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In The Irish News - Oct 21 1996: Irish soccer in turmoil after attacks on Cliftonville supporters' buses in Portadown

SHATTERED... one of two buses containing Cliftonville fans attacked by loyalists in Portadown 

THE Irish League was in turmoil last night as Cliftonville supporters threatened to boycott all away fixtures after the sectarian attacks at Portadown on Saturday.

The move increased fears that Cliftonville could join Belfast Celtic and Derry City in being forced out of senior soccer in Northern Ireland.

The Reds fans may boycott away games after two busloads of supporters were attacked by Portadown loyalists on Saturday.

The Reds, leading 1-0, refused to take the field for the second half against Portadown.

Cliftonville spokesman Liam Murray said yesterday that – as he could no longer guarantee the safety of the club’s fans at away fixtures – he could not recommend that they travel to away grounds, all of which are located in predominantly Protestant areas.

He said the other clubs would lose a huge amount of revenue from the nonattendance of Cliftonville fans.

This move could mark the end of the club’s participation in the Irish League, leaving the competition with no clubs identified with a nationalist majority of supporters.

“It looks as though we have no choice but not to go away,” Mr Murray said.

“I could not – hand on heart – ask people to do that again. We got away with our lives by the skin of our teeth on Saturday.”

He said Portadown lost “thousands” in lost ticket revenues after the Ciftonville fans were forced away.

Cliftonville manager Marty Quinn said: “The game should be replayed. I am quite confident we could have won the match but I was more concerned with the off-field activities.

“We were concerned for our supporters and families. I think the league will view the situation sympathetically.”

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DESPITE trailing by a couple of points at the half-way stage, Gort na Mona came with a tremendously strong late run to win the Antrim Intermediate hurling title by 2-11 to 2-7 against Carey at Slemish Park Ballymena.

They fell behind 1-4 to 0-5 at the half-way stage after Gerard McVeigh had found their net in the 13th minute and, when Julian Gillen and Cahal McVeigh worked another fine score eight minutes into the second half, the Belfast side’s chances looked slender.

Still, with midfielders Ray Clarke and Tom Doyle piling on the pressure, goals came in the 11th minute from Shane Caldwell and five minutes from time when Brendan McCaffrey was on target. Caldwell had another goal chance disallowed but as his side piled on the agony in the closing minutes points came from McClelland, Caldwell and Corr and a spot in next season’s senior hurling championship was secure.

Carey: P Brogan, B McAuley, S McBride, A McCormick, D McKinley, S Denis, S Murphy, J McKay (0-1), J Butler, J Gillen (1-0), M McAuley (0-5), D McNeill, J Mulholland, G McAuley (1-0), C McVeigh (0-1).

Gort na Mona: M Murray, P Begley, M Flanagan, D Dickson, D Keenan, G Holden, P McClellan (0-1), R Clarke, T Doyle, D O’Neill, T Enwright, B McCaffrey (1-4), S Corr (0-3), S Caldwell (1-1), J Hyland (0-2).

Referee: J McClean (Dunloy).

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FIVE-STAR Newcastle firmly banished memories of their Charity Shield hiding at the hands of Manchester United at Wembley by burying Alex Ferguson’s side under an avalanche of goals at St James’ Park yesterday.

England striker Alan Shearer, who led the 5-0 assault with his eighth strike of the season, also led the celebrations, hailing the Magpies’ victory as “sweet revenge.”

With Darren Peacock, David Ginola, Les Ferdinand and Philippe Albert all matching Shearer’s goal, the Toon Army were able to celebrate a dramatic reversal of fortunes.

 

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