GAA Football

I would consider staying on with Antrim: veteran midfielder Michael McCann

Mick McCann in action for Cargin earlier this year. The 35-year-old is keen to remain with Antrim in 2021 Picture Mal McCann.


VETERAN midfielder Michael McCann says he will consider extending his stay with Antrim after last weekend’s Ulster Championship exit to Cavan at Kingspan Breffni Park.

Despite being 35, the Cargin clubman was Antrim’s best player by a considerable margin in their four-point loss.

He decided to return to the county set-up a few weeks before lockdown back in March and admitted he was just glad he was able to compete at Ulster Championship level after four years away.

“It was the right decision to come back because I’d sort of forgotten what the Ulster Championship was like to play in,” said McCann, who was part of the Cargin three-in-a-row side in the summer.

“Once you play in it you realise why you played for the county.”

McCann missed Antrim’s heavy beating in Wicklow that effectively put paid to their promotion ambitions due to a hand injury but performed well in their final Division Four game against Waterford in Dundalk.

“I wanted to go back to see if I could compete at that level. That was my main aim. I thought I competed well enough against Cavan.

“I suppose at 35 it’s not easy to come back especially when you’re out of county football for four or five years. So I’m happy I did go back.

“But you never want to be that man on ‘live’ TV and everybody is talking about the game and people are saying: ‘That man is done, he’s 35.’

“As much as you don’t like to say it, that was playing on me a wee bit before the game. Truthfully, I am just happy I was able to compete at that level. Killian Clarke is a damn good player and I was up against somebody I could test myself against.”

On the prospect of continuing with Antrim, McCann said: “It’s November now, the county season probably starts in January. Maybe there is something I can offer. If it worked out well I could stay on.”

McCann launched countless attacks from his deep-lying midfield role against Cavan last Saturday and showed his defensive nous by claiming a couple of high balls on the edge of his own square.

For McCann, Antrim were the better side for long stretches of their first round provincial game but their inability to make their numerical advantage count – Cavan lost three players due to black card offences – and their failure to turn possession into scores in the three quarter proved their downfall.

“I thought Cavan were fortunate,” he said. “I thought we were the better team for long periods and how we set up and how we went about our business.

“We had enough chances to put ourselves five or six up at the start of the second half. We just lacked a wee bit of composure.”

Meanwhile, Frank Fitzsimons and Pat Hughes have stepped away from the St Enda’s Glengormley senior football management post after three years in charge.

Lamh Dhearg clubman Fitzsimons, who managed Antrim before being replaced by current boss Lenny Harbinson, guided the Hightown Road men to county and provincial glory at intermediate level before they lost to Kerry kingpins Kilcummin in the All-Ireland decider in 2019.

St Enda’s didn’t make the impression at senior level Fitzsimons would have liked, the high point of which was taking the scalp of St Gall’s in the group stages of the 2020 championship before coming up short against Creggan Kickhams in the quarter-finals.

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GAA Football