GAA Football

Honeymooner John McNabb still not ruling himself out of Cargin's Ulster clash with Gweedore

John McNabb helped Cargin win another Antrim title before going off on a delayed honeymoon early this week Picture by Seamus Loughran

CARGIN goalkeeper John McNabb married an angel. Her name is Amanda O’Neill of Clooney Gaels.

They both tied the knot a week before last Sunday’s Antrim SFC final against Creggan Kickham’s.

They decided to postpone their honeymoon to Rhodes so that John could play in the county final.

Two days after their one-point victory in Ahoghill, the newly weds were on a plane for their delayed honeymoon and while it looks as though McNabb will miss Cargin’s Ulster Club Championship clash with Donegal champions Ghaoth Dobhair on November 4, the 27-year-old netminder wasn’t ruling out making a surprise appearance at Corrigan Park.

Speaking at Gatwick Airport’s departure lounge on Tuesday afternoon, McNabb said: “I don’t know if I’ll be back for the next game. I think we’re due back on the Monday morning, the day after the Ulster Club game [against Gweedore].

“But I could get a message through to say about playing and my wife could end up booking me a flight home a day early.”

It was Amanda who took the decision to postpone their honeymoon by a week.

“We got married the Saturday week before the Antrim final. We were supposed to go on our honeymoon the following week but after such a dramatic win over St Gall’s in the semi-final my wife sorted the whole thing and she changed our dates so I could play in the final against Creggan.”

There won’t be a more dramatic win in club football this year than Cargin overcoming St Gall’s with the last kick of the game.

Tomas McCann buried the ball in the roof of the St Gall’s net from a close-range free to book their final place.

“After the St Gall’s game there were mixed emotions,” McNabb said, who has played in six county finals.

“I knew we had our honeymoon coming up. My head was all over the place. We were going on honeymoon and then Tomas McCann scored that goal and we weren’t going on honeymoon.”

In the closing stages of last Sunday’s derby affair with Creggan it looked odds-on the final would finish in a draw, and it was doubtful if the Cargin ‘keeper would have been able to postpone his honeymoon twice.

“Funny, a few of my relatives said to me: ‘What happens if it finishes in a draw?’ I don’t know what I would have done, but thankfully we won it.

“There was a whole lot of emotion after the final. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry or who to hug. It was one of those days. It was a hard-fought victory. It was an unbelievable feeling.”

McNabb added he was looking forward to “relaxing with a few cocktails by the pool” over the next 10 days but revealed he had already watched Ghaoth Dobhair’s final victory over Glenties on the iPlayer, so he could still be part of Damian Cassidy’s team on November 4.

Having played in six finals, McNabb is now the proud owner of two winner’s medals after being part of the Erin’s Own side that won the 2016 championship.

“I’ve been involved in six other finals and I wasn’t as nervous as I was than on Sunday because we were playing our rivals Creggan.

“I postponed my honeymoon for all the players and the management and all I could think about was: ‘We can’t lose, we can’t lose. I’m not losing.’

And yet, in the closing stages when Cargin engaged in a bit of keep-ball in a bid to protect their slender advantage, McNabb never felt Creggan would get another scoring opportunity to equalise.

“Back at the club, people were saying: ‘What were you all thinking running down the clock in the last five minutes?’

“Whenever we were throwing it about the backline I never thought we were going to lose the ball. If I’m giving the ball to Justy Crozier or Tony Scullion they’re not going to lose it.”

It appears McNabb – and manager Damian Cassidy – will keep their Donegal counterparts guessing as to the identity of their goalkeeper on Sunday week.

However, Cargin’s talented minor ‘keeper Michael McGuckin is on stand-by.

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