Boss Damian Cassidy lauds Michael McCann and Cargin's cool heads
Antrim Senior Football Championship final: Erin’s Own, Cargin 0-5 Creggan Kickhams 0-4
CARGIN boss Damian Cassidy described final hero Michael McCann a “Rolls Royce” footballer as the Erin’s Own men defeated neighbours Creggan Kickhams to claim the Antrim title yesterday.
McCann kicked the winning score with eight minutes remaining and despite some uncomfortable moments in the closing stages, Cargin held on to reclaim the MacNamee Cup they last won in 2016.
McCann was the best player on the field yesterday in what was an instantly forgettable decider in Ahoghill.
“Michael was majestic,” said Cassidy, who took over from fellow Derryman John Brennan at the beginning of the season.
“In that last period he was heavily involved, recycling the ball, orchestrating and dictating. What do you do with a Rolls Royce player like him? You just let him purr away.”
Cassidy noted his players were “very relaxed” leading into yesterday’s final but felt the tense rivalry between neighbours took a firm grip of both sets of players, which ended up producing a poor spectacle.
While Cargin had some tricky moments in the closing stages, he paid tribute to his players for keeping possession under pressure.
“I suppose it's a compliment to St Gall’s because that was one of their big strengths in terms of managing the game. There was nothing in it in those last 10 minutes.
“The players had the composure to control that period of the game. It’s about cool heads and executing the skills that had been coached from March.”
Meanwhile, Creggan boss Kevin Madden rued his side’s series of missed chances that cost them their first title success since 1954.
“The big thing we had to do today was not to allow the occasion to get the better of us,” said Madden. “We knew the physicality that Cargin would bring and that we would man up to that and leave nothing in the dressing room.
“They did that and I’m proud of the boys but they didn’t play their best game. I don’t know what the stats [wides] are but I’m pretty sure they were in double figures.
Madden, who has raised standards at the Kickhams club since his arrival three years ago, added: “We’ve young lads of 18 and 19 years of age coming off the field absolutely devastated. They gave the shirt of their back and it just didn’t fall for them.
“If there’s a difference between the sides it was Cargin’s big-game experience in a low-scoring game and being able to make the most of their chances.”