“From a footballing point of view he was a nightmare to play against.”
Cavanagh has described MacAuley as “an absolute warrior” and admitted that he used to hate playing against his midfield counterpart.
“An absolute warrior to be honest with you,” the former Tyrone midfielder said when speaking after the announcement of the 2020 Electric Ireland GAA Minor Special Recognition Awards.
“I hated playing against him because he was really strong, he was fit. He could catch, he was annoying as anything.
“Look, he had everything as a player. I remember marking him plenty of times over the years and he just gave everything too. He had such a huge work-rate. An absolute fantastic servant for Dublin.
Cavanagh and MacAuley took each other on in different battles over the years, initially with Tyrone’s 2010 and 2011 quarter-final defeats to Dublin before the Red Hand county lost the 2017 semi-final and 2018 final to MacAuley’s Dublin. There were also a couple of Super 8 round-robin games in Omagh.
Nevertheless, it was those two early quarter-finals that will stand out in Cavanagh’s memory and the two-time All Star winner believes the 2013 Footballer of the Year will go down as one of the greats for Dublin.
Sin é uaimse. Míle buíochas ó chroí pic.twitter.com/6QVEMDcFAp
— Michael D Macauley (@MDMA_9) January 21, 2021
“He will go down as a great for Dublin, there’s no doubt in that,” Cavanagh continued.
“I wish him well in his retirement because he’s obviously a lot to be proud of and, from what I can gather, he’s a real good character off the pitch.
“Don’t know him personally but he seems to do a lot of good work off the pitch which is very important in these current times.
“So I can only wish him all the best but from as I say, from a footballing point of view he was a nightmare to play against and that’s about as much of a compliment as I can give him that I hated marking him and I hated coming up against him. A good all-rounder.”