with Akermanis. He was banned for one match, which wouldn't be played until the next year, so he ruled himself out of the next series.[29] In five tests Canavan scored 37 points, becoming one of the few Irish players to leave their mark on the Australian supporters.[30]

Late senior career[edit]

Tyrone were one of the favourites for the 2002 All-Ireland, having won their first National Football League in the spring,[27] but ended up losing a qualifying match to Sligo, even though Canavan scored six points on the day.[31] That particular defeat stunned him so much, he considered retiring Inter County football.[32] Despite that, he won his fourth All Star that year, the only Tyrone player to do so,[23] which made him Tyrone's most represented player on the All Star Roll of Honour, overtaking Eugene McKenna, his manager at the time.[33]

2003: Championship glory[edit]

In 2003, Canavan shook off his tag as 'the greatest player never to win an All-Ireland',[15][34] captaining Tyrone to their first All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. As he approached the podium on Croke Park's Hogan Stand after the final, his nervousness was visible, and after being handed the trophy, he made an emotional speech about how he had to enviously watch other Ulster teams lift the Sam Maguire Cup, but "to eventually win it is something else."[35]

His appearance in the final was remarkable for the fact that he was the top scorer of the day with five points,[36] despite having suffered an ankle injury in the previous match, and was not expected (or advised) to play.[8] He started the final and was taken off before half time. During the break, and even some way into the second half, he was receiving treatment to his ankle, including pain-killing injections.
With ten minutes remaining, he was reintroduced by manager Mickey Harte,[35] likely due to his experience as the only member of the team who had played in an All-Ireland final before. This reintroduction, while not the first time it had happened (blood substitutions had been used sporadically, for example), was seen as one of the greatest moments in the GAA in the last forty years.[37]

In the drawn Ulster final against Down, Canavan was playing a week after the death of his father. He remarked in his autobiography that he feared Tyrone were going to lose by one of the biggest margins in Ulster Championship history, if they didn't stem the flow of the Down attack.[38][39] When Tyrone were awarded a penalty, Canavan stepped up, due to Stephen O'Neill (the first choice penalty-taker) being on the bench. He took the kick, and managed to find the net, later describing it as "the most important [kick] of my career," citing the fact that if Tyrone had been heavily beaten, they probably wouldn't have been able to pick themselves up to play in the 'back door' qualifier series.[40]

Over the course of the 2003 Championship, he amassed a total of 1–48 (a total of 51 points),[36] and had won the National League in the spring, all of which earned him a fifth All Star.[23] Among his more notable performances of the year included an eight-point haul in the replayed first round match against Derry,[41] and in the replayed Ulster Final, Canavan scored eleven points.[42]

He became the first GAA star to gain an honorary doctorate from the University of Ulster,[15] and was also voted BBC Northern Ireland Sports Personality of the Year,[43] a regional award of the BBC Sports Personality of the Year. Following an email campaign throughout Ireland, Canavan was an early forerunner for the national award, despite the fact that Gaelic games have very little exposure in Great Britain.[44]

Following the 2003 final, Canavan relinquished the captaincy to Cormac McAnallen, but the 24 year old died shortly after taking up the position. This tragedy adversely affected the mindset of the team, and they were unable to defend their All-Ireland.[45]

2005: Championship swan song[edit]

Canavan was used mostly as an 'impact substitute' throughout the 2005 Championship—brought on to either unsettle the opposition, or rally his teammates.[8] This backfired when he was controversially sent off within a minute of coming on as a substitute in the Ulster Final replay replay.[46]

In the All-Ireland semi-final against Armagh (who were meeting Tyrone for the third time that year), Canavan scored with the last kick of the game, winning the match for Tyrone.[47] Kevin McStay, a former Mayo player, described it as the point of the season, despite the free kick being from a relatively straightforward position.[48]

Canavan (13, white) drilling home Tyrone's winning goal in the 2005 All-Ireland final

Mickey Harte chose Canavan on the starting line-up of the All-Ireland final and went on to score Tyrone's only goal, winning on a scoreline of 1–16 to 2–10.[49]

He retired from inter-county football following this performance with a sixth All Star, ending a sixteen-year tenure in Senior championship football.[50] He said of his decision, "I have spent enough time on the treatment table", referring to the instances where he played while carrying potentially career-threatening injuries, as he had done in 1996 and 2003. Canavan's appearance in the 2005 final (his last game for Tyrone), was his forty-ninth Championship match.

Other intercounty successes[edit]

Canavan was part of both Tyrone sides that won the National Football League title two years in a row—in 2002 and 2003[8]—and he competed in the 1992 final against Derry. His success in other competitions include five Railway Cups, two Vocational Schools titles, and one Dr. McKenna Cup.[5]

Club career[edit]

After retiring from inter-county football, he continued to play at club level for Errigal Ciarán until 2007.[51] During the seventeen years he played he won six Tyrone Senior Club titles and two Ulster Club Championships,[52] and in 2006, he won his first Tyrone All Star for his performances in the club championship.[53] In December 2008, he moved into management for the first time, by taking charge of Errigal Ciaran,[54] leading them to win the Tyrone All County League final in 2009.[55]

Disciplinary problems[edit]

His career features many examples of indiscipline,[56][57] including on-pitch scuffles with other players.[28] which at times threatened to overshadow his achievements. Jack O'Connor, Kerry's manager in the 2005 All-Ireland final, suggested in his autobiography that Canavan tackled Colm Cooper off the ball, preventing him getting into a goal-scoring position,[58] a claim backed up by Sunday Tribune journalist, Kieran Shannon.[59]

Management career[edit]

Canavan was appointed manager of Fermanagh in November 2011 on a three-year term to be reviewed annually, with trainer Kieran Donnelly and selector Enda Kilpatrick joining him.[60] His first game was against Antrim, Fermanagh winning that one by a scoreline of 2 - 11 to 1 - 06.

He stepped down as Fermanagh manager in September 2013.[61]

References[edit]

  1. ^ O'Sullivan, Jim (2004-06-19). "Peter the Great ready to answer Tyrone's call". Irish Examiner. 
  2. ^ a b Walsh, David (1996-08-28). "Gaelic games". The Sunday Times. 
  3. ^ a b "Player Profiles - Tyrone". 2005 All-Ireland Final Match Programme (DBA Publishing). 2005-09-25. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Ulster's hot-shots". BBC Sport. 2006-07-18. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Curran, Kenny (September 2005). "Will this All-Ireland be the last chapter in the Canavan story?". Team Talk (All-Star Publications, Ltd.) (45): 14–19. 
  6. ^ Martin Breheny (2005-11-26). "Big three sweep awards boards". Irish Independent Online. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  7. ^ a b "Ireland are go!". Hogan Stand. 1999-10-30. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f John Haughey (2005-09-26). "Canavan's remarkable career". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  9. ^ 'Press Box Lad' (2003-10-03). "Two Bald Eagles: Peter The Great and Lion Hearted Leo". An Fear Rua. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  10. ^ McEvoy, Enda; Kieran Shannon, Dave Hannigan (and PJ Cunningham, Malachy Clerkin and Pat Nugent) (4 January 2009). "125 Most Influential People In GAA History". Sunday Tribune. Retrieved 20 January 2009. 
  11. ^ Jerome Quinn (2002-05-27). "Peter's loss lamented". BBC News. Retrieved 2007-04-29. 
  12. ^ a b c Sean Ryan (2005-08-07). "Tyrone and Canavan came up short in 'eyesore' final". Irish Independent. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  13. ^ "Gormley chases double with help from Canavan". The Belfast Telegraph. June 24, 1996. 
  14. ^ a b c d Rodgers, Alan (2008-10-17). "Candid Canavan". Gaelic Life. pp. 20–21. 
  15. ^ a b c "University To Honour Ulster Sporting Heroes Canavan And Humphreys". University of Ulster. 2003-10-30. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  16. ^ "Learning at school". BBC Sport. 2003-09-24. Retrieved 2007-05-02. 
  17. ^ "Canavan's Hogan Stand column regarding the decision by the GAA to abolish Rule 42". Hogan Stand. 2005-05-10. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  18. ^ Peter Canavan. When Geezer exploded it shook us up. The Daily Mirror. Retrieved 2007-08-26. [dead link]
  19. ^ TV3 press release (2009-05-26). TV3 Announce GAA line up for the 2009 Championship season. TV3 (Ireland). Retrieved 2010-01-15. 
  20. ^ Canavan, Peter (2004). Every Step We Took. 2003 - A Football Odyssey. Omagh, Northern Ireland: All Star Print Ltd. p. 46. ISBN 0-9546616-0-5. 
  21. ^ "Peter Canavan - Life With Asthma". irishhealth.com. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  22. ^ "Canavan biography in Hogan Stand magazine". Hogan Stand. 1991-11-08. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  23. ^ a b c d e "Football All Stars". Hogan Stand. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  24. ^ "The Artful Manager". Culture Northern Ireland. 2006-04-14. Retrieved 2007-05-10. 
  25. ^ Russell, Paddy; Jackie Cahill (2008). Final Whistle. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84596-391-0. 
  26. ^ Martin Breheny (2007-08-04). Return of the Royals. Irish Independent. Retrieved 2009-01-29. 
  27. ^ a b "Tyrone can maintain progress". BBC Sport. 2002-07-21. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  28. ^ a b Rodgers, Alan (2008-10-17). "Five moments that define Peter the Great". Gaelic Life. p. 21. 
  29. ^ "Canavan out of Rules series". BBC Sport. 2001-09-07. Retrieved 2007-02-22. 
  30. ^ 'Peter P' (2006-01-07). "GAA debates International Rules, AFL recruiting, and own international dimension". World Footy News. Retrieved 2007-04-23. 
  31. ^ Tyrone stunned by Sligo. BBC Sport. 2002-07-21. 
  32. ^ Tyrone win predicted in 1997. BBC Sport. 2003-10-02. 
  33. ^ Tyrone Profile. Hogan Stand. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  34. ^ Orla Bannon (2003-09-26). GAA: Praying for Saint Peter. Daily Mirror. 
  35. ^ a b Tyrone are All-Ireland champions. BBC Sport. 2003-09-28. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  36. ^ a b Captain fantastic Canavan scoops readers' top award. Irish Independent. 2004-01-20. Retrieved 2007-04-29. 
  37. ^ "Wayback Machine cache of RTÉ Sport's announcements of the nominees". Archived from the original on 2005-04-22. 
  38. ^ "Clones thriller ends in draw". BBC Sport. 2003-07-13. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  39. ^ Canavan, Peter (2004). Every Step We Took. 2003 - Football Odyssey. Omagh, Northern Ireland: All Star Print Ltd. p. 48. ISBN 0-9546616-0-5. 
  40. ^ Canavan, Peter (2004). Every Step We Took. 2003 - Football Odyssey. Omagh, Northern Ireland: All Star Print Ltd. p. 51. ISBN 0-9546616-0-5. 
  41. ^ "Tyrone destroy dismal Derry". RTÉ Sport. 2003-05-24. Retrieved 2007-03-04. 
  42. ^ "Disappointing Down no match for silky Tyrone". RTÉ Sport. 2003-07-20. Retrieved 2007-03-04. 
  43. ^ "Canavan wins BBC award". BBC News (BBC Sport). 2003-12-06. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  44. ^ "Whole of Ireland Behind Peter Canavan's BBC Sports Personality of the Year Campaign". 2003-12-10. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  45. ^ "McAnallen death overshadows year". BBC News. December 28, 2004. Retrieved May 4, 2010. 
  46. ^ "Armagh take Ulster title in scrappy affair". RTÉ Sport. 2005-07-23. Retrieved 2007-03-04. 
  47. ^ "Armagh 1-12 1-13 Tyrone ALL-IRELAND SEMI-FINAL". BBC Sport. 2005-09-04. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  48. ^ "Kevin McStay Column". Hogan Stand. 21 December 2005. Retrieved 2007-04-02. 
  49. ^ "Tyrone triumph in Croker decider". BBC Sport. 2005-09-25. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  50. ^ "Lawn joins Canavan in retirement". BBC Sport. 2005-09-26. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  51. ^ "Canavan Runs For The Spirit of Paul McGirr". The Spirit of Paul McGirr website. 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-20. [dead link]
  52. ^ "Errigal Ciaran achievements". Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  53. ^ "Canavan wins first Tyrone All-Star". Hogan Stand. 2006-12-20. Retrieved 2007-01-25. 
  54. ^ Canavan to manage Errigal. The Irish Times. 2008-12-29. Retrieved 2008-12-29. 
  55. ^ Kevin Kelly (2009-11-12). Final flourish sees Errigal home. Ulster Herald. 
  56. ^ Keys, Colm (April 30, 1998). "Tyrone ace Canavan's jaw broken". The Mirror. p. 36. 
  57. ^ Jerome Quinn (2001-09-26). Jerome Quinn: My End of Season Awards. BBC Sport. 
  58. ^ O'Connor, Jack (4 July 2007). Keys to the Kingdom. Penguin Ireland. ISBN 1-84488-153-9. 
  59. ^ Shannon, Keiran (12 February 2006). "A history of violence". Sunday Tribune. 
  60. ^ "Canavan appointed Fermanagh manager". RTÉ Sport. 2011-11-21. Retrieved 2011-11-21. 
  61. ^ Keys, Colm (3 September 2013). "Peter Canavan decides to opt out after two years as Fermanagh manager". Irish Independent (Independent News & Media). Retrieved 3 September 2013. 

External links[edit]

Gaelic games
Preceded by
First year awarded
All Stars Footballer of the Year
1995
Succeeded by
Martin O'Connell
(Meath)
Preceded by
Kieran McGeeney
(Armagh)
All-Ireland Senior Football
winning captain

2003
Succeeded by
Dara Ó Cinnéide
(Kerry)
Preceded by
Kieran McGeeney
(Armagh)
Texaco Footballer of the Year
2003
Succeeded by
Colm Cooper
(Kerry)