/ GAA

Cassidy makes statement on removal from panel

Updated: Thursday, 10 Nov 2011 14:31

Jim McGuiness and Kevin Cassidy during Donegal's dramatic All-Ireland quarter-final clash with Kildare
Jim McGuiness and Kevin Cassidy during Donegal's dramatic All-Ireland quarter-final clash with Kildare

by Brendan Cole

Kevin Cassidy has said he does not regret taking part in a book about the 2011 All-Ireland championship, even though it has led to his removal from the Donegal panel.

The 29-year-old defender released a statement today in which he also said that it "appears my inter-county career is over".

He adds: "At the end of the season there was a sense of unfinished business, but due to present circumstances it will remain as that for me."

Cassidy played a key role in Donegal’s run to the 2011 All-Ireland semi-final, kicking one of the iconic points of the summer in the final seconds of extra-time to defeat Kildare in the quarter-final.

That score secured a semi-final clash with eventual champions Dublin, who beat Donegal by 0-8 to 0-6 before going on to defeat Kerry in the final.

Donegal's defensive tactics were a talking point for much of the Championship, something which caused McGuinness' relationship with the media to become fractious at times.

This week, Cassidy was removed from the Donegal by McGuinness after it emerged he had revealed details from within the Donegal camp in a book – ‘This Is Our Year’ - by Fermanagh journalist Declan Bogue.

The book tells the story of the 2011 Championship from the perspectives of 10 players, including Cassidy, from Ulster counties.

McGuinness is understood to have been unhappy with Cassidy for not seeking his permission before agreeing to contribute to it.

Pictured below: Kevin Cassidy kicks the winning point against Kildare

Kevin Cassidy kicks the winning point v Kildare

Cassidy adds: "Anything I talked about in the book was only my opinion on where Donegal were coming from, and how we needed to change to reach the heights we did. I never intended any disrespect to any opponents or Donegal people.

"I don't regret my part in the book. It was with total honesty that I approached it and I don't believe I revealed any secrets within the squad. Anything that I discussed had been said before the publication.

"But it should also be noted that I was only one of ten representatives from the counties involved."

The Gweedore clubman also revealed the circumstances in which he agreed to take co-operate with the book's author.

He said: "Last January, Declan Bogue approached me and asked me to take part in the book, 'This Is Our Year.' It was something I was very interested in as I thought it was a good idea.

"I didn't run it by the team management because I was totally focussed on our goals for the year ahead, and didn't feel it would impact on the team. I don't believe it affected my performances."

The Donegal county board backed McGuinness' decision to drop Cassidy from the panel yesterday.

Before today's statement was released, 1992 All-Ireland winning Donegal manager Brian McEniff told the Belfast Telegraph that he believes Cassidy will play for Donegal again.

Kevin Cassidy Statement In Full:

"It is with great regret that following the events of Tuesday, it appears my inter-county career is over.

"From my debut in 2002, I always took an immense pride and gave my all when playing for Donegal, and I hope supporters appreciate that. I have also been blessed with the boys I played with and I wish them all the very best of luck with their efforts in the future.

"This time last year I had retired, but was persuaded back to give one more year for Donegal. It meant that I left my wife Sarah at home most nights with our new-born twins, Aoife and Nia. It was a huge commitment for Sarah to make as well, and given some reflection on recent days, it was one that would have been selfish of me to ask again for in 2012.

"Our achievements this year were incredible and the times we shared will stay with me forever. It was an incredible time to be a Donegal player. At the end of the season there was a sense of unfinished business, but due to present circumstances it will remain as that for me.

"Last January, Declan Bogue approached me and asked me to take part in the book, 'This Is Our Year.' It was something I was very interested in as I thought it was a good idea.

"I didn't run it by the team management because I was totally focussed on our goals for the year ahead, and didn't feel it would impact on the team. I don't believe it affected my performances.

"Anything I talked about in the book was only my opinion on where Donegal were coming from, and how we needed to change to reach the heights we did. I never intended any disrespect to any opponents or Donegal people.

“I don't regret my part in the book. It was with total honesty that I approached it and I don't believe I revealed any secrets within the squad. Anything that I discussed had been said before the publication.

"But it should also be noted that I was only one of ten representatives from the counties involved.

"While I am sad to leave the Donegal panel, I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and committing to Gaoth Dobhair CLG. I remain a Donegal man and supporter and wish the county all the success in the future.

"I wish to thank every manager I have ever played under, right until this point. I learned so much from them and appreciated all their efforts. My respect for them is apparent in the book, when read in its' full context

There will be no further media comment on this.

Thank you."

Kevin Cassidy.