Bitter football rivalry descends upon Moy and home of Tyrone captain

Allianz Football League Division 2 Final, Croke Park, Dublin 24/4/2016
Tyrone vs Cavan
Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh and manager Mickey Harte celebrate after the game
Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan
Allianz Football League Division 2 Final, Croke Park, Dublin 24/4/2016 Tyrone vs Cavan Tyrone's Sean Cavanagh and manager Mickey Harte celebrate after the game Mandatory Credit �INPHO/Lorraine O'Sullivan

Bitter football rivalry is set to descend upon a Tyrone village this weekend and the household of one of its most famous residents.

The twin villages of Moy and Charlemont will once again be at the frontline of tribal football allegiances as Tyrone and Armagh prepare to wage battle in Croke Park for the first time since 2005.

This time round the faultlines will run through Tyrone football star Sean Cavanagh’s own home in the village. The Tyrone captain is married to the sister of Armagh full-back Charlie Vernon. Cavanagh lines out at full-forward on Saturday, and he could well be man-marked by his brother-in-law.

“There will be nothing said on the pitch. Off the pitch, we obviously know each other very well and we will probably not be chatting to one another this week,” he said.

“It will be a few quiet days next week no matter what happens, but we are both professional people and we know what will happen on the field on Saturday will end on the field.

“Typically, both of us are not the dirtiest of players, so I don’t think that we will be leaving too much on each other.”

The splits are evident elsewhere in Moy, whose GAA club draw members from both sides of the county border.

“The Moy club membership is split probably 75-25 Tyrone-Armagh,” Cavanagh reckons. “I went to school in Armagh, I’ve had so many different connections with Armagh, I’ve seen both sides of it. You do realise there’s that deep-down respect between supporters, and some very good supporters that would always be of the mindset of supporting Armagh if they went further than Tyrone, and vice versa.

“I do believe deep down there is that respect amongst the supporters. Saturday will be a huge day in the Moy, it’ll be a huge day for Tyrone and Armagh supporters heading to Croke Park. There’ll be some craic had.

“It’s a little big nostalgic for me. The younger members of the team have no issues or rivalries with Armagh, whatsoever, but for me there is,” he said. “I know there was all the chat about the big rivalry through the noughties, but when it came to it, we had a ridiculous amount of respect for each other. I think deep down, Armagh and Tyrone have always respected one another and will continue to do that.”