THE recent passing of Joe “Timer” Cassidy in Ballyshannon on Sunday, May 19th, will have evoked many sporting memories of his famous footballing past in Derry, in particularly, and in the North-West area in general. He was 85.
The eldest boy in a family of eleven children, born in the Brandywell area of Derry, Joe was a member of the well-known Cassidy footballing dynasty and while he may have left Derry in 1945 bound for Ballyshannon and the “Donegal Democrat” newspaper, Joe was always a Derry man first and foremost despite his Donegal links.
In fact, having arrived in the South Donegal town, the bold Joe struggled to settle in his new surroundings and he opted to board the bus travelling back to Derry every weekend!
Well respected in Donegal having brought up his family there, Joe was always known as a top class footballer, particularly in Derry.
Standing just 5’ 6” high, what “Timer” lost in height and physical presence, he made up for in heart and technique and in his youth he was considered an outstanding player.
Always linked to the famous local side, Foyle Harps, Joe played with many great players in his heyday.
While his move to Ballyshannon having secured work as a printer working for the ‘Democrat,’ Joe’s priority wsa always his family and he always made time for both his Donegal and Derry families.
Nicknamed “Timer” by his footballing colleagues due to the fact that Joe was understood never to be late - either in the tackle or, indeed, in life itself.
He boasted pace, balance and power and was considered a thoroughbred due to his natural fitness. A life-long Pioneer, Joe never smoked, qualities which certainly helped his natural talent when playing football.
Many players of that time would claim that Joe Cassidy would have succeeded at a higher level in the game and when scouts came knocking at Sarah Cassidy’s door in Derry, the answer was a strict ‘No,’ Joe’s priority centred on his family, bringing home the weekly wages from the ‘Democrat’ on the Donegal bus.
Joe will cetainly be missed by Derry’s older footballing fraternity but, even more so, by his devoted family circle both in Derry and Donegal.
Predeceased by his daughter, Marie, his brother John, sisters Molly and Peggy, Joe is survived by his devoted wife Annie, daughter Ann, sons John, Joe and Paddy; sons and daughters-in-law and grandchildren.
He will also be sorely missed by his brothers Robert, Paddy and Thomas; his sisters Sally, Olive, Lily and Theresa.
May he rest in peace.