Cavanagh to skipper Tyrone as McConnell retires
25 November 2013
Tyrone goalkeeper Pascal McConnell
Long-serving goalkeeper Pascal McConnell will be a notable absentee from the Tyrone team which Sean Cavanagh will captain next year.
Cavanagh will take over the captaincy from Stephen O'Neill in 2014, but McConnell's retirement from inter-county football means Conor Gormley, Dermot Carlin, O'Neill and Cavanagh are now the only remaining links to the Tyrone team that won the county's first All-Ireland senior title a decade ago.
McConnell was a substitute in that breakthrough win before keeping goal for the 2005 and '08 All-Ireland victories over Kerry. The big Newtownstewart clubman lost his place to Niall Morgan earlier this year, only to regain it after Morgan suffered a season-ending injury in June.
McConnell, who also garnered All-Ireland medals at minor and U21 level, told the Teamtalk Mag website: "It was in my mind that 2013 was going to be my last season at this level. I had mentioned it to John Devine and that this was my last year and I intended to enjoy it to the full and I did.
"There is a big commitment required in order to stay performing at the top level and I feel the time is right to bow out and start a new chapter in my life."
He added: "If someone had told me back at the beginning of 1998 that I would go on and win all that with Tyrone I would never have believed them.
"I suppose if I was a bit greedy I would say that I felt that we could have won the All Ireland in 2009 and 2010. You have to be thankful though for what you do win because my brother Finbarr never won an All Ireland medal. He was a big inspiration for me."