Kevin Cassidy

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Kevin Cassidy
Personal information
Irish name Caoimhín Ó Casaide
Sport Gaelic football
Position Wing Back
Born 1982 (age 34–35)
Glasgow, Scotland
Nickname Cass
Years Club
1999 – present Ghaoth Dobhair
Club titles
Donegal titles 2
Years County
2002–2011 Donegal
Inter-county titles
Ulster titles 1
All Stars 2

Kevin Cassidy is an Irish Gaelic footballer from Gweedore, County Donegal. A former member of the Donegal inter-county football team, Cassidy was twice an All Star—in his maiden season and in his last. He plays his club football for Gaoth Dobhair.

Regarded as one of the best attacking wing half-backs of his generation, Cassidy has also played in midfield. A fluent Gaeilgeoir, he lives in the Gaeltacht area of Donegal. Cassidy and his wife both teach as a profession and have two young children.[1] At present, he is absent from the inter-county scene after becoming involved in a dispute about a book with manager Jim McGuinness.

Early life[edit]

Cassidy's mother Clionagh is a native of Gweedore, while his father Tommy is from Scotland. His mother emigrated to Scotland where she met his father. Kevin, his brother Stephen and his five sisters were born in Glasgow where they lived until Cassidy was eight years of age. Then they moved to the Gaeltacht and Cassidy learned the Irish language.[2]

Playing career[edit]


Cassidy won a Donegal Senior Football Championship medal with Ghaoth Dobhair in 2002.[3] While in the United States in 2006, he played in the Boston Championship. He returned later in the summer to win a second Donegal Senior Football Championship with Ghaoth Dobhair, beating St Eunan's in the 2006 final.[3]


Cassidy made his Championship debut against Cavan at Breffni Park on 12 May 2002.[4] In his first season with Donegal, the team reached the 2002 Ulster Senior Football Championship final, but were defeated.[3] Then he famously went on the lash when Donegal secured a draw against Dublin in their August Bank Holiday Monday All-Ireland quarter-final. Dublin obliterated Donegal in the replay.[5] Nevertheless, Cassidy was awarded an All Star for his performances that year.[1]

The following year, his commitment to the team was called into question again. With Fermanagh having knocked Donegal out the Ulster Championship, the team entered the All-Ireland Qualifiers, with their first game coming against Longford on a Saturday evening in Ballybofey. Cassidy spent the day before at a wedding in Gweedore. He later recalled:

Things were not going that well and I was at that point a bit fed up with football. I ended up going on the beer that night. After that I stopped messing, cos I'll never forget it. At the time, I thought, 'ah sound, the game is at a quarter past six,' but this is a championship game we're talking about. I woke up at 12.0 (the next day) and there were a couple of missed calls on the phone. And it was just then that I thought, 'what have you done?' I rang John Gildea, he was the most senior player at the time. 'How's things, wee Kevin?' He'd obviously heard. I went up and Brian [McEniff, team manager] said, rightly so, 'you're dropped off the team.'[5]

A Kevin Cassidyless Donegal overcame Longford, and ultimately reached the All-Ireland semi-final where they sustained a narrow loss to Armagh at Croke Park.[3][5]

In 2004, Cassidy helped Donegal to reach the Ulster Senior Football Championship Final which they lost, again to Armagh.[3][5] Their Championship season ended in defeat to Fermanagh.[5]

In 2006, he and Eamon McGee were suspended from the Donegal football panel over a breach of discipline.[6][7] As a result of his suspension, Cassidy played no part in the 2006 Championship and went to Boston in the United States for the Summer. Cassidy returned to the Donegal team the following year, this time in midfeld alongside Neil Gallagher, and went on to play a pivotal role in helping Donegal win the county's first ever National Football League title in 2007.[8] It was the first piece of silverware for the county senior team since 1992.

Cassidy was named Donegal captain for the 2008 season.[9] He savagely criticised the treatment of Brian McIver as a "disgrace", when the County Board famously forced McIver to resign.[10] He quelled a potential players revolt in 2010.[11]

Cassidy had announced his intention to retire after Donegal's Championship exit in 2010 but new Donegal manager Jim McGuinness called him into the 2011 Dr. McKenna Cup panel.[12] Cassidy went on to help Donegal to their first provincial title in 19 years with the defeat of Derry in the 2011 Ulster Senior Football Championship Final.[13] In the All-Ireland quarter-final against Kildare in Croke Park on 30 July 2011, he scored a long-range winning point in stoppage time at the end of extra-time, a point that sent Donegal on to an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with Dublin.[14] This thrilling end to an "extra-time epic" is to this day regarded as "the finish to a sporting contest normally only imagined inside the heads of Hollywood scriptwriters".[15]

Dispute with Jim McGuinness[edit]

In November 2011, manager Jim McGuinness dropped Cassidy from the Donegal team after he contributed to a book (This Is Our Year).[16][17][18]

He appeared not to understand why this was so.[19][20]

Cassidy has not played for Donegal since.[21]

In what went down as a "surreal moment for the viewer", Mícheál Ó Domhnaill famously interviewed McGuinness following a live 2012 league game on TG4 while Cassidy, in the role of television analyst, stood beside him with his head bowed.[22][23]

He moved to Boston in 2012.[24] He moved to Chicago in 2013.[25]

Neil McGee thinks about him after every game.[26]

International rules[edit]

Cassidy has in the past represented Ireland in the International Rules Series.[3]

Personal life[edit]

While young, Cassidy's childhood football heroes were Derry's Anthony Tohill, Seán Óg de Paor of Galway and Donegal's Anthony Molloy.[1]

Cassidy is a fan of the Celtic soccer team, having spent some of his childhood in Glasgow, Scotland. He regularly attends matches at Parkhead.

In July 2012, Cassidy was found guilty of affray and sentenced to community service.[27][28][29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "cul4kidz profile on Cassidy". Cul4kidz website. Retrieved 21 March 2009. 
  2. ^ Kimmage, Kevin (31 August 2003). "Cassidy's redemption day". Sunday Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 31 August 2003. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f McNulty, Chris (28 August 2008). "Cassidy's ear was not bitten off". Donegal News. Retrieved 21 March 2009. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Devenney's future in balance". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. 10 May 2002. Retrieved 10 May 2002. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Crowe, Dermot (25 February 2007). "Former wild child wants football's natural high". Sunday Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 25 February 2007. 
  6. ^ "Donegal pair dropped from panel". BBC Sport. BBC. 20 April 2006. Retrieved 20 April 2006. 
  7. ^ "McGee makes Donegal squad return". BBC Sport. BBC. 10 May 2006. Retrieved 10 May 2006. 
  8. ^ "Donegal win National League title". BBC Sport. BBC. 22 April 2007. Retrieved 31 March 2009. 
  9. ^ "Cassidy chosen as new Donegal captain". 7 January 2008. Retrieved 31 March 2009. 
  10. ^ Keys, Colm (3 September 2008). "Captain hits out at 'disgraceful' treatment of McIver". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 3 September 2008. 
  11. ^ Keys, Colm (4 November 2011). "Cassidy lifts the lid on averting mass revolt". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 4 November 2011. 
  12. ^ "Cassidy and Hegarty in McGuinness' Donegal panel". BBC Sport. BBC. 17 December 2010. Retrieved 17 December 2010. 
  13. ^ "Cassidy ready for Lilywhite battle". RTÉ Sport. RTÉ. 28 July 2011. Retrieved 28 July 2011. 
  14. ^ "Donegal 1–12 Kildare 0–14 (aet)". RTÉ Sport. RTÉ. 30 July 2011. Archived from the original on 29 March 2015. Retrieved 30 July 2011. 
  15. ^ Bogue, Declan (31 January 2013). "Gallagher puts Donegal's Lilies epic into perspective". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  16. ^ Keys, Colm (9 November 2011). "Donegal hero Cassidy axed for breaking code of silence on McGuinness methods". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 9 November 2011. 
  17. ^ "Cassidy dropped from Donegal panel". RTÉ Sport. RTÉ. 8 November 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  18. ^ "Sometimes it's better when you say nothing at all". Donegal Democrat. Johnston Press. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  19. ^ "Cassidy makes statement on removal from panel". RTÉ Sport. RTÉ. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  20. ^ "Cassidy at a loss to explain dismissal". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. 10 November 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  21. ^ "Donegal to shade rematch of last year's Ulster final". Donegal Democrat. Johnston Press. 13 June 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2012. 
  22. ^ "Donegal weighed down by Cassidy row". The Belfast Telegraph. Independent News & Media. 14 February 2012. Retrieved 14 February 2012. 
  23. ^ Heneghan, Conor. "Video: We're pretty sure this is why Jim McGuinness snubbed TG4 on Sunday". 
  24. ^ "GAA: Kevin Cassidy joins Boston GFC". Donegal Daily. 16 July 2012. Retrieved 16 July 2012. 
  25. ^ "Cassidy U.S bound". Hogan Stand. 5 July 2013. Retrieved 5 July 2013. 
  26. ^ "Donegal's Neil McGee talks of thoughts for exiled Kevin Cassidy". BBC Sport. BBC. 18 September 2012. Retrieved 18 September 2012. 
  27. ^ "Former Donegal footballer guilty of affray". The Irish Times. Irish Times Trust. 12 July 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  28. ^ "Community service for Cassidy over nightclub fight". Donegal Democrat. Johnston Press. 12 July 2012. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 
  29. ^ Harkin, Greg (12 July 2012). "GAA star waited outside nightclub for revenge after attack, court told". Irish Independent. Independent News & Media. Retrieved 12 July 2012. 

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Rory Kavanagh
Donegal Senior Captain
Succeeded by
Michael Murphy