In 2016, former Donegal star Kevin Cassidy retired from Gaelic football. Today, the 37-year-old helped his side Gaoth Dobhair to their first ever Ulster Club SFC title. A fairytale ending to his remarkable comeback came to pass in Healy Park.
Despite horrendous conditions, Scotstown and Gaoth Dobhair played out a hugely entertaining game that required extra-time to separate the sides. It ended 0-13 to 0-12, with Cassidy's 0-2 from play proving crucial.
It is the first time a Donegal club has won the Ulster championship since 1975 and a well-deserved one. They beat Cargin, Crossmaglen and Scotstown on their way to the ultimate triumph. Cassidy famously missed out on an All-Ireland medal after falling out with then Donegal manager Jim McGuinness and he was ecstatic in the aftermath of today's result.
Kevin Cassidy interviewed on the pitch 40 seconds after the final whistle. The beauty of radio. He can hardly speak but the importance of today comes across clearly “Stuff of Dreams” he says. Perfect.
— Thomas Niblock (@thomasniblock) December 2, 2018
Unbelievable for Kevin Cassidy... amazing footballer who missed out on getting his hands on Sam Maguire but I’m sure today in Healy Park made up for that and a hell of a lot more!! 🙌🏼💪🏼 #Warrior
— Ciarán Johnston (@CGJ1994) December 2, 2018
Kevin Cassidy a joy to watch inside. Ball winning skills=👌🏻#GAABEO
— Miceal Rooney (@MicealR) December 2, 2018
Always thought Kevin Cassidy an excellent footballer. Tough, skilful. Now a full forward, leadership, scoring... even how he was the one who controlled his team and management when confronting the referee at the end. A real class act.
— Chris Traynor (@PerformTraynor) December 2, 2018
Delighted for Gaoth Dobahir and especially Kevin Cassidy. What a story! Also can’t but feel bad for Scotstown - two Ulster final extra time losses in four years.
— Niall McCoy (@McCoyNiall) December 2, 2018
Kevin Cassidy showing unreal leadership today for his team. Great game in fairness after football taking a lot of stick as last lot of months. #UlsterClubFinal 🏐🏆
— PaudieShivers (@itsmep456) December 2, 2018
The sides were level at half-time with Shane Carey particularly impressive for the Monaghan outfit. He hit 0-6 although he was subsequently shown a red card in extra-time for a closed fist tackle.
Cassidy was Gaoth Dobhair's leading target man at the edge of the square and was lively throughout while Donegal star Odhrán Mac Niallais was his usual industrial self and finished with 0-4.
Great play and a lovely score from Odhrán Mac Niallais! pic.twitter.com/lZL5v75qFf
— The GAA (@officialgaa) December 2, 2018
Substitute James Carroll kicked a late score which proved to be the winner, although Rory Beggan had a chance to equalise with a long-range free that just dropped short.
There was simultaneous joy and despair after the final whistle, but for Kevin Cassidy, it is a deserved day of celebration after a lifetime of service for the green of Gaoth Dobhair. Fans flooded onto the field and hoisted the full-forward into the air and now they will march on, with Galway kingpins Corofin and an All-Ireland semi-final on the horizon.
Scéal an Cluiche !
Corraithe Uladh ab ea iad @gaothdobhairclg
— Spórt TG4 (@SportTG4) December 2, 2018