Another member of the exclusive ‘Kilkenny 8 club’ has called it a day with the announcement that Michael Kavanagh has ended what has been a glittering inter-county hurling career, writes John Knox.
The St Lachtain’s (Freshford) defender has enjoyed a fantastic career, during which he won eight senior All-Irelands, 13 Leinster championships and five National Leagues. The announcement comes only weeks after Eddie Brennan, another winner of eight medals, finished up and two months after James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick announced his retirement.
“There comes a time when you know it is time to go. That time has come for me,” said Kavanagh, who had the honour of winning All-Irelands at county and club level, the latter in 2010 when St Lachtain’s won the intermediate All-Ireland title.
Kavanagh had the distinction of playing at senior level with the county before he featured with the under-21 side. He played for three seasons with the Kilkenny minor team, but failed to land an All-Ireland.
The next jump was on to the senior team. In 1998 he was called into the senior squad by then manager, Kevin Fennelly, and he made his championship debut against Dublin in Parnell Park.
“Not winning a minor All-Ireland was my one regret,” Kavanagh joked. “But really, how could I have regrets? I arrived for a golden era in Kilkenny hurling and I got to play with and against some players who will forever be remembered as giants of the game.”
Kavanagh took time out to consider his future, and he hasn’t rejoined the Kilkenny training since the start of the year.
“It is a big decision, a painful decision, but everyone knows the end of the road has to come some time,” he added. “Kilkenny are in a good place now, and it is time for me to hand over to the next generation. I made the best contribution I could, and I enjoyed every moment of it. The years just flew by.”
Kavanagh was an All-Star on four occasions between 2002 and 2008. He was a product of that great hurling nursery at St Kieran’s college, winning a senior championship in 1996.