Cassidy issues statement over Donegal axing

The disagreement between Donegal manager Jim McGuinness and axed defender Kevin Cassidy is such that the All-Star feels that he has played his last inter-county game.

The disagreement between Donegal manager Jim McGuinness and axed defender Kevin Cassidy is such that the All-Star feels that he has played his last inter-county game.

Cassidy was sensationally dropped from the Donegal senior football panel earlier this week following McGuinness' anger at his participation in a newly-published book, 'This Is Our Year', and the details he revealed in it about the Donegal camp.

The book is written by Fermanagh journalist Declan Bogue and features the perspectives of ten players from Ulster counties, including Cassidy, on their particular campaigns in the 2011 Championship.

McGuinness held a meeting with Cassidy in Letterkenny on Tuesday before confirmation came through that the Gweedore clubman has been 'released from the panel with immediate effect'.

McGuinness is known as a strict disciplinarian and got every member of his 2011 squad to sign two agreements - one which covered discipline and a second which centred on a confidentiality agreement.

It appears that Cassidy breached the latter when discussing Donegal's training methods and preparations for their Championship matches this summer.

He is not the first Donegal player to be dropped in McGuinness' first year at the helm. Forward Adrian Hanlon played only one game of their successful Ulster Championship run before being axed for disciplinary reasons.

The Donegal County Board have backed McGuinness' decision to drop Cassidy, but former Donegal boss Brian McEniff, who guided the county to their only All-Ireland success in 1992, feels that he could return at some stage next season.

"At the turn of the year there could be a change of mind. I'd certainly like to see that happen," McEniff told the Belfast Telegraph.

"It's hard because I know both men well, but with a bit of time you never know. It's a very sour note to end the year on because we were in such a good place in Donegal after the year we had."

In a statement released today, the 30-year-old Cassidy expressed his regret at the way the year has ended for him personally and explained his reasons for wanting to give an inside view of McGuinness' regime to the author.

KEVIN CASSIDY'S STATEMENT IN FULL:

"It is with great regret that following the events of Tuesday, it appears my inter-county career is over.

"From my debut in 2002, I always took an immense pride and gave my all when playing for Donegal, and I hope supporters appreciate that. I have also been blessed with the boys I played with and I wish them all the very best of luck with their efforts in the future.

"This time last year I had retired, but was persuaded back to give one more year for Donegal. It meant that I left my wife Sarah at home most nights with our new-born twins, Aoife and Nia. It was a huge commitment for Sarah to make as well, and given some reflection on recent days, it was one that would have been selfish of me to ask again for in 2012.

"Our achievements this year were incredible and the times we shared will stay with me forever. It was an incredible time to be a Donegal player. At the end of the season there was a sense of unfinished business, but due to present circumstances it will remain as that for me.

"Last January, Declan Bogue approached me and asked me to take part in the book, 'This Is Our Year.' It was something I was very interested in as I thought it was a good idea.

"I didn't run it by the team management because I was totally focused on our goals for the year ahead, and didn't feel it would impact on the team. I don't believe it affected my performances.

"Anything I talked about in the book was only my opinion on where Donegal were coming from, and how we needed to change to reach the heights we did. I never intended any disrespect to any opponents or Donegal people.

"I don't regret my part in the book. It was with total honesty that I approached it and I don't believe I revealed any secrets within the squad. Anything that I discussed had been said before the publication.

"But it should also be noted that I was only one of ten representatives from the counties involved.

"While I am sad to leave the Donegal panel, I am looking forward to spending more time with my family and committing to Gaoth Dobhair CLG. I remain a Donegal man and supporter and wish the county all the success in the future.

"I wish to thank every manager I have ever played under, right until this point. I learned so much from them and appreciated all their efforts. My respect for them is apparent in the book, when read in its' full context.

"There will be no further media comment on this. Thank you."

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