Home GAA Cassidy: GAA Is ‘Sanctuary” Following Death Of Gaoth Dobhair Player

Cassidy: GAA Is ‘Sanctuary” Following Death Of Gaoth Dobhair Player

Kevin Cassidy has revealed that the parish of Gaoth Dobhair was “completely raw and numb” following the death of Micheál Roarty last month.

The 24-year-old Gaoth Dobhair footballer, along with his childhood friends, John Harley, Shaun Harkin, and Daniel Scott, died following a car crash on a road near Magheraroarty On Sunday, January 27.

His death was met by shock and disbelief from the local community with the upcoming All Ireland club semi-final clash with Corofin the last thing on his teammates’ minds.

“It was tough I suppose at the start, very tough. I think none of our players were thinking about Corofin this time last week, it was all about shock and trying to process it all. Since then we’ve kind of regrouped, we went back training the night after the funeral.

“It was good to be back with the boys and get back to something that feels normal to you. The last couple of days were something I’ve never ever experienced before in my life. The parish was just completely raw and numb. To get back to the sanctuary of the GAA pitch was good.

“Obviously, when it happened you don’t really care about football, to be honest. But then in the back of your mind, you’re thinking you’ve the biggest game of your life to play in a week or so time, so you have to get ready. That’s really what we’ve been doing.”

Teammates and officials were part of the large congregation that attended Micheál Roarty’s funeral last week while the Donegal and Ulster Football Cups sat at the foot of the altar.

During the mass, he was referred to as a young man who was “full of life” and Cassidy admits that his passing hasn’t sunk in fully with the team yet.

“I would have played against one of them and I would have known the other two lads but obviously Mícheál Roarty was a team-mate of ours. He trained with us that Saturday morning so he would have been around our squad. A very talented player, a serious character.

Kevin Cassidy Gaoth Dobhair

“Everybody knew him. If there was ever a night out, he was always there. You’re still waiting to see him pop up or you’re still waiting to see him come out of a changing room. It’s tough for us but for the family it must be really, really tough. All we can do is try and do as much as we can to try and help with that.”

While their teammate will be largely in their minds with Gaoth Dobhair take to the pitch on Saturday week for the All Ireland semi-final, Cassidy maintains that he will not be their sole motivation to beat Corofin.

“I think it’s important to distance the two. Obviously, Mícheál was a good friend but I don’t think you can go and make a crusade out of something and try to say we’re going to do this. All we can do is next Saturday in Carrick-on-Shannon, try and put in a performance that our supporters would be proud of, hopefully, Mícheál’s family would be proud of. That’s all we can really do.”

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Gweedore’s Kevin Cassidy was speaking ahead of the AIB GAA All-Ireland Senior Football Club Championship Semi-Final where they take on Corofin at Carrick-on-Shannon on Saturday, February 16th.

About Marisa Kennedy

Marisa is a Digital Journalist with Pundit Arena. She is a former reporter with Sporting Limerick and is a huge fan of the GAA. You can contact her at marisa@punditarena.com or on Twitter