Fairy-tale ending for ‘emotional’ Declan Caddell

There were plenty of emotions on display following the dramatic conclusion of this season’s Irish Cup final on Saturday evening.

By Steven Crawford
Monday, 9th May 2022, 10:00 am

But for one man it carried extra significance.

Declan Caddell has been a mainstay of the Crusaders side for the past decade.

He has won countless honours in over 500 appearances for the club and now he has another medal for the collection.

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Declan Caddell will now take over as Academy Director at Crusaders.

Caddell came off the bench, just like he did the 2009 Irish Cup win, as the Crues secured victory in dramatic fashion.

“It was emotional for me at the end,” said the midfielder, who will be extending his 15-year stay at the club by taking over as Academy Director now.

“When something like that happens and you win a big trophy it’s a bit like a whirlwind.

“It’s only when you go back into the changing room and sit down with the boys that you can relax and take it all in.

“As I say it’s emotional for me. I wanted that fairy-tale ending, thankfully the boys were able to deliver it for me.”

Caddell admitted he did start to think it was going to be “one of those days” as Crusaders toiled against the Sky Blues before they produced the late, late show.

“I think we were all saying the same think in the first half, we didn’t start as well as we should have,” he said.

“The goal we conceded was really unlucky from Robbie Weir and we found it difficult to find our feet.

“The longer it went on it looked like it was going to be one of those days.

“We were struggling to create opportunities and struggling to get a grip on the game itself.

“But the longer the game went on the stronger we became.

“The manager has built a great squad. We’re able to sacrifice players and bring on boys that can come on and do the same job, and if not strengthen the team.

“I think the last 20 minutes and then extra time we started to overpower them a bit.

“We said before the second half of extra time that there was a big chance for us to get the goal, thankfully Johnny (McMurray) was able to put it away.”