Sport

In The Irish News on Nov 30 1996: Armagh GAA stands firm in venue controversy

CROSS FIRE.....Crossmaglen’s centre field custodian, Anthony Cunningham, should have a key role in his club’s tilt at the Ulster title
 

ARMAGH officials insist that they will refuse to fulfil tomorrow’s National League fixture against Monaghan if the game is switched to Scotstown.

The game has been provisionally fixed (12.15) as a curtain-raiser to tomorrow’s AIB Ulster Club final between Armagh club Crossmaglen Rangers and Bellaghy at Clones.

But a pitch inspection is scheduled to take place at Clones this afternoon and if the St Tiernach’s Park is judged to be too soft to accommodate two games, the NFL clash will be switched to Scotstown.

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TOMORROW’S AIB Ulster Club Football Final is a battle between two teams who are exceptionally strong down the middle.

Yes, free-taker Oisin McConville, and indeed most of the other wide players in the Crossmaglen line-up, have been in sparkling form in recent weeks.

But the platform for the south Armagh club’s success this year has been the running ability of the two McEntees, the steadiness and ability to read the game of Donal Murtagh and Francie Bellew and the superb midfield work of Anthony Cunningham and particularly Colm O’Neill.

Similarly, Bellaghy possess a spine which is not prone to snap in times of crisis. The presence of players like Danny Quinn, John Mulholland, Paddy Downey, Damien Cassidy, Karl Diamond and latterly Joe Cassidy ensures that.

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JON Sleightholme, England’s right wing, issued a warning to the New Zealand Barbarians on the eve of today’s clash at Twickenham: “Bring on Jonah Lomu or Glen Osborne”.

Sleightholme does not know which of the two wonderfully talented New Zealand wings he will be facing because Lomu is making a slow recovery from a groin infection.

The NZ Barbarians are prepared to give the giant Lomu every minute available before arriving at a verdict on his mystery condition, with Osborne standing by.

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JOHN Higgins guaranteed the first ever all-Scottish UK Championship final after a 9-3 victory over former Preston runner-up Ken Doherty.

World No 2 Higgins now meets Stephen Hendry, the defending champion, or Afinal to decide the destination of the trophy and a cheque for £70,000. But Higgins admitted that he never believed he would be one win away from the greatest triumph of his four-year professional career.lan McManus in Sunday’s best of 19 

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DOUBLE GOLD......Commonwealth Boxing champions Damaen Kelly (right) and Stephen Kirk might benefit from lottery funding in the near future  

WITHIN the next two months a new financial dawn will break for international and domestic sport in Northern Ireland. It will mark a massive move forward for athletes with the introduction of the first government approved grant-aid scheme drawn from lottery funds.

After two years of high-level discussions, intensively researched proposals and diverse points of view, British prime minister John Major initiated the funding framework to be put in place from January 1997

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DAVID Campese will retire from international rugby tomorrow, adopting exactly the same attitude he brought with him into the Test arena 14 years and 100 caps ago.

The world’s greatest try-scorer will bid farewell in front of 50,000 at Cardiff Arms Park, insisting that his beloved Australian team must come first.

“People will say it is bound to be an emotional occasion for me, but my first thoughts, as they always have been, are on the team playing well and winning,” he said.

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PAUL Gascoigne hinted he wants to extend his contract at Rangers as he hit back at opposition supporters who make him Public Enemy number one.

The England star faces his latest trial by television on Sunday, when STV show live a visit to Aberdeen by Walter Smith’s Rangers in the Premier Division.

“What upsets me is that these punters can stand in the crowd next to a policeman or whatever and give you effing and blinding or give you the signs but if you do something back the Scottish FA fine you or you are done by everybody.”

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