Years playing under Art were some of ‘the greatest of my life’ – Canavan

By Niall Gartland

TYRONE great Peter Canavan has described the late Art McRory as a ‘confidant’ who played a major part in his own journey to the steps of the Hogan Stand when Tyrone finally reached the promised land in 2003.

Canavan played under Art McRory during a memorable spell in the mid-90s where Tyrone claimed back-to-back Ulster titles and reached the All-Ireland final in 1995. But Art’s impact on the six-time All-Star stretched all the way back to his formative years when he grew up idolising the Tyrone team of the ‘80s.

Canavan said, “When I was growing up, I was heavily inspired by the team that won the 1984 Ulster final with Frank McGuigan in his pomp, the team that reached the All-Ireland in 1986 for the first time in the county’s history. They were a big inspiration to youngsters like myself that wanted to grow up and play for Tyrone.

“All the successes we had in the noughties can be traced back to Art McRory. For anyone who knew and played under Art, the news of his passing is devastating. He was an inspiration to so many, a confidant and so supportive.”

Tyrone reached three Ulster finals in a row between 1994 and 1996, winning two of them, a period Canavan describes as one of the “greatest of his life.”

The influence of Art McRory, who managed that team alongside Eugene McKenna, can’t be understated.

“Those were some of the greatest years of my life and of so many others who played under Art and Eugene, the two of them worked really well together.

“He was a real players’ man. He gave good counsel when people needed it. He also looked at innovative ways we could get ahead of the pack.

“Art was also a really engrossing character with a great sense of humour and that was evident in even the most important team-talks, he’d drop in a line that had everyone in stitches. He enjoyed the craic of being part of the set-up and was a central character in Tyrone football for so many years.”

Canavan concluded by expressing his sympathies to Art’s family. Art had a daughter and two sons, one of whom – Ciaran – played alongside Peter with Tyrone.

“I got to play with his son Ciaran for a number of years in the Tyrone team and he was like Art in so many ways. He has a great sense of humour and way about him as well.

“On behalf of all those who played with the county, I’d like to extend my deepest sympathy to the McRory on what’s a massive loss to them and further afield as well.”

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