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family affair Why Peter Canavan is letting his son Darragh find his own path ahead of All-Ireland final

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Darragh Canavan of Tyrone with his father Peter after winning the 2019 Ulster U20 Football Championship. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Darragh Canavan of Tyrone with his father Peter after winning the 2019 Ulster U20 Football Championship. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Darragh Canavan of Tyrone with his father Peter after winning the 2019 Ulster U20 Football Championship. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

As a two-time All-Ireland winner and six-time All Star, it wouldn’t seem unusual for anyone of a Tyrone persuasion to try and tap into the wealth of knowledge that Peter Canavan possess ahead of this weekend’s All-Ireland final.

After all, Canavan ran the full gamut of emotions during the three finals he played, from the heartache of scoring eleven of Tyrone’s total of 0-12 in the 1995 decider, only to lose to Dublin by a single point, to the glorious swansong that brought the Red Hands’ first two Sam Maguires in 2003 and 2005.

But with The O'Neill men getting ready to battle it out with Mayo on Saturday, there’s one player on their panel who won’t be tapping into their former captain’s experience before the game or during the match.

“I certainly wouldn't be one for bombarding him with information, far from it. He's very like his mother, he doesn't listen to much that I say so it doesn't really matter!” Canavan laughed, when asked about his son Darragh’s preparation for his own first final on The Throw-In GAA podcast.

“(You feel) totally helpless to tell you the truth. What can you or anybody do or say when you're sitting in the stand?

“When the boys are out on the pitch they have to get on with it. You can shout and roar and encourage all you want.

“But in terms of having a real important input, not at all. When you've got a really good management setup, and you know that all the bases are covered, then you're more than happy to let him get on with it.”

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Errigal Ciaran captain Peter Canavan and his son Darragh hold the O'Neill Cup in 2006. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

Errigal Ciaran captain Peter Canavan and his son Darragh hold the O'Neill Cup in 2006. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

Errigal Ciaran captain Peter Canavan and his son Darragh hold the O'Neill Cup in 2006. Picture credit: Oliver McVeigh / SPORTSFILE

Having retired from the inter-county game after the 2005 title win, Peter ‘the Great’ was an interested onlooker as Tyrone reached another two finals, adding a third crown in 2008 before losing another to Dublin ten years later.

But with Darragh now involved, this year has taken on a different dynamic

Not to mention a completely different set of nerves than those the Errigal Ciarán clubman experienced during his own spectacular playing career.

“As a spectator, it's very difficult as a parent having somebody involved,” the proud father continued.

“It's far worse than playing, let me tell you. Because as a player, you're really nervous for the days before the match. But as soon as the game starts, as soon as you get your first ball, as soon as you get thump that's it.

“The tension eases out of you and you get on with the game. As tense and all as it may be, the adrenaline is rushing through you and you don't feel the pressure as much when you're playing.

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“Whereas when you're sitting watching it, you're tense the whole way through until that final whistle goes. So I'd much rather be out playing than sitting in the stands.”

The Throw-In is produced in association with Bord Gais Energy

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