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In The Irish News on Apr 21 1997: Derry City crowned National League of Ireland champions

PERFECT PAIR ... Tony McCoy with Belmont King after winning Saturday’s Scottish Grand National at Ayr

THREE at last.

It may have been a long time coming but what was only Derry City’s second three points at home this side of Christmas couldn’t have brought greater reward.

The National League of Ireland Championship is now by the Foyle for the first time in eight years, after this 2-0 win over St Patrick’s Athletic, and at the time of writing the parties are still going on.

There have been a few false dawns in Derry in recent years, but yesterday morning greeted the football club with brilliant sunshine.

Comparisons are already being made with the side and the class of ‘89, but they are only for the fireside punters.

One similarity is that both titles were eventually won on mediocre 2-0 home games; another is no one cared then and no one cares now.

There can be few more worthy champions than a side leading the league table by 10 points with two games to play.

Derry can also point to the fact that they scored more goals than any other side, and no side conceded less than the champions.

And they didn’t have it easy against St Patrick’s Athletic either. The Dubliners were still chasing a Uefa Cup place and only Derry have lost fewer games this season

Derry City: O’Dowd, Boyle, Dunne, Hutton, Curran, Dykes, Hargan, Hegarty, Coyle, Beckett, Keddy.

St Patrick’s Athletic: Byrne, Burke, Campbell, McDonnell, Lynch, Gormley, Morrisroe, Long, Reilly, O’Flaherty, Osam.

Referee: John Stacey (Athlone)

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IT was knockabout fare as Celtic delayed the inevitable and Jorge Cadete rediscovered his scoring touch to breach the 30-goal mark.

A double from the Portuguese striker laid the foundation for a Bell’s Scottish League Premier Division Sunday stroll of a 3-0 victory over insipid Aberdeen at Celtic Park.

The upshot is that Rangers will have to keep the champagne on ice for at least another 13 days before celebrating their ninth consecutive championship success.

There remains no doubt that they will with Celts nine points behind their Old Firm rivals and three games remaining for both clubs.

The next round of matches is not scheduled for a fortnight because of Scotland’s involvement in a World Cup qualifier away to Sweden.

Significantly Cadete’s efforts brought Celts their first win since a 2-0 defeat over Hearts in early March – five games coming and going since then without the unsettled forward finding the target.

The Lourdes-affect – the French shrine rather than the recently christened offspring of pop star Madonna – was at work as Cadete helped himself to a couple of simple counters.

Celtic: Kerr, Boyd, McKinlay, McNamara, Stubbs, O’Donnell, Di Canio, Hanna, Donnelly, Thom, Cadete.

Subs: McLaughlin for Di Canio (70 mins); Hay for O’Donnell (77 mins).

Aberdeen: Stillie, Anderson, Tzvetanov, Buchan, Inglis, Kombouare, Rowson, Dodds, Glass, Windass, Woodthorpe.

Subs: Miller for Dodds (56 mins), Craig for Windass (56 mins).

Ref: T M McCurry (Glasgow)

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MONEYGLASS champion Tony McCoy turned history on its head when Belmont King defied top weight in Saturday’s Stakis Casinos Scottish Grand National at Ayr.

Only three horses have carried more than 11 stone to victory over the four miles one furlong trip.

This was a weight-carrying performance to match Playlord in 1969 who humped 12 stone to success with big Ron Barry in the saddle.

Belmont King with 11st 10lbs made every yard of the running under a determined ride from Tony and misssing the re-scheduled Martell Grand National on Monday proved a blessing in disguise.

Foot perfect over the marathon trip McCoy and Belmont King beat off all challengers right to the finishing line to score a famous victory.

For sheer courage, horsemanship and class this was the race of the season.

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COLERAINE will be league champions within three seasons.

That was the message from defiant Bannsiders boss Kenny Shiels in the wake of his team’s 0-0 draw at Crusaders on Saturday, a result which sees the Shore Road club take their second title in three years.

Coleraine have topped the table virtually all season but will now have to console themselves with a UEFA Cup place, the prize for finishing second.

“Within three years we will win the championship and we will be one of the top clubs in the country over the next 10 years,” promised Shiels, who hit out at Crusaders’ methods.

“The team that finished first are not as good as us. Crusaders are not the best team but they have been the most effective. I would ask other teams not to copy their tactics.''

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