People in Focus: Ardboe’s Michael Cassidy ready for All Ireland test with Tyrone GAA

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Just a month ago many pundits, gaels and indeed fans out there were writing Tyrone’s epitaph in terms of making it back to the top of the national GAA Football tree but of course anyone tuned into what the O’Neill County stands for would have known it was a premature assessment.

While success must of course follow, it was still difficult not to be impressed by the form shown by the Tyrone senior football team in their dismantling of the opposition in the Dr McKenna Cup and then the performances served up against big guns Kerry, Cork, Dublin and Mayo. Ultimately that quartet are in the top 5 contenders for All Ireland glory in September yet the O’Neill County had a record of one win, two draws and a most unlucky 1 point defeat against the four in Division 1 of the league.

Yes the displays against Monaghan and Donegal were very disappointing while the draw with Derry was hard to assess such were the atrocious conditions, and many critics abruptly pointed to the relegation to Division 2 as a major “doom and gloom” scenario. However, the Championship is yet to come and, for many, the emergence and winning run of the Tyrone under 21 team has sparked new enthusiasm and belief again.

Tyrone’s hot under 21 form, particularly in the manner with which they have played, exhibiting fantastic character and endeavour in all games has in many ways kickstarted a new belief that Tyrone GAA football is very much in the mix with the best.

While we will preview the All Ireland Under 21 football final against Munster champions, Tipperary, next week as well as the eagerly awaited Senior Championship showdown with Donegal on May 17th, Tyrone Life this weekend got talking with Ardboe’s rising star, Michael Cassidy, for the latest of our People in Focus profiles.

The talented defender exhibited ‘swashbuckling’ quality as the O’Donovan Rossa’s centre back in 2014 and this year has excelled in his role in the Tyrone Under 21 rearguard, getting up to add a point in the impressive semi final win over Roscommon.

Michael is a player who has come through the ranks with success in schools football with Holy Trinity College, Cookstown, as well as the underage Tyrone teams and, like the rest of the county under 21 panel, is excited by the biggest challenge of his career to date.

The All Ireland under 21 Football Championship Final goes down for decision in Parnell Park, Dublinnext weekend (Saturday 2nd May, 6pm) when Tyrone will take on Tipperary, who were eye-catching winners over pre-All Ireland hot favourites, Dublin, in their semi final. Tickets are €20 with students concessions on the day available at €15. CLICK HERE to Buy Tickets for the All Ireland Under 21 Final

Here we bring you our latest PEOPLE in FOCUS Profile with Ardboe’s MICHAEL CASSIDY ahead of that huge game for the county…


Michael Cassidy celebrates with team-mates after their 0-14 to 1-08 victory in the 2012 Ulster Minor final. Many of the same group of players have now gone a step further at under 21 level in reaching the All Ireland Under 21 championship final in just over one week’s time

Q&A, People in Focus profile with Michael Cassidy, Ardboe


Football Honours & Achievements:

  • Holy Trinity College-Tyrone County Champions while in was in 3rd year.
  • In 5th year we were Tyrone County Champions, Ulster champions and All Ireland Champions
  • Lower 6th Ulster Champions
  • Upper 6th, at the age of 18,  we won the Ulster title again and went on the win the All Ireland title
  • With my club, Ardboe, we won the Grade 2 championship and league at under 16 level.
  • Also with my club we won the Tyrone GAA Grade 1 minor football championship.
  • At Tyrone GAA County level, we won the Ulster GAA Minor Football league and Ulster GAA Minor Football championship titles
  • With the Tyrone GAA Under 21 football team, we won the Ulster Championship title and are now into the All Ireland Final

Can you tell us about your earliest experiences with the club:

My first memories would have been heading to the Ardboe football pitch with my older brother, when he was training, and watching the club games. I then started to play for Ardboe for the under 10s and have never stopped from that age.

Hobbies & Other interests:

I haven’t any other hobbies apart from the football, other than playing golf with my friends for a days ‘craic’, but I wouldn’t be that great at it!


“The biggest moment for me at school was when I was captain of the team in the year we won the All Ireland final in Croke Park”

opzioni digitali simulazioni School Years: Can you tell us a bit about your school years, moments that stand out for you and who would have had a big influence on you in those years…

Peter Canavan and Adrian O’Donnell were two big influences on me while I attended Holy Trinity College. They both taught me and were both part of the management team which lead us to all our successes with football in the school. The biggest moment for me at school was when I was captain of the team in the year we won the All Ireland final in Croke Park. Another memory was getting the opportunity to travel to Dubai to play in the GAA World games, which was an unbelievable experience which I will never forget.

Teenage years: When growing up can you tell us about your three biggest memories of football in club or county, as a spectator and a player…

The 3 biggest moments as a spectator was when attending the All Ireland football finals in Croke Park, when Tyrone won Sam Maguire in 2003, 2005 and 2008. It inspired me to want to get to that level and be able to win an All Ireland final with Tyrone seniors and be up there with the best.

As a player, being captain of a successful school team and being able to lift an All Ireland Cup in the Hogan Stand at Croke Park will stay with me forever.  Also in my youth with Ardboe club, being a part of successful teams managed by Ollie Mallaghan and Benny Hurl.


celebrating success with Ardboe minors…

Tyrone Life – My thoughts on… …your community & your club where you grew up?

I come from a small and close-knit community near the Loughshore. I live on the outskirts of Ardboe, where there was very little else to do other than to play football in the fields behind me. I wouldn’t change anything or live anywhere else!

enter …the big characters in your community/club when you were growing up?

Frank McGuigan Junior is always wanting to organise events so he can get in for free!

follow …from watching Ardboe teams over the years, some of the club players who stood out for you. What things impressed you about watching these players?

I didn’t see much of Frank McGuigan when I was younger but I have seen different clips of him. But he is well known as go here Frank McGuigan ‘The Great’.  I just wish I had have been able to witness him more! Then you have his son, Brian McGuigan, who is an inspiration in terms of his achievements. The fact I am even now getting to play along with him and the seniors is massive.

follow link …what we might expect from the Ardboe club in league and championship football in Tyrone in 2015?

To be honest there are a lot of big draws in the Senior Club Championship in Tyrone GAA this year. There will be a lot of big teams who will be put out in the first round alone. I just hope we aren’t one of them!

We always seem to fall short in recent years but I definitely think there are big days to come for this club because there is a lot of talent and potential within the players and the youth coming up. However, it is all down to us now to deliver. The players, management and back-room team are putting in the hard work.


“in my youth with Ardboe club being a part of successful teams managed by Ollie Mallaghan and Benny Hurl stands out as defining memories”

…some of the Tyrone players who stood out for you. What things impressed you about watching these star Tyrone players?

25mg viagra work Brian McGuigan is one of the Tyrone players who has always stood out for me. He has won All Irelands with Tyrone, as well as All Stars, and he is also a club-mate of my own. Brian really impressed me as he was always such a good play-maker in games. Then we have aspirin n 100mg wirkung Peter Canavan! Well I don’t have to start to tell you about him because everyone knows what he has done for Tyrone – he was just an inspiration to watch. tegretol cr 200 mg Brian Dooher is another former Tyrone great who stood out for me. His energy out on the field was sensational and everything looked so effortless to him.

…the progress the side has made en route to the 2015 U21 final…

We first met up in August of last year and the work that has been put in from both the players and management until now has been unbelievable. Each and every player has been a credit to themselves, their clubs and their county. The effort they have put in has got us to the All Ireland final. The wins over Donegal and Roscommon were mind blowing. That meant a lot to us and Tyrone as we were going in as under-dogs in the Ulster final and we have proved everyone wrong so far.


Celebrating Ulster Under21 championship glory with the Tyrone Under 21 team in 2015

…on looking ahead to the All Ireland final challenge against Tipperary?

No one knows the character, the fight and the determination within this bunch of lads and I know they won’t give up. People will have seen this already in the Ulster final when Donegal came back at us with 5 minutes to go to almost clinch the game. We never backed down. We stuck together as a team and that fight kept us going to the end. It has been good that the media has really given us no hope so far because it has given us a bit more bite to prove them wrong.

We do know however that we are now up against a very good Tipperary side, a challenge which we are taking very seriously. We know we are facing a very tough game ahead and we all know that this is an All Ireland final and you don’t win them easy. Obviously we will have to give it our all and it will take our best form of the year so far to win it. We will leave it to the management and the back room team to do their homework again and take it from there!

Social Life – My thoughts on…

…places you have travelled to (anywhere in the world) – and best memories & places that really stood out?

I have travelled to many places but those which have really stood out for me were Dubai and Thailand.

…things you enjoy best about the ‘weekend’ and favourite things to do?

I love when it comes to the weekend so I can relax, going out with my mates and eating chinese food.

For fun…

Favourite “Laugh out Loud” scene in a movie?

In the hangover movie them finding a tiger in the bathroom.

3 Funniest Footballers/Characters in the changing rooms:

Dan McNulty, Tommy McGuigan and Aidan Duffy

…one word you think best describes the 3 players you named above:


Tell us your favourite Joke?

Not a man for telling jokes

Funniest person you know? One sentence that best describes them?

Barry “Duke” Devlin, he has a saying for everybody!

Name 2 people who you’ve always thought were ‘spitting doubles’:

Sean Loughran and Conor Gormley


My life & favourites…

Gaelic Footballers: Brian McGuigan

Sports: Football

Male Sportstars: Ronaldo and Messi

Ladies Sportstars: Maria Sharapova

Celebrities: Michelle Keegan


Michael pictured with ‘Favourite Celebrity’. Michelle Keegan, at ‘Favourite Nightclub’, Sense.

Nightclub: Sense

Pub: Forbes club

Band/Singer(s): Coldplay

Music Video: Calvin Harris – Summer

TV Show(s): Friends

Movie(s): Fast and Furious

Drink: Water

Food: Spaghetti Bolognese

Place (apart from home): Dubai

Sports Venue: Croke Park

Facebook, Twitter or Instagram? Twitter

Inspirational Quote you like?

“You only live once but if you do it right then once is enough”