Mick puts 18 months of hell behind him as he looks forward to Sunday’s SFC final against Dunloy

Following  the important role he played in ensuring Cargin reached another senior championship final with a win over St Brigid’s under an angry sky and foul conditions at Dunsilly on Sunday past, Michael McCann looks forward to another decider and looked back on what he termed as ‘18 months of Hell’.

The former All Star replacement and member of an ‘Ireland selection’ as well as earning county and provincial honours was recalling a period which kept him away from the sport he loves.

“I had severe pain mostly centred on my lower body he said and despite endless searches for a cure, and surgery I just could not find relief.

Eventually I was given the name of a London based surgeon called Ernest Schilders, and on my initial visit I was assured he could solve my problems”

He assured me I was suffering from a condition called ‘adductor avulsion’ and was confident he could provide relief’.

In the event he was true to his word and following surgery and several weeks of rest I was able to walk without pain and eventually able to commence light training, gradually increasing indoor and outdoor activity until finally, I was given the all clear lately.

Back on the Cargin panel and in intensive training for the  championship, Michael was called into action in the semi-final clash with St Brigid’s as a replacement for Pat Shivers in the early stages and impressed throughout, playing a big part in his side’s success.

“I was more than a nervous at first, he said but soon regained confidence and having watched my eldest son, Charlie score a last gasp winning goal, ensuring success for the Cargin under-9 side in a blitz the previous day my confidence was restored and I was delighted to be back in the action following those long months on the side-lines

Michael McCann in action for Cargin duing the 2020 county final victory over Creggan in Portglenone.

Michael completed the semi-final with no reaction and is looking forward to another appearance in the county decider and the chance to claim another championship medal which would be his 8th. The first came in 2006, followed by wins in 2015, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2022.

Michael has lined out alongside his brothers, Tomas and Paul in the green shirt of Cargin for quite a number of years and more recently with is nephew Sean Og O’ Neill who had graduated from a successful minor side and he will hope to lineout alongside them again on Sunday against Dunloy at Corrigan Park.

Michael Mc Cann started out on what was to prove to be a long and successful career when he donned the green and white of the Cargin under-10s. Silverware eluded him in those early years for but he reached the pinnacle with his college, St. Patrick’s Maghera, gaining success in the Mc Crory and Hogan Cup competition.

Michael made his county debut under the management of Mickey Culbert and Martin Logan and went on the serve the Saffron’s under, Jodie Gormley, Liam ‘Baker’ Bradley, Frank Fitzsimmons, Gearoid Adams, Frank Dawson, and Lenny Harbinson.

His county debut was against a good Cavan team and he went on to play a major role for the Saffrons for nearly two decades with a narrow defeat to Kerry in an All Ireland quarter final in Tullamore on the 26th July 2009, possibly the high point of his county career.

“On the club scene, ‘I was privileged to work under a lot of talented individuals he said, like JC Devlin, Columba Mc Veigh, Danny Quinn, Shenny Mc Quillan, Martin Logan, Paddy Graffin, my brother Eamon, John Brennan, Damien Cassidy, and the present mentors, Ronan Devlin, Jude, and Kevin Doyle and have learned a lot from those men and I’m thankful for their time and vision.

“We face another stiff challenge in the shape of Cuchullian’s Dunloy who we meet in another county final this weekend, and although I know little about them individually their progress thus far earns them the respect they deserve.

I know they have plenty of excellent footballers, and I have played alongside Kevin Mc Quillan for Antrim and he was a superb footballer with brains to burn, knowing the game inside out.

I was impressed with their display against a good Portglenone side in the semi-final and we will need to be at our best to get the better of them”

Antrim’’s Michael McCann is closed down by two Donegal defenders during the 2009 Ulster SFC game in Ballybofey

After a couple defeats in senior championship finals Michael collected his first Seniormedal in 2006.  His first under age medal arrived shortly after when he captained Cargin’s under-21 side which included his brothers Tomas and Paul, as they recorded a win over St Johns in the final at Casement Park.

The McCann’s are a talented family and both Mary (Mc Auley), and Geardine (Mc Ginley), are holders of county, provincial, and National medals with Antrim in 2009 and 2012.

A sporting family indeed with a haul of 35 championship medals between them and the show certainly stays on the road with the next generation regularly spotted on the Toome pitches and the future certainly looks bright.

Pat Shivers who was forced out of the action at an early stage in the semi-final, hopes to be fit for the final on October 8th, with Eunan Quinn who received a facial injury early on the same day expected to be fit while Jamie Gribbin and Tomas McCann are both undergoing treatment for hamstring problems but should be available for selection.

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