Stradbally footballer Gary Kavanagh has called time on his intercounty career, as one of the last links the current squad had with the 2003 Leinster Championship winning team has worn a Laois jersey for the last time.
Kavanagh had featured at times during 2011 under Justin McNulty, but has opted not to return for this year as he instead focusses his efforts on Stradbally for the remainder of his career.
Ironically, he steps away from the panel at the same time his younger brother Jamie begins to stake a claim for a place on the panel, as he started at corner back against UCD on Sunday in Crettyard.
Kavanagh’s most famous day in a Laois jersey undoubtedly came in 2003, when he played at wing-forward against Kildare in the Leinster SFC final. He would go on to play in finals in ‘04 and ‘05, unfortunately with little reward, but can also look back on an intercounty career which earned him provincial and All-Ireland minor medals to sit alongside his senior medal.
He plans to continue playing with Stradbally, where he will be looking to add to the three Laois SFC medals he has already won.
His departure from the panel means that Padraig Clancy is the only remaining player on the panel who was on the famed 2003 team.
Kavanagh also joins a hefty list of absentees, which includes Padraig McMahon (travelling) and Donie Kingston (college commitments), while MJ Tierney, who was at the game on Sunday, is believed to be taking time before deciding whether to rejoin the panel for the coming year. Other players who were involved last year but are not featuring this year include Mark Timmons, Daithi Carroll, Barry Brennan, Denis Booth and Robbie Kehoe, amongst others.
Laois will have a chance to give some more of the new players a chance to find their feet at this level when they travel to Carlow this weekend to face Luke Dempsey’s side.