Back in the day: The Irish News on July 4 1997: Dominic McKinley: leaving out Terence McNaughton was my hardest-ever decision
DOMINIC McKinley has made the hardest decision as Antrim manager, leaving Terence McNaughton out of his starting 15 for Sunday’s Ulster Hurling Final against Down, he said last night.
McKinley however was quick to point out that the omission of McNaughton, winner of six Ulster titles, does not mark the end of an era.
Dunloy star Gary O’Kane has won the battle with McNaughton for the centre-half-back spot.
Cushendall legend McNaughton 33, was neither out of form nor injured.
Aidan Mort comes into the side for his championship debut while in defence, Ballycastle star Eoin Colgan returns from a lengthy injury lay-off.
“I feel the side that will start the game is the strongest and will best represent Antrim on Sunday,” said McKinley.
“We have had to talk long and hard about the team and I can tell you, leaving Terence out of the team left a lump in my throat.
“I just feel the time is right to allow Gary O’Kane to take the centre-half-back role.
“I suppose it’s a decision for the future of the panel but by no means is it the end of Terence.
“He has been a great servant to Antrim and Ulster hurling and I know he will want the best from the starting team.
“Maybe this decision can make him extra determined to get into the team.”
Antrim: S Elliot; Ciaran McCambridge, E Colgan, S McIlhatton; S P McKillop, Gary O’Kane, P Jennings; J Connolly, P McKillen; Conor McCambridge, Gregory O’Kane, Aidan Mort; A Delargy, J Carson, A Elliot.
Subs: B Prenter, T McNaughton, N Gallan, J Boyle, R Donnelly, J Close, S Ballie, Ryan McNaughton.
CELTIC supporters have got their man according to club spokesman Peter McLean last night.
After weeks of fan frustration, following the sacking of Tommy Burns, PRO McLean said supporters rushed to welcome the new man in charge, Dutch legend Wim Jansen.
Jansen’s first task is already lined up – a showdown with the club’s two most influential players.
Paolo Di Canio and Jorge Cadete have both infuriated Celtic by their behaviour this week. Jansen will be anxious to sort things out as quickly as possible, and no less a man than Johann Cruyff – Jansen’s former colleague – believes he is the right man to win the respect of the players and the support of the fans.
Italian winger Di Canio remained behind when the squad flew out to Holland yesterday morning, en route to their training camp, saying he wanted to train alone in a bid to build up his fitness.
Portuguese striker Cadete, top scorer with 33 goals last season, says he is unwell and shows no signs of returning after demanding a transfer through his agent.
Cruyff knows all about Jansen’s capabilities and although the fans remain sceptical of the appointment, the Dutch star insists he will win them over.
“I have been in touch with Celtic to congratulate them on the appointment of a top class coach.
“He has been a close colleague and a friend of mine for many years,” said Cruyff.
ANY British boxer who fights Mike Tyson in the future faces having his licence revoked.
The British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) meets next week to decide whether to ban Tyson from fighting in Britain following his ear-biting assault on Evander Holyfield.
Board chairman Leonard ‘Nipper’ Read is recommending the ban – and wants stiffer measures included to stop British fighters taking on the former world heavyweight champion in any match held abroad.
NIALL Kerr took the Ulster Junior singles title for Tyrone when he defeated Billy Silcock by two games to one at the Loughmacrory venue at the weekend.
The Antrim veteran started well enough leading the first game 17-5 but Kerr fought hard to prolong the game before going down 21-17.
The frantic pace took its toll on Silcock and the Tyrone player’s superior fitness gave him the next two games 21-9, 21-8.
Benny O’Neill of Armagh added to the doubles title he and Aidan Devlin had earned the previous weekend by taking the novice title at the expense of Tyrone’s Rory Grugan in straight games with a 21- 11, 21-8 score.
Meanwhile with the World championships less than a month away, the Irish event is being put back to the end of August.
The last minute preparations from the Irish contingent are in full swing as the Downpatrick handball squad play a St Paul’s select in a challenge match on Saturday in Belfast.
Tom Savage (pictured above) will be among the favourites for the ‘C’ singles in Canada but he will face a stiff challenge from Intermediate star Seamus O’Tuama in the first singles match.
Colin Mcllhone plays veteran
Ambrose O’Neill while Karl Savage and Ciaran Cunningham will pair up for the doubles match against St Paul’s Joe and Rabby McAllister.