GAA Football

Cargin ace Tomas McCann commits to Antrim for 2022

Tomas McCann will be back with Antrim next season

ANTRIM and Cargin’s attacking ace Tomas McCann has confirmed he will be back wearing county colours in 2022 despite a humorous on-stage riddle he shared with manager Enda McGinley at last weekend’s Antrim GAA club Allstars bash.

While collecting the top scorer award and club Allstar gong at the Devenish Complex on Saturday night, McCann joked with McGinley, who is also his brother-in-law, that he didn’t know whether he’d be back with Antrim – giving his manager a gentle nudge of getting more game-time next season.

Injury, more than anything, curtailed the Cargin forward’s involvement with Antrim in 2020 and 2021 following surgery on a Gilmour’s Groin injury and a couple of subsequent hamstring tears.

However, with all his injury woes behind him and coming off the back of a brilliant club championship campaign, McCann is eagerly looking forward to staking a claim for a starting place in the Antrim attack, confirming that his jocular joust on stage with McGinley was just that.

“We were counting up how much I actually played on a continuous basis over the last year or two,” McCann said.

“Every time I tried to raise the intensity I was nipping something and that was spanning two seasons.

“I came back from a Gilmour’s Groin operation the year before last and then COVID hit, so I might as well have done my cruciate it was that long since I’d played. The club looked after me and I was back playing, I went back to the county and the intensity lifted again and, to be honest, I don’t think my body could handle it when I look back on it. The gaps [of inactivity] were massive.

“Especially the way I play, you need that explosiveness and I couldn’t reach the intensity levels because of the injuries and lay-offs and every time I got back I kept breaking down. So the aim last year was to ease me in bit by bit. That’s why I was getting 10 or 15 minutes in games.”

With Paddy Cunningham announcing his retirement from the inter-county scene there is at least one space in the Antrim attack. Both Cunningham and McCann had to content themselves with cameo appearances in Antrim’s successful promotion out of Division Four in the summer.

McCann (33) was one of the few shafts of light in Cargin’s semi-final demise against eventual champions Kickham’s Creggan and is keeping his fitness ticking over while playing for intermediate soccer club Moyola.

“When I was playing in this season’s club championship that’s probably the longest I’ve played [without injury]. I’m injury-free and I want to keep building on my fitness.

“I needed a good six months’ injury-free so I could lift it again. Now we’re at eight months. I’m actually at the point where I’m actually enjoying training again.

“I didn’t have that fitness base for the last couple of years but I feel I do have it now. I’ll definitely be back next season. I’ve never looked forward to the McKenna Cup but I am now.”

Antrim have four Division Three games at home and three away and begin their campaign against Fermanagh on January 29.

McCann isn’t ruling out back-to-back promotions under McGinley.

“We’ve obviously a young squad. Coming out of Division Four and into Division Three you’re playing against better teams.

“But the thing about Gaelic football, you can go far if you’re a proper team. You look at Tyrone winning the All-Ireland, they worked hard as a team, putting in the work throughout the year and look where it got them. There is no secret to it.

“I think promotion is achievable. To be honest, I wouldn’t be playing if I didn’t think we could get out of it.”

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