At 37 years of age, Kevin Cassidy thought his chances of challenging for an All Ireland football medal were well behind him.
The Gaoth Dobhair man was dropped from Jim McGuinness’ squad in 2011 after contributing to a book entitled ‘This Is Our Year’, and thus missed out on his county’s first All Ireland in 20 years back in 2012.
Seven years on, Cassidy finds himself just one game away from an All Ireland final as Gaoth Dobhair prepare to face Corofin in the All Ireland semi-final on Saturday in Carrick-on-Shannon.
“To be honest with you, I thought my chance was gone anyway. You always hope that yo might get here, younger growing up it’s always a dream of yours to get to these kind of stages. At this time of year we’re normally looking on at teams and kind of probably wondering and thinking that they’re probably better than we are and we’re never going to get there.”
“It’s just funny the way you can end up sometimes and the way things just fall for ye and it’s great to be here.”
It has already been a memorable season for the Donegal club. After winning their first county title since 2006, Gaoth Dobhair went on to beat Cargin, Crossmaglen, and Scotstown on their way to their first ever Ulster crown.
Following their long and difficult road to the Seamus McFerran Cup, the team justly celebrated with videos of their antics, and hilarious ‘call-out’s’ to Corofin, lighting up social media.
“We’d worked hard up until that with the county final and also when the Ulster happened, it was pretty full on. Honestly, to get the first Ulster title was massive for us.
“We really, really enjoyed it and it was great to know you didn’t have to half watch yourself because you’d a game down the line. You could let loose, we knew we’d enough time to get back at it then again. So it was good.”
Anyone have directions to Corafin pic.twitter.com/AATRe68RgM
— Kevin Cassidy (@KCASS7) December 3, 2018
“We’ll probably regret it next weekend!”, Cassidy joked.
“Around Paddy’s Day, we’re always sitting watching these days. In my opinion, they are the best club team at the minute. They have been for four or five years. Everything they do, the attention to detail.
“Obviously, when you’re playing a team, you hear what they’re doing and different things. You know, they’ve sent cameramen to our games and stuff since. It just shows that they’re really focused on what they want to do.”
The businessman admitted that when the celebrations were over and done with, the players were itching to get back onto the pitch.
“We went back training two weeks after. We kept going during Christmas, we trained hard during Christmas, still at the same time, remain the balance, we let the lads out here and there for nights out and stuff.
“But since then it’s been pretty much, everything’s been focused on Corofin. We’ve played three or four challenge games so we feel like we’re in a good position to give them a game.”
The club’s preparations were rocked at the end of last month with the tragic passing of Micheál Roarty in a car accident along with three of his friends. While Cassidy has previously said that the team will not be using his death as their sole motivation, they do hope that they can provide a lift to the tight-knit community who are still reeling from the death of one of their own.
“I always say that to bring your club crest up against the best, that’s always your aim. It’s just lifted the whole community. From going from the highest you can be to obviously getting knocked last weekend [with the death of Mícheál Roarty], it’s a real low.
“We have to try to pick things up again but that’s life. It can throw things at you but you just have to deal with them.”
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.