Kevin Cassidy

KEVIN CASSIDY: A first instalment

CONSIDERING that the 2024 inter-county season only fully kicks off next weekend there’s so much happening this week with the GAA.

Let me begin with the decision to overturn the eight week suspension handed down to Jim McGuinness last week.

I wrote here last week I thought the decision was farcical from the beginning.

I also stated that someone must be to blame. From what I gather, the blame lies at the door of Donegal GAA secretary as they are the people in charge of making sure everything is above board.

I fully expected the suspension to be overturned and I think what happened could have been dealt with a lot better From the Ulster Council’s perspective instead of dragging it through the media for a week to then overturn the ban.

The most person in this is the player and I’m not sure where this leaves him now and whether he is allowed to play or not.

From a Donegal point of you, we are just happy that the focus no returns to on field matters with a massive game against Derry in the McKenna Cup final followed by the league opener against Cork.

Let’s start with the McKenna Cup final which takes place on Saturday evening and it should be a cracking contest.

Considering these two meet each other in the first round of the Ulster Championship, then it’s fair to say that there will be a little added spice to this game.

From a neutral point of view, it should be a good game to watch, because of the kind of squads that Jim McGuinness has selected in the McKenna Cup so far. He has pretty much gone with the strongest team available to him.

On the other side of the fence, traditionally when with Tyrone, Mickey Harte has always gone all out to win this competition so Saturday should be a cracking game.

Regardless of who wins this game, it is an added bonus to both of these teams as the gear up for their tilt at their respective league campaigns.

So no matter who Saturday, both managers will be relatively happy with their preseason preparations.

From a Derry point of you and in particular those based around the Maghera area, the biggest game of the weekend is undoubtedly, the clash of Glen and Saint Brigid’s in the All Ireland club final.

We know that it doesn’t get any bigger than this and having gone through the heartache of loss this time last year, I’m sure that the Glen management and players have done everything in their power over the last two weeks to ensure that they experience that winning feeling in the dressing room this weekend.

We know the path that this Glen team has taken going way back to their underage days and they are inspiration for any club looking for a successful template.

Taking all of that into consideration, I think that most of us would love to see them get over the finish line this weekend and complete that incredible journey from underage to All Ireland senior kingpins.

We know that won’t be easy because you are never going to play a bad team in an All-Ireland final.

I just think that given Glen’s experience last year and the teams that they have beaten on the way to this year’s decider, then, for me, everything is pointing in the direction of a Glen win.

Their performances over the last two seasons in particular deserve an All-Ireland title, but deserving and winning are two totally different things. That’s why I feel that those players would have ticked off every box available over the last two weeks to ensure they get the job done and I think they will so for me. It’s Glen by four.

Before I sign off, I would like to extend hearty congratulations to the Cullyhanna club from Armagh on their amazing win last weekend.

It was great to see such an outpouring of emotion and it just goes to show you what the club means to us all.

The lads did their parish proud and that win will inspire the generations to come so fair play that’s what it’s all about.

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