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Cumann Lúthchleas Gael Fear Manach

Jonathan Cassidy – Interview

May 17th, 2019

It may only be his first season with the County Senior side but Fermanagh defender Jonathan Cassidy has made the transition from youth level to Senior level look rather easy.
The Enniskillen Gaels clubman has came into Rory Gallagher’s plans this season and started six of the seven NFL Division 2 games, with an injury just before the Armagh game ruling the versatile corner back out of completing all seven games.
Cassidy got his first taste of County football in the McKenna Cup in the opening drawn game at home to Jordanstown as he played the full game before the round 2 clash against Derry when he came on with 4 minutes remaining for Ryan Lyons as Rory Gallagher’s side went down to the Oak Leafers, 2-8 to 3-9.
Cassidy has enjoyed the County scene to date and says it has been a real eye opener, “From the very first training session I must say I have really enjoyed it. The whole players are a great bunch and there has been a great comradery around the squad as well. We competed well in the league but just fell short in the last two games, it’s something to work on though and we know Donegal now on May 26th will be a major test.”
He continued, “To represent your County at the top level, it’s a very rewarding experience, I am just back to training now as I had a mild strain on my hamstring during the Meath game late on down in Navan, the hamstring is hard to overcome so I was taking no chances but I am working with the Fermanagh medical team and I am now back out with the boys training again.”
The 20-year old who is a Business Studies student at Jordanstown has seen his training sessions increase since he went to the County scene, “We would normally train three times a week on the pitch along with two gym sessions. Then we would use the other days as recovery or do a bit of extra work for what is needed.”
The former St Josephs Enniskillen student was lucky enough to win everything he could with his club Enniskillen Gaels at Youth level and that winning instinct will hopefully carry through with him into County Senior football, “Yeah looking back I had a really good number of years with Enniskillen, we won practically everything we could and the added bonus was of course winning the Ulster Minor Club Championship when we beat Ballinascreen of Derry. I suppose winning gives you the hunger for just more and more trophies but at the same time it also shows you if you put in the work you can reap the benefits.”
At present there has been a huge tug of war between Club and County players, with the CPA stating on record that a strike may be imminent due to the fixtures chaos, for someone like Cassidy he says it’s all been good so far, “I don’t feel any pressure from my club, thankfully our club management team is always very understanding. Some week’s club hasn’t been an option for me, especially when my hamstring wasn’t 100% but thankfully my club had started well anyway so I wasn’t really missed.”
So Declan Bonner’s Donegal arrive to Brewster Park on Sunday May 26th in a repeat of last season’s Ulster Championship Final, Cassidy knows it’s going to be a huge test for the Erne County, “Donegal are a top side but we have proven throughout the league that we can compete and probably were unlucky to just miss out on promotion. Donegal are a seasoned side and it will be a different team than the one we faced in Letterkenny in NFL Division 2. Rory will have us well prepared and so we are all looking forward to the game.”
Cassidy speaks confidently and is an extremely level headed person, he was an instrumental part of a Fermanagh defence that conceded the least throughout the 4 divisions of the National Football League. On May 26th Cassidy will be looking at the Donegal scoring threat and will be handed another tough test which many in Fermanagh will be confident he will come out the right side of once again.

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