BY CHRIS MCNULTY
DOUBLE All-Star Kevin Cassidy has been sensationally released from the Donegal senior football panel.
The Gaoth Dobhair man met manager Jim McGuinness this afternoon in Letterkenny, where the 30-year old’s inter-county career was ended.
“We had a discussion and I have released him from the co panel,” McGuinness confirmed.
The Donegal boss said he was making no further comment on the matter.
While McGuinness wouldn’t discuss the issue, it is understood that he was angered at comments made by the player in a newly-published book ‘This Is Our Year’.
In the book, Cassidy’s year with Donegal is one of nine stories charted – and in it he gives a revealing insight into Donegal’s preparations.
Cassidy reveals that the inspiration for wristbands worn from the Ulster quarter-final against Cavan came from former American football safety Brian ‘Wolverine’ Dawkins.
“It just jumped out at me that this guy was exactly like half of our team – a lovely lad off the field, but an animal on it,” Cassidy says in the book.
“I asked Maxi to bring the laptop to training and put it on YouTube. I wondered if there was anything of this that we could tap into because we were too nice.”
It is believed that McGuinness is vexed that he had no consultation from the player prior to the writing of the book, in which the Glenties man’s rigorous training methods are laid bare. “Jim’s warm-ups are unbelievable,” Cassidy is quoted. “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 springs, 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.”
Cassidy was only coaxed out of retirement thanks to quite an amount of persuasion by McGuinness last autumn. The wing-back had quit inter-county football after Donegal lost a qualifier to Armagh in June. McGuinness prised him back and he had the year of his dreams – winning a first Ulster title, before kicking a memorable last-gasp point to floor Kildare to shoot Donegal to an All-Ireland semi-final.
Cassidy was one of three Donegal players named on the All-Star team for 2011, but McGuinness has decided to call time on his Tir Chonaill career for him, unhappy that a veil of silence he introduced upon his appointment has been broken.
Kevin Cassidy said that he had ‘no comment’ to make on the matter.
On Saturday night, at a launch of the book in his native Gaoth Dobhair, the player said that he had simply offered his opinion.
He said: “I said from day one that it would be honest – there was no point in keeping details away or trying to be nice to this person or that person. It was just my opinion on things.”
A week on from a statement by former Donegal selector Tony Boyle in response to an extract from the book that appeared in the Donegal News – in which Cassidy was critical of a number of preparatory tactics of the regime of John Joe Doherty – has come the ultimate rebuke, in the form of McGuinness’ decision to axe the double All-Star from his plans for 2012.