Damian Cassidy

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Damian Cassidy
Personal information
Sport Gaelic football
Position Half forward
Born (1965-07-22) 22 July 1965 (age 51)
Bellaghy, County Londonderry, Northern Ireland
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Nickname Cass
Occupation Social worker[1]
& Pedigree dog breeder [2]
Years Club
High Moss Sarsfields
Club titles
Derry titles 5
Ulster titles 1
Years County
1984–1996 Derry
Inter-county titles
Ulster titles 2
All-Irelands 1

Damian Cassidy (born 22 July 1965) is an Irish former Gaelic footballer and a former manager.

He played for Derry in the 1980s and 1990s and was part of the county's 1993 All-Ireland Championship winning side, starting at left half forward.[3] He also won two Ulster Senior Championship medals,[4] three National League titles,[5] and a range of under-age inter-county medals with the county. Cassidy played his club football for Bellaghy Wolfe Tones and won five Derry Championships[1] and the 1994 Ulster Senior Club Football Championships with the club.[4] For both club and county he usually played as a forward. Cassidy was also a talented hurler.[1]

Since retiring from playing football he has managed a number of teams. He guided home-club Bellaghy to success in the 2005 Derry Championship, and Tyrone club Clonoe O'Rahilly's to the Tyrone Championship in 2008. He was the manager of the Derry Senior from 2008 to 2010 and Under 21 teams. His brother Joe also played for Derry.[6]

Football career[edit]

Playing style[edit]

Cassidy played the majority of his career in the forward line (corner forward for Bellaghy[1] and half forward for Derry), but also had a spell in the half back line early in his career.[7] Adrian McGuckin who coached him at St. Pat's, Maghera said he had a superb left foot and was very comfortable on the ball.[8] GAA journalist and former Derry team-mate Joe Brolly said that despite the presence of many other great footballers at the time, Cassidy at his peak "was easily the best club footballer in Derry".[9]


Cassidy was part of the Derry Minor side that won the 1983 Ulster Minor and All-Ireland Minor Championships.[3][4] Cassidy scored 2–03 (2 goals and 3 points—each goal equals 3 points; 2 × 3 + 3 = 9 points, see GAA scoring rules) in the Ulster minor final victory over Monaghan. He scored 0–04 from left half forward in the All-Ireland semi-final victory over Galway,[10] before going on to defeat Cork in the decider, playing at left half forward. He also won back-to-back Ulster Under 21 Championships with the Derry Under 21 side in 1985 and 1986.[4] In 1985 Derry Under 21s were defeated by Cork in the All Ireland Under 21 Championship final and by Cork in the 1986 All-Ireland semi-final.

He made his Derry Senior debut straight out of Minors the following year (1984)[7] and was on the 1987 Ulster Senior Football Championship winning team, at right corner forward.[11] The side defeated Armagh in the final. In 1992 Cassidy was part of the Derry panel that won the National League.[12] It was 1992 until Cassidy and Derry got back to an Ulster final, however this time they were beat by Donegal. Derry however defeated Donegal in the 1993 Ulster decider and went on to win the 1993 All-Ireland Championship with a semi-final victory over Dublin and a final victory over Cork. The success was the county's first ever All-Ireland Senior Football Championship. Cassidy won further National League medals in 1995 and 1996.[5]


At underage level with Bellaghy he won Derry Under 16 (1981) and Derry Minor Championships.[1] He made his Senior debut for the club in 1982. He won his first Derry Senior Football Championship medal with Bellaghy in 1986,[1] with victory over Ballinderry in the final; Bellaghy also won the league that year. Despite Bellaghy not reaching the final, Cassidy was the Derry Championship's top-scorer in 1991, with a total haul of 4–06 (18 points).[13] The club won the Derry Championship again in 1994, and also won that year's Ulster Senior Club Football Championship.[12] The club went on to contest the 1995 All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship final against Kilmacud Crokes of Dublin. Bellaghy were beat by three points and unfortunately for Cassidy he missed a vital penalty late in the match.[1] Cassidy won further Derry Championship medals with the club in 1996,[1] 1998[1] and 1999[1] —winning Derry league medals in the latter two years as well. Bellaghy were also Ulster Club runners-up in 1996[14] and 1998. He was awarded the man of the match accolade in both the 1994 and 1999 Derry Championship finals.[13] Cassidy won player of the tournament in the All Ireland 7's hosted by Kilmacud in Dublin in 1996. He was also on the 7's team that won the All Ireland 7's in 1986. Cassidy won Player of the Tournament at the 1997 Castlewellan 7's, which Bellaghy won.[15] Cassidy retired in 1999.[16]


Cassidy won three MacRory Cup medals in 1982, 1983 and 1984 whilst at St. Patrick's College, Maghera (secondary school).[4] He also played hurling for the college and won a Mageean Cup in 1984.

Management career[edit]

Damian Cassidy
Club management
Years Club
2004–2005 & 2007
Loughmacrory Under 21s
Inter-county management
Years County
2009–2010 Derry
Derry Under 21s


Cassidy was Derry assistant manager[5] to Eamonn Coleman from 2000 until 2002. Derry won the National League in 2000 and got to the All-Ireland semi-final in 2001. Following the resignation of Coleman in July 2002, Cassidy said he was not interested in becoming Derry manager.[17] Mickey Moran in the end succeeded Coleman. In late 2002, Cassidy was linked with the vacant Antrim manager's job, but rejected it.[18] The post eventually went to PJ O'Hare.[18]

Following illness to then Cavan manager Eamonn Coleman before the start of the 2005 Championship, assistant Martin McElkennon became acting-manager and Cassidy became McElkennon's assistant. He described his position as a "consultancy role", but was assigned an assistant manager / coach's role the following year.[19]

In 2008 he applied for the vacant Derry Senior football manager's job.[20] Cassidy was announced as new Derry boss late on 7 October 2008.[21] His backroom team will include former Antrim star Kevin Madden, as well as Martin McConnell, Brendan McCrory and goalkeeping coach Kevin O'Neill.[21]


He managed the Senior and Under-21 teams of St. Teresa's Loughmacrory in 2003[22] and led the club to the Tyrone Under 21 Championship title.[23]

Cassidy became Bellaghy manager for the 2004 season[24] and managed them to the county final of 2004 where they lost to Slaughneil by 2 points. He also secured the league title in the same season. They captured 2005 Derry Championship title and they also reached the final of that year's Ulster Club Championship.[22][25][26] Then reached the Derry final again in 2007 under his leadership, but lost by a point to Glenullin after a replay. He announced in December 2007 that he was stepping down as Bellaghy boss.[27]

He was appointed manager of Tyrone club Clonoe O'Rahilly's in January 2008.[22][28] He successfully guided the club to success in the 2008 Tyrone Championship, the club's first title since 1991. They shocked[29] the "big two" of Tyrone club football – Errigal Ciarán and Carrickmore in the first round and quarter-final respectively.[30][31] Clonoe then defeated Donaghmore to progress to their first Championship final in 17 years.[32] They faced defending champions Dromore in the final, who went in as red-hot favourites.[29] However, Clonoe beat Dromore by a point after extra time. The feat is all the more remarkable, considering Clonoe are a very young team[29] and have no Tyrone county players on the team.[29] They were however beaten by St. Eunan's of Donegal in the quarter-final of the 2008 Ulster Club Championship.[33] Cassidy was reappointed manager of Clonoe O'Rahilly's in 2011, where he guided them back into the Tyrone championship final against Dromore, a repeat of the 2008 final, this time Dromore got their revenge winning by a point. In 2012 he guided Clonoe to their first All County Senior League title, defeating Coalisland in the final. In 2013 he once more lead Clonoe O' Rahilly's to senior championship success, beating Carrickmore in the final. He quickly followed this up with winning the U21 county title and then the Ulster U21 championship with Clonoe, defeating Truagh Gaels of Monaghan. 2015 the O' Rahilly's recaptured the All County Senior League title for the second time in their history under Cassidy'd stewardship.

Playing honours[edit]






School / college[edit]

  • MacRory Cup – Winner (3?): 1982, 1983, 1984
  • Mageean Cup (hurling) – Winner (1?) – 1984


  • All Star – Nominated (runner up): ?
  • Derry Championship First Trust Top Scorer award – Winner (1): 1991
  • Derry Championship Forbes Kitchen Man of the Match award – Winner (2): 1994, 1999
  • All-Ireland Kilmacud Crokes Sevens Championship Player of the tournament – Winner (1): 1996
  • Castlewellan Sevens – Winner (1): 1997
  • Sunday Independent Inter-county Team of the year (Left Half Forward) – Winner: 1993

Managerial honours[edit]

Note: The above lists may be incomplete. Please add any other honours you know of.


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Cassidy unveiled as new Derry Manager". Limavady Northern Constitution. 16 October 2008. Retrieved 28 January 2009. 
  2. ^ "Cassarnon Wire fox terriers – Homepage". Cassarnon website. Retrieved 5 September 2008. 
  3. ^ a b "Derry Football Roll of Honour". Official Derry GAA website. Retrieved 5 September 2008. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Heaney, Paddy (9 October 2008). "Damian Cassidy..... Factfile". The Irish News. 
  5. ^ a b c Duffy, Coilin (27 January 2009). "Derry boss cool on League campaign". The Irish News. p. 54. 
  6. ^ "Hogan Stand interview with Joe Cassidy". Hogan Stand. Lynn Publications. 27 March 1998. Retrieved 7 September 2008. 
  7. ^ a b "Derry Pen Pics". 1994 Ulster Championship Quarter Final Programme. 29 May 1994. 
  8. ^ Scott, Ronan (10 October 2008). "No more messin'". Gaelic Life. p. 4. 
  9. ^ Brolly, Joe (10 October 2008). "Damien faces stern test". Gaelic Life. p. 48. Retrieved 18 November 2008. [dead link]
  10. ^ "Championship meetings: 1983 – Derry 0–16; Galway 3-05". 1998 All-Ireland Senior & Minor Football Championship finals programme (DBA Publications Ltd.). 23 August 1998. 
  11. ^ "Armagh/Derry Ulster Final Clashes – 1987 final: Derry 0–11, Armagh 0-09". 2000 Ulster Senior & Minor Football Championship Final programme (Ulster GAA Council). 16 July 2000. 
  12. ^ a b "Bellaghy Pen Pictures". 1995 All-Ireland Senior Club Football & Hurling Championship finals programme (DBA Publications Ltd.). 17 March 1995. 
  13. ^ a b "Top Scorers and Man of the Match awards records". 2007 Derry Senior, Intermediate, Junior & Minor Championship finals programme (Derry County Board). 14 October 2007. 
  14. ^ "Crossmaglen Rangers – 1997 all Ireland success". Crossmaglen Rangers website. Archived from the original on 27 October 2007. Retrieved 7 September 2008. 
  15. ^ "Castlewellan GAC 7's Roll of Honour – Player of the Tournament". Castlewellan GAC website on GAA World (The Irish News). Archived from the original on 19 November 2008. Retrieved 7 September 2008. 
  16. ^ "Big weekend of club action". BBC Sport Online. 15 September 2000. Retrieved 7 September 2008. 
  17. ^ Bannon, Orla (30 June 2002). "Cassidy: I don't want Derry job". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 8 September 2008. 
  18. ^ a b "O'Hare back as Saffrons boss". BBC Sport Online. 13 November 2002. Retrieved 8 September 2008. 
  19. ^ Haughey, John (3 May 2006). "Cassidy aiming to Down Mournemen". BBC Sport Online. Retrieved 7 September 2008. 
  20. ^ "McCloskey among Derry candidates". BBC Sport Online. 10 September 2008. Retrieved 11 September 2008. 
  21. ^ a b "Cassidy is named as Derry manager". BBC Sport Online. 8 October 2008. Retrieved 9 October 2008. 
  22. ^ a b c "Cassidy takes over as Clonoe boss". BBC Sport Online. 15 January 2008. Retrieved 5 September 2008. 
  23. ^ "U21 Football Champions (Roll of honour)". Official Tyrone GAA website. Archived from the original on 7 April 2008. Retrieved 5 September 2008. 
  24. ^ McGeary, Micheal (20 November 2005). "Touch of Cass – Damian has Bellaghy moving in right direction". Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 19 September 2008. 
  25. ^ "Bellaghy beat Loup in Derry final". BBC Sport Online. 2 October 2005. Retrieved 8 September 2008. 
  26. ^ "Round-up of Sunday's club football action". RTÉ. 20 November 2005. Retrieved 7 September 2008. 
  27. ^ Campbell, John (19 December 2007). "Glenullin miss top tier". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 18 September 2008. 
  28. ^ Campbell, John (30 January 2008). "Clonoe can go extra mile with Cassidy". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 7 September 2008. 
  29. ^ a b c d Crossan, Brendan (23 October 2008). "Clonoe have puncher's chance insists Cassidy". The Irish News. p. 57. Retrieved 13 November 2008. 
  30. ^ "Clonoe and Donaghmore secure wins". BBC Sport Online. 3 July 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2008. 
  31. ^ "Clonoe and Carrickmore progress". BBC Sport Online. 11 October 2008. Retrieved 11 October 2008. 
  32. ^ "Clonoe 1–9 2–3 Donaghmore (Match report)". BBC Sport Online. 18 October 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2008. 
  33. ^ "Clonoe 1–8 2–10 St Eunan's (Match report)". BBC Sport Online. 2 November 2008. Retrieved 13 November 2008. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Paddy Crozier
Derry Senior Football Manager
Succeeded by
John Brennan