Managers View – Damian Cassidy, Cargin…..
“The players had the composure to control the ball and control the game”
By Brendan McTaggart
Damian Cassidy was a proud man on Sunday afternoon. His troops put him through the ringer on the side line in the final ten minutes as they tried to see the game out. The Erins Own men controlled the closing stages using the three R’s of gaelic football. Reset, Recycle and Retention. It wasn’t pretty for the neutrals but it was effective and at the end of the day, the ends justified the means. An eighth county title, a third in four years and probably their sweetest of all after an absorbing contest against Creggan, their nearest neighbours.
It was a nervy ending with Creggan throwing everything at Cargin to try and gain possession in the hopes of creating that one golden chance they needed. Cargin’s manager from Bellaghy admitted he didn’t see that type of performance coming: “It was (nervous) and I didn’t feel coming into the game that we were in that position to be honest with you. I felt we were relaxed and the experience of the players had from previous games would help them.
“I guess there’s things you can’t control and you cant control two communities that live in each others pockets the way Creggan and Cargin do.
“That undercurrent that you can’t have any control off kicked in today.”
The way Cargin controlled the closing stages was hugely effective. Possession was king in those last ten minutes and they bossed it. Cassidy told us the work they’ve put in on the training ground prepared them for such scenarios: “It’s something we’ve worked very hard on this year. We sat at the start of the year and the players identified that was an area of their game they needed to develop. Composure and holding onto the ball. A compliment to St Galls in many ways. That’s a strength that they have in terms of game management and holding onto the ball.
“We managed out the last ten minutes, holding onto possession. We would have liked to create more scores up front but Creggan were playing quite a defensive game and conditions didn’t allow fancy football.
“It’s great from a management and coaching perspective that all that work has paid off and the players had the composure to control the ball and control the game.
“There was a point in it but it was about remaining calm and executing the skills that had been coached through the year from early March.”
Cassidy reserved special praise for his Captain before turning his attention to an Ulster club quarter final against Donegal men Gaoth Dobhair: “He’s majestic (Michael McCann). In that last period, he was heavily involved with the ball retention and orchestrating and dictating. What do you do when you have a Rolls Royce player? You let him purr away.
“This championship has been won and don’t get me wrong its fantastic to have won it but you always have to have ambition and look forward. I know how I approach it and I know what I want out of it and I’ll expect our players to be the same and I’ll be shocked if they aren’t.
“We’ll start looking at that on Tuesday but clearly that’s where you want to make your mark at.
“It will be a better environment because that tension you felt today will be gone. Ulster Club is about going out and playing football. They won’t be familiar with each other. They’ll analyse each other but the relationships are entirely different so the football will be different.”