BY CHRIS MCNULTY
AN APPEARANCE in Sunday week’s Ulster Championship curtain raiser against Cavan at Kingspan Breffni Park will take Rory Kavanagh into Donegal’s centurian’s club.
The St Eunan’s man is set to join Donegal team-mates Christy Toye and Colm McFadden in the elite club.
The influential midfielder made his 99th Donegal appearance in the final National League game against Armagh on April 8th, which secured Division 1 safety and is now set to hit the ton in Breffni.
A minor hip injury saw him sit out Sunday’s challenge win over Mayo in Swinford, but the Eunan’s ace will be fit to take his place in the engine room next weekend.
“Without a doubt, it’ll be a massive honour to play in my 100th game for the county,” he told the Donegal News yesterday afternoon.
“It’s something I probably won’t think about until I have the feet up and the pipe in the mouth!
“It’ll be a great privilege to reach such a milestone. This is really the first year I’ve thought about what might be coming next; you get to the stage where the years are up and you know time is short.
“I had a frustrating one last year with the ankle injury, but thankfully I’m fine again now. The hip injury was just a bang I got against Dungloe and I rested it last weekend.”
Kavanagh made his senior debut for Donegal in a National League win over Cork in Ballyshannon in March 2002, coming on as a sub for Christy Toye, a day after playing for the county U21s.
His first start was a year later when he started against Kerry, also in Ballyshannon, while he had to wait until 2006 to make his first Championship start, and he netted the crucial goal in a win over Down in MacCumhaill Park.
A four-times Dr Maguire winner with St Eunan’s, Kavanagh is set now to join an illustrious band of men from the O’Donnell Park club who have played 100 games or more for the county: Noel McCole (123), John Hannigan (114), Séamus Hoare (107), Brendan Devenney (104) and Mark Crossan (102) precede him.
And according to the precious stats of Donegal GAA’s statistics guru, Fr Seán Ó Gallchóir, Kavanagh has played eleven times against Armagh, while he has faced Cavan just twice previously.
“We know Cavan will be a tough test. They have a new manager and a strong bunch of under-21s coming up. We need to prepare well and be ready for a battle next weekend.”