The retirement of Roscommon’s Cathal Cregg after an intercounty career that spanned 15 years will be a huge loss to squad according to county manager Anthony Cunningham.
The Western Gaels player, who won Connacht medals with the Rossies in 2010 and 2019, scored 4-48 across 51 championship appearances for his county, with perhaps his most famous goal the one he scored against Mayo in the 2019 Connacht semi-final, when his powerful run and finish proved crucial in a 2-12 to 0-17 win at MacHale Park.
“It wasn’t a massive surprise to us, aside from being a really good guy who’s easy to work with, Cathal is very honest and had hinted from the end of last season that this was possibly on the cards,” said Cunningham.
“He has a young family, a demanding job, and a huge amount of mileage on the clock, and that’s because he’s given more than anyone to Roscommon and Western Gaels. In terms of commitment and performance, he’s just so professional in the way he goes about things.”
Having recently completed a PhD to augment his Master's in Exercise Science, Cregg's influence on the training ground was invaluable to Cunningham and his coaching colleagues.
“He gave tremendous help and expertise to us as a group, while he was an inspiration to younger players and was a great guiding light to newer members of the panel who were still learning about what’s involved in being an intercounty player.
“Cathal looked after himself incredibly well, and it’s because of that he was still such an influential player on into the later years of his career. He was already heavily involved in putting in place the coaching and development pathway for younger players here in the county, and there’s no doubt he’ll continue to be a central figure in the work done in that area for a long time to come. Some of this is because of his work as Provincial Games Manager with Connacht GAA, but also because he simply has so much to offer.”
Aside from Cregg, Shane Killoran and Gary Patterson (travelling), Seán Mullooly (injury), and Tadhg O’Rourke (work commitments) are other members of the 2021 Roscommon panel who are expected to miss either a large part or the entirety of the county’s 2022 season, which will get underway on Saturday, January 8, with an FBD league fixture against either Sligo or Leitrim at the Connacht GAA Air Dome.