By Niall Gartland
IT hasn’t been a straightforward year for Tyrone half-back Michael Cassidy, but things are definitely starting to look up – and not just because the season is set to begin in a matter of days.
As a bar manager in Cookstown, his livelihood was hugely impacted as Covid-19 decimated the hospitality industry, and a worsening back injury meant he couldn’t play any part for Tyrone in the tail-end of last season.
It’s fair to say that the Ardboe man’s luck has changed for the better, however; not only has he recovered from injury, but he’s embarking on a new career as a salesman for multinational German company Wurth Ireland (his first day was on Wednesday).
So he was in good form when we caught up with him on Tuesday afternoon, and he explained the thinking behind his career change.
“The bar game hasn’t been easy this past year. They’ve taken a serious hit and I think there’s businesses that couldn’t cope financially with another lockdown.
“You’re just about making ends meet with the money you’re getting from the government – that wasn’t money going into your backpocket, bills still had to be paid.”
He continued: “So when I was sitting at home on furlough, I thought about looking elsewhere, and it’s been pretty crazy the way it’s worked out with the football starting up at the same time.
“Everything’s happening in the one week so it’s all good news. It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster really.”
On the footballing side of things, Cassidy is also enjoying the camaraderie that comes with training with his teammates in Garvaghey.
“It’s really good to be back with the lads, meeting up and having the craic again. I think that’s the most important thing and I know a lot of the lads feel the same.
“When you cross the white line you’ll do anything to win but you need to have the enjoyment factor to travel up to Garvaghey three or four nights a week.”
See this week’s edition of the Ulster Herald for our full interview with Tyrone star Michael Cassidy