Kevin Cassidy has been dropped from the Donegal football panel following his part in the This Is Our Year book, in which he criticizes the 2010 management team, headed by former All-Ireland winner John Joe Doherty, and reveals sensitive tactical and fitness techniques employed by Donegal.
RTÉ Sport understands that the two-time All-Star winner met with manager Jim McGuinness today amid criticism of the player’s comments in the new book about the 2010 Ulster Football Championship. The meeting resulted in McGuinness dropping Cassidy from the panel entirely.
In the book, Cassidy is critical of Doherty and his management team and claims that they had lost the support of the squad. He goes on to claim that he quelled a player revolt in the county.
Cassidy claimed Doherty's tactics were 'old style' and harked back to the Donegal tactics used to win the All-Ireland in 1992.
The Irish Independent quoted Cassidy as responding to this criticism by saying: "There have been a lot of things in the papers this last couple of days, but before anyone judges it I'd like them to read the book and see that I'm not trying to get at anyone, nor am I trying to disrespect anyone.
"I spoke to the two boys, John Joe [Doherty] and [2009/10 selector] Tony [Boyle]. Maybe they felt aggrieved at something that appeared in the press, but we discussed it.
"I didn't set out to hurt anyone with this book. It's just an honest account of where I felt Donegal football was and the great strides made to get us to where we're at now."
McGuinness had reportedly reacted negatively to Cassidy's comments and told all Donegal panel members to avoid the launch of the book last Saturday.
McGuinness is praised by Cassidy in the book. However, Cassidy also reveals that the team tried to develop a nasty streak and be more in the faces of and aggressive toward opposition players.
It is rumoured that McGuinness is also unhappy that Cassidy has revealed this delicate information about the mental tactics employed by the Tír Chonaill team.
Cassidy also reveals information about McGuinness's training regimes and intense warm-ups in the book. Cassidy is quoted as saying: "Jim's warm-ups are unbelievable. You feel like dying in the middle of them.
"We might have warmed up with the ball for half an hour. Then we go into sprints, eighty-metre sprints, one hundred-metre sprints, shuttle runs, cones on twenty yards either side of you and you have to sprint to the cones and back again.
"You have four men in a line, and if there is any more than a second or two seconds of a difference between the four men, you go again. There is no slacking off, there is no way out. It's the hardest I've ever trained in my life.”
The above quotes reveal delicate information about how McGuinness got his team's fitness to levels praised throughout the Gaelic games world last season and the curreny manager is said to be fuming over Cassidy's openness.
Cassidy had been brought out of retirement by McGuinness, but wanted a veil of silence surrounding his training methods.
The comments about Doherty, combined with the comments about Donegal's mental and fitness tactics, appear to have pushed McGuinness to expel one of his best players.
However, expectations will be rife that McGuinness will call Cassidy back into his panel prior to the Championship season.
Gaoth Dobhair clubman Cassidy made his inter-county debut in 2002, winning an All-Star in his first season. He also played a pivotal role in helping Donegal win the county's first ever National Football League title in 2007 and was named captain for the 2008 season.