Former Cavan player Darren Rabbitt’s memorable games

WE asked former Cavan Gaels and Breffni County star Darren Rabbitt to look back through his career.

Current involvement: Not directly involved with any clubs at the moment – last involvement was helping out St Johns Ballinteer three years ago with some winter training. Just with work and family commitments I haven’t had a chance to, but hopefully in future I will be able to train with my local club.

Which club game that you played in, will you never forget and why?
Winning our first Senior Championship with the Gaels in 2001. Our first senior championship title in 23 years and it launched a great era for the club. This was our second county final in a row and we went on to play in the next 10, winning seven more. What made it more special was the fact we had lost in two finals before this to Mullahoran in 1998 and Gowna in 2000.

Which club game that you watched, will you never forget and why?
I missed the 2005 Club Senior Championship final against Mullahoran through an ACL injury and this turned out to be the year we won the three in-a-row. It was bittersweet as I was gutted to have missed out but was delighted the team won and this success motivated me to get back training and playing the following year.

Which county game that you played in, will you never forget and why?
Cavan V Armagh 2004 Ulster Championship semi-final. It was my first year under Eamonn Coleman. We came very close to beating Armagh after having a man sent off in the first few minutes.

We were beaten by two points in the end. Myself and Anthony Forde had a busy day marking Ronan Clarke and Steven McDonnell. We had some brilliant performances from everyone in the team and if we had a fit Dermot McCabe playing we could have won it.

Which county game that you watched, will you never forget and why?
Cavan winning Ulster in 1997, ending a 28 year wait for the title. Just witnessing the pure emotion and joy from the Cavan supporters and how well received the team were that evening in Cavan town . Inspirational performances from a very talented bunch of players: Stephen King, Dermot McCabe, Peter, Larry and Jason Reilly, Anthony Forde to name a few, A lot of these players would turn out to be fantastic servants of Cavan football.

What was the funniest thing you ever saw in a game?
We were playing in the Ulster Club Championship against Crossmaglen. Sean Reilly forgot his boots and our goal keeper Eoin Elliott had a spare pair of big ankle goalie boots (almost like rugby boots) which Sean used. Sean came on in the second half and Francie Bellew was on him. Sean won a free outside the square , straight in front of the goal and ballooned it wide. He blamed the goalie boots.

What was the most memorable performance from a player in a game that you watched?
Michael Donnellan for Galway in 1998 All Ireland final, he scored two points but made some incredible runs and set up a few scores.

What was the most memorable performance from a player in a game that you played?
In the Ulster championship 2005 replay against Tyrone , Peter Canavan scored 1-7 and single handedly beat us off the field. A fantastic player and I was just lucky I wasn’t marking him

What did you love about the games you played in?
I enjoyed spoiling the opposition attack and for me man to man battles and trying to mentally and physically come on top of our opponent.

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