Saturday 24 February 2018

Where are they now?


Former Mayo footballer

Retiring from inter-county football at 24 was not the way Mayo man, John Casey, thought his career would pan out but a reoccurring injury on the sole of his foot left him with no choice.

"I had an awful short career," said Casey.

"I was only getting the hang of it when I had to call it a day, it was a pretty horrific experience. I never thought I'd end up on the scrap heap at 24. I thought I'd have an operation in the winter, take three months off and then be back again like a spring lamb ready for the start of the season. But it didn't work out that way."

Casey first joined the Mayo panel when he was a teenager and by the time he'd retired in 1999 he'd played in four consecutive All-Ireland finals and lost the lot. The first two were at U21 level and the second two were senior.

In 2001 he won a Connacht club title with Charlestown Sarsfields and although this didn't make up for all the losses he suffered it definitely helped a bit.

"When we won the Connacht club title it was special. We beat a team called Annaghown, they were the Galway champions and the whole town went mad. Pat Spillane has been quoted as saying he'd give away five county medals for one club (provincial) and I understand why, it was a great honour."

Although Casey retired from inter-county football over a decade ago he only finished with his club last year. He is scheduled to have another operation in two weeks, his fifth at this stage, on the same injury that has plagued him for well over a decade. He runs the family business Casey's Expert Hardware in Charlestown.

He is still an avid Mayo supporter and will be in Croke Park today supporting his former team.

"We're as good as what's out there and we are surprising everybody both within and outside the county. James Horan has a big decision to make today -- does he try to go toe to toe with Kerry in the first half, try take a run at them and beat them or does he try and play it cute. I think he will take the cautious approach.

"Mayo are definitely getting better with every game but Kerry are forewarned. They saw what Mayo did to Cork so they know what to expect."

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