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In The Irish News - Aug 22 1997: Cathal O'Grady and Damaen Kelly to make pro boxing debuts

BELFAST BOUND...Former European Junior heavyweight champion Cathal O’Grady will make his professional debut at the Ulster Hall next month

CATHAL O’Grady, the 20-year-old former European heavyweight gold star, will begin his new career as a professional boxer in Belfast next month.

O’Grady is the second of the Irish team which competed at last year’s Atlanta Olympic Games to quit the amateur ring in the past fortnight.

Damaen Kelly, a world number five rated flyweight, will also debut on September 27 at the Ulster Hall after switching to the paid ranks to sign for Frank Maloney.

O’Grady has agreed promotional terms with Frank Warren, and struck an undisclosed management deal with Dublin businessman Brian Peters.

O’Grady’s opening bout as an apprentice will be on the undercard top-billed by Belfast’s Irish and Commonwealth champion Darren Corbett.

The man from the ‘Bone’ will be making a first defence of his Commonwealth cruiserweight title against unbeaten English challenger Robert Norton.

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MICHELLE Smith blamed the searing heat and humidity as her golden sequence was finally broken in Seville.

Smith, swimming under her married name of de Bruin this week, had to settle for a silver medal behind Germany’s Dagmar Hase in the 400 metres freestyle in the European championships yesterday.

After two victories already in the 400m individual medley and 200m freestyle, de Bruin was expected to add the European title to the gold medal she won in Atlanta in the same event.

But the oppressive heat and humidity took their toll on the 27-year-old who has a punishing schedule of five events this week.

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BELFAST’S Mark Jackson just about kept in touch with the group A leaders with a double on day five of the World U21 snooker championships at the IBY Rooms in Carlow.

Lying fourth at the start of the day’s proceedings, Jackson began with a comfortable 4-0 win over Lloyd Manyange and then followed that up with another win over Mohammed Abdil to take his points tally to four for the tournament.

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DERRY City have received a blow on the eve of the league season with news of an injury to influential midfielder Paul Hegarty.

Hegarty, the lynchpin of Derry’s championship success last season, broke two ribs during his side’s 1-1 draw with Fanad United last weekend and could be out for up to six weeks.

A disappointed Felix Healy broke the news yesterday and will now have to re-shuffle the pack for the visit of Finn Harps to Brandywell tomorrow evening for their League Cup game.

Healy hopes to have club captain Peter Hutton back in action after he missed the trip to Fanad and that at least will be of some consolation to the Derry manager.

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WHILE Dunloy and Rossa were making their way to the final of the Senior Hurling Championship at the weekend, other activity was continuing in the county.

The Junior Hurling Championship decider was staged at Casement Park but there was no winner.

Ardoyne Kickhams and St Brigid’s Cloughmills ended all square, 1-10 to 3-4, and, with extra time not even a consideration, a replay is necessary.

The Intermediate hurling decider was also fixed for last weekend but didn’t see the light of day. Glenarm side Shane O’Neill’s had some difficulty with the Saturday evening fixture and so their tilt with St Gall’s is for another day.

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