Forde explains Cavan disappointment
Anthony Forde’s Intercounty career began with Ulster u-21 and Senior Championship success. But then he endured years of defeat and loss until he retired three years ago. This week, in the Gaelic Life In Focus, he explained how that experience affected him:
RS: How has Cavan football changed since you began playing football?
AF: It is a long time ago now. In ‘95, when I started, we got to an Ulster final, we got to an All-Ireland u-21 final in 1996. In ‘97 we won Ulster. I was 20-21 back then and I remember walking out into Croke Park in 1997 and I remember saying to myself, ‘Jeez, this is great. It is going to be like this every year.
‘I’m 21 years of age, I’ve been part of two Ulster final teams and won an Ulster u-21, and now I am after winning an Ulster Senior Championship. This is going to be great, there are going to be great days ahead.’
But we never kicked on from that. You can always point fingers, but we just didn’t do what we should have done.
In terms of where we are at right now, we have a talented bunch of players coming through, but that is not always a guarantee of success. Having worked with the players I know there is a willingness there, and they are keen to learn. They are very ambitious, and ambitious in their personal lives as well.
Having won two Ulster u-21 medals, and in some cases an Ulster minor medal as well, that has to give them huge confidence, and that is probably the piece of the jigsaw that we were perhaps missing back in the day when I started off.
RS: How did it affect you, playing on a county team that lacked confidence, but coming from a club that was successful?
AF: It is very difficult. You are going out and getting pastings. I remember getting some serious hammerings from Derry for two years in a row. Tyrone gave us a hammering in the National League final, and in a replay of an Ulster Championship game. In all of that, you have your moral victories. Players nowadays aren’t happy with moral victories, they are more keen to push on.
I played under seven different managers by the end of my career. Not that I am saying that that had anything to do with it, but there was never a level of consistency. Whenever a new manager would come in, and they were all good in their own way, but they had their own ideas, and what type of player that they wanted so the panel was forever changing.
I think there was some statistic to say that there was a different corner back for seven different Championship matches. I would say there is a good chance that I was one of those, having played in every position on the field during my intercounty career.
The full story is in the current issue of Gaelic Life, published on Thursday May 17. Buy your copy now online, by clicking the subscribe button, or in your local newsagent