Sport

Where are they now? Former Cavan stalwart Philip Smith

Philip Smith was normally deployed in defence or midfield during a 14-year career with the Breffni Blues
Neil Loughran

PHILIP SMITH (CAVAN)

Age: 50

 

Club: Crosserlough

 

When did you play for Cavan?
1987-2001

 

What do you do nowadays?
I’ve been working in Tractamotors for about the last 18 months, in the hardware end of it.

 

Are you still involved in Gaelic football?
I was still playing until about four years ago, but now I’m working with the U16s there in Crosserlough. It’s time consuming, but I enjoy it.

 

What do you remember about your first game for Cavan?
I think it was a league game against Longford, Eugene McGee was over us at the time.

From memory, we won the game alright. I was just off the U21 team at the time and I first played in the Championship in ’87, I got on against Derry in Omagh, the time we drew the first game and they beat us in the replay.

 

What’s your best memory?
It would have to be the Ulster title win in 1997.

With the U21s having done well the year before [they reached the All-Ireland final], there was maybe a bit of momentum in Cavan. Different years, stuff might go well for you and you mightn’t win anything, but that was about the group.

 

And the worst?
The year that Derry drew with us at Celtic Park, 1999, it was Val Andrews’ first year in charge.

Joe Brolly scored a point to save the game for them, it went to a replay and they beat us well in Breffni. But the first day, we were complete underdogs and we sort of caught them on the hop, it would have been a big upset.

We nearly snatched it, but didn’t.

 

Are you glad you played in your era rather than today?
I’m glad I played when I did, the game has advanced a good bit from when we were playing in terms of fitness and tactics.

No-one knows how they’d manage in the modern game, I suppose - club players and county players have to be very committed, there’s huge time given to it.

 

Any regrets?
Probably that we didn’t win a bit more, but then it’s not all about the winning either.

Maybe at club level we could have achieved a bit more. I was lucky with injuries the older I got, so I can’t complain.

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