Donegal All-Ireland winning manager Brian McEniff has said he would hope to see Kevin Cassidy back in the county colours aagin in the near future.
McEniff, who managed Donegal five times, was reacting to the news that Jim McGuinness had sensationally dropped the two time All-Star from the Donegal panel. McEniff said he fully appreciated McGuinnness’s job was to manage the team and he accepted the manager probably had to take the action he took.
However, McEniff also expressed the wish that he hoped fences could be mended in the coming months and Cassidy could be back playing next year.
“I’m very disappointed to hear the news and I fully understand Jim’s position,” he said. “Obviously he was hurt and let down but time can be a great healer and I would like to think that we have not seen the end of Kevin Cassidy.
“I’ve known Kevin since Seamus Reilly had him in the U-21 squad in 1999, but unfortunately let him go because he was not turning up at training. Of course I managed him for a time myself during my last stint with the county.
“Kevin is very good footballer and very competitive and always wears his heart on his sleeve. As I know from experience from a few years ago, when a dictaphone is put in front of you, one can ramble on and I suspect this is what may have happened in this case.
“But I spoke to all those people that took offence (from McEniff’s comments) and most of them understood (where I was coming from). Hopefully Jim and Kevin will sit down when the whole thing dies down and patch up their differences. Kevin still has a lot to offer and we need him, especially now that we are back in Division One once again.”
Cassidy, who only last month picked up his second All-Star award, was axed by Donegal manager McGuinness on Tuesday following a meeting in Letterkenny.Confirming his decision, McGuinness refused to expand any further on his reason for doing so.
However, speculation is rife that it may have something to do with revelations from Cassidy in a recently published book ‘This is Our Year’, penned by Fermanagh journalist Declan Bogue.
In the publication that was launched last weekend in his native Gaoth Dobhair, Cassidy was highly critical of former manager John Joe Doherty and his backroom team, which drew a response from Tony Boyle - a member of Doherty’s backroom team - in last Thursday’s Donegal Democrat.
However, Cassidy, who was high in his praise of McGuinness and his professional attitude, revealed much about Donegal’s advanced training techniques this year and how they had prepared physiologically for big games. It’s believed those revalations may have angered the Donegal boss who ran a very tight ship all year when it came to talking to the press and dealing with the media in general.
It is generally accepted that very little was coming out of the Donegal camp in the course of 2011 and it is also understood that the entire Donegal signed up to this and agreed to keep everything ‘in-house’.
Last Friday night, ahead of the launch of the book, McGuinness met the squad in relation to fund-raising for next month’s holiday in Florida.
At that meeting the Donegal boss instructed the squad not to attend the book launch the following night in Gaoth Dobhair. It is not clear if Kevin Cassidy was at the meeting or not but none of the players attended the launch in Teach Huidi, something seen by many as an indication of the loyalty which the players have for their manager.