Kavanagh began his career at Home Farm, before joining Middlesbrough in 1991 but struggled to ever hold down a first team place and was sold to Stoke City in 1996, after a short loan spell at the club, for £250,000. He was eventually to move to Cardiff City in 2001 for £1 million, and went on to score fifteen times in his first season at the club and help them to promotion the following year when they beat Queens Park Rangers in the Division two play-off final. He scored one of Cardiff's goals as they memorably knocked out then Premiership Leeds United in the FA Cup third round in 2002.
During the 2004–05 season Cardiff chairman Sam Hammam revealed that the club was in serious financial trouble and as such a number of players left the club to attempt to regain losses, including Kavanagh who signed for Wigan Athletic for a fee close to £400,000. Whilst at Wigan he started in the 2006 Football League Cup Final. On 31 August 2006, he signed a three-year deal with Roy Keane's Sunderland for £500,000. During that season he played 14 games, scoring one goal against Leeds, before he was ruled out for the majority of games due to lingering injury problems.
He joined Sheffield Wednesday on 21 September 2007 on a loan deal to regain his fitness where he played seven games, scoring one goal against Watford on 2 October. On 29 December, Leicester City made a bid for Kavanagh, together with Márton Fülöp. However, on 31 January 2008 Kavanagh again joined Wednesday on a loan deal until the end of the season.
Kavanagh joined League One side Carlisle United on a month's loan on 10 October 2008. This loan was extended for a further month on 7 November. It was again extended on 18 December and would expire on 3 January 2009. On 9 January, Kavanagh was released by Sunderland and returned to Carlisle on a permanent basis as a player-coach.
Read more about this topic: Graham Kavanagh
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