Celtic crossing: Cassidy on glory trail
IN another world, Kevin Cassidy could well be a prized member of Gordon Strachan’s regime at Glasgow Celtic rather than lining out for Donegal in tomorrow’s NFL semi-final against Kildare at Croke Park.
Cassidy was born in Glasgow and lived in the Scottish city until he was 10 years of age, and his parents are also Scottish-born. However, prior to his 11th birthday, Cassidy and his parents, and his Irish-born grandmother moved to live in her native Donegal, and that’s something that the north-west county’s manager, Brian McIver, will be very grateful for.
“I had never played Gaelic football before my family moved to Ireland, and, as you can imagine, I grew up playing a lot of soccer, as well as being a very enthusiastic Glasgow Celtic fan,” pointed out Cassidy, who has made the move from wing-back to midfield with considerable aplomb.
“Being involved in inter-county football, you don’t get that much spare time, but I try to get over to watch Celtic a few times each season.”
Last year, Cassidy made another move - across the Atlantic - to live and play football in Boston for the summer months. As a result, he missed out on Donegal’s Championship campaign which saw McIver’s team reach the All-Ireland quarter-finals before losing to Cork, by a solitary point.
“I wanted to go abroad for one summer, but, of course, it was disappointing not being involved in the Championship, and it was hard watching on television the lads playing Cork,” he reflected. “This year, I’ll be staying at home, and hopefully we’ll go at least one step further in the Championship than last year.”
And the omens in that regard certainly look very propitious, with Donegal, after figuring in Division Two last year, dropping only one point in their seven Division One outings.
“From the beginning of the year, our focus has been on the Championship game against Armagh on May 27,” he stated.
“Things have been going very well for us, and it’s great that Brendan Devenney is back with us after missing out last year. We feel we’ll have a great chance against Armagh no matter where the match is played, but hopefully the County Board will succeed with their case for it to be played at Ballybofey, which now has a capacity of 21,000, rather than at Clones.”
But prior to the showdown with the Orchard County, Cassidy will be doing his utmost to capture a National League medal.
“I’ve been playing with Donegal for six to seven years, and I have no medals to show for my efforts,” he explained. “I’ve lost five Ulster finals, and it would be nice to have a League medal. But it won’t be easy against Kildare. They have been impressive, and lads like John Doyle, Tadhg Fennin and Killian Brennan will take a lot of watching.”