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Kevin Cassidy opens up on tragic loss of Gaoth Dobhair team-mate
"When it happened you don't really care about football"
Last Updated: 08/02/19 2:10pm
Gaoth Dobhair footballer Kevin Cassidy discusses the tragic loss of a team-mate after a car crash claimed the lives of four young men in Donegal.
On the field of play, it's been quite the few months for Gaoth Dobhair. Picking up their first county title since 2006, they went on to create history by winning a historic Ulster title and in the process became the first Donegal club to triumph in the province since 1975.
As they emerged through the Christmas period looking ahead to the upcoming All-Ireland semi-final against Corofin, the small Gaeltacht community was rocked two weeks ago following the road accident in the area.
CLG Gaoth Dobhair club man Mícheál Roarty was among the victims. John Harley, Daniel Scott and Shaun Harkin were also killed in the crash.
"Mícheál Roarty was a team-mate of ours," explained Cassidy. "He trained with us that Saturday morning and then he was supposed to train on the Sunday but the accident happened.
"So he would have been around our squad. A very talented player, a serious character. Everybody knew him. If there was ever a night out, he was always there. You're still waiting to see him pop up or you're still waiting to see him come out of a changing room. It's tough for us but for the family it must be really, really tough. All we can do is try and do as much as we can to try and help with that.
"It was tough I suppose at the start, very tough," he added. "I think none of our players were thinking about Corofin this time last week, it was all about shock and trying to process it all. Since then we've kind of regrouped, we went back training the night after the funeral.
"It was good to be back with the boys and get back to something that feels normal to you. The last couple of days were something I've never ever experienced before in my life. The parish was just completely raw and numb. To get back to the sanctuary of the GAA pitch was good. Since then we've just rolled with it."
Such a tragedy puts perspective on things, and Cassidy says football became secondary.
"Obviously when it happened you don't really care about football to be honest," he said. "But then in the back of your mind, you're thinking you've the biggest game of your life to play in a week or so time, so you have to get ready. That's really what we've been doing.
"I think it's important to distance the two. Obviously Mícheál was a good friend but I don't think you can go and make a crusade out of something and try to say we're going to do this.
"All we can do is next Saturday in Carrick-on-Shannon, try and put our performance that our supporters would be proud of, hopefully Mícheál's family would be proud of. That's all we can really do."