Kevin Cassidy described Gaoth Dobhair’s Ulster final triumph on Sunday as the proudest moment of his life.
Only two years ago the former All-Star retired from club duty before being enticed back into the fold. His decision to return has now been rewarded after the Donegal club collected their maiden Ulster title, defeating Scotstown in Healy Park, Omagh.
“It’s unbelievable, It’s the proudest moment of my life. ” Cassidy told told RTÉ Radio 1’s Sunday Sport.
“It’s great for the players but more importantly for the supporters out there, that follow us everywhere, that are good people, good Gaels.
“I just can’t wait to get the cup home now.”
The Donegal champions overcome the Monaghan kingpins by a single point (0-13 to 0-12). Played in difficult conditions, the game became a war of attrition with each sides battling to gain control.
It wasn’t until Scotstown’s Shane Carey was sent off in extra-time that Gaoth Dobhair seized control before substitute Shane Ferry kicked the winner.
“We were kind of ready for a gung-ho shootout because Scotstown have some fantastic forwards,” Cassidy said. But obviously they looked at the Crossmaglen game and they wanted to shore things up a wee bit. So we kind of had to mirror them and it took us a while to find out feet.
“We had a strong bench all year. Shane has come off the bench in every game and he’s kicked a score in every game so it’s nothing new to him. You need a squad and there’s nobody more important than the 29 in the squad.
“I think that was a massive moment,” Cassidy said of Carey’s dismissal.
“Scotstown walked the line a few times, a couple of high tackles. But I think Shane Carey going, it took the momentum out of their play a wee bit.”
Kevin Cassidy knows how tough a defeat this will be for the Monaghan champions to take, it is the second time in four years that they have been beaten in an Ulster final after extra-time.
“It’s difficult on them. I know they lost one a couple of years ago and it’s really hard on them but you just have to get back at it.”
The wing-back turned full-forward paid tribute to Gaoth Dobhair’s management team who masterminded their run to a first-ever title, overcoming three sides on the way who have serious Ulster pedigree of their own.
“It was a massive task to come up here. To head into the Falls Road first to play Cargin and then to come to Crossmaglen, and then to Scotstown.” Cassidy said.
“All these teams have been here, we hadn’t been there. It’s a new experience for us. Credit to the management team, they’ve gelled us well, had us well prepared for every match.
“Coming up today we were confident. We knew Scotstown were good but we knew if we played we’d be in the game.”