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McGuinness and banished Cassidy in brief encounter

By John Campbell

When there was an acrimonious parting of the ways between Donegal manager Jim McGuinness and wing-back Kevin Cassidy last year, it was thought then that their paths might not cross again.

But when the 2011 and 2012 Opel Allstars football teams jet out from Dublin to New York tomorrow morning, the pair will be on the plane.

What’s more, their paths will very definitely cross in the Big Apple when the Allstar teams meet in a special match at Gaelic Park on Saturday.

McGuinness banned Cassidy from going on the Donegal team holiday last December following what he felt was a breach of trust by the player over revelations contained in Declan Bogue’s hugely successful book ‘This Is Our Year’.

He also banished the Gweedore player from the Donegal squad, effectively ending his inter-county career.

Cassidy was named in the 2011 Allstars side following a series of outstanding displays for Donegal, his best performance coming in the epic quarter-final encounter against Kildare in which he swung over the match-winning point deep in the bowels of extra-time.

Tomorrow McGuinness will be travelling as team manager of the 2012 Allstars with ex-Dublin boss Pat Gilroy taking charge of the 2011 Allstars.

A Croke Park spokesperson confirmed yesterday that Cassidy will be travelling.

“He is booked on the plane and obviously there is considerable interest in the match in New York,” added the GAA HQ spokesperson.

But while Cassidy is ready to come in from the cold, two of his former Donegal colleagues will be unable to go on the Allstars trip which will be headed up by GAA Director General Liam O’Neill and Communications Manager Alan Milton while GPA chief executive Dessie Farrell will also be in the travelling party.

It is believed that Colm McFadden is unable to obtain leave of absence from his teaching post while Frank McGlynn is not going as his wife is expecting the couple’s second child.

Both McFadden and McGlynn were particularly outstanding for Donegal this year and while they are unable to make the Allstars trip, it is expected that they will go on the Donegal team holiday next month.

On his return from New York, McGuinness will be taking up his new role as a performance consultant with Celtic.

He plans to furnish Donegal squad members with weights programmes and other training guidelines before he assumes duty at Parkhead, though.

Because they won the All-Ireland title, Donegal must observe the two-month close season collective training ban which embraces November and December.

Teams which exited the All-Ireland series in the early stages, however, can resume collective training on specified dates before the end of December.

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