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The Irish News - Nov 17 1997: Armagh ace Colm Hanratty in injury horror

HANDS ON APPROACH... Armagh's Cathal O'Rourke comes under pressure from Donegal's Damian Diver in yesterday's National League game at Davitt Park, Lurgan

NFL Section B: Armagh 3-1 Donegal 0-12

ARMAGH full-back Colm Hanratty faces career-saving surgery this week and possibly a year out of football after suffering an horrific broken leg during yesterday's X-rated NFL war in the mud at Davitt Park.

An explosive advert for fighting, feuding and fouling, the grim match video seems likely to prompt an inquiry by the GAC and further sanctions as four players were sent off and Hanratty was left with a shin broken in two.

That incident sparked angry scenes of brawling and violent argument, a six minute match delay as the stricken player was attended to and the flying fists were curtailed.

Armagh medical personnel suggested afterwards that the initial diagnosis may require surgical pins to be inserted and months of rehabilitation for the player, who was last night in Belfast City Hospital.

The second half saw several flashpoints for fighting, angry exchanges, off the ball incidents and a touchline bust-up between rival managers Declan Bonner and Brian McAlinden.

And no sooner had one row been sorted out than another one flared with a full scale punch-up in the Donegal goalmouth and net.

Armagh: B Tierney, E McNulty, C Hanratty, M McNeill, M McQuillan, J McNulty, A McCann, K McGeeney, J Burns (capt), J Campbell, C O'Rourke (0-1), P McGrane, D Marsden (2-0), B Duffy (1-0), G Houlahan.

Subs: G Reid for Hanratty (35 mins), M Toye for Houlahan (47 mins), A O'Neill for Campbell (62 mins).

Donegal: P Callaghan, N McGinley, J J Doherty (capt), E Reddan, M Crossan, N Hegarty (0-1), D Diver, M Coll, J McGuinness (0-1), J Duffy (0-3), A Sweeney (0-1), B Roper, S Bradley, T Boyle (0-4), B Devenney (0-1).

Subs: B Murray for Sweeney (46 mins), B McLaughlin (0-1) for Devenney (60 mins).

Referee: John Bannon (Longford)

Attendance: 2,000

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MEATH proved too far strong for Antrim at Pairc Tailteann on Saturday, consigning the Saffrons to their third league defeat on the trot, on a 2-18 to 1-8 scoreline

Goalkeeper Donard Shannon had an outstanding game for Antrim, pulling off a string of fine saves.

A John McDermott goal helped Meath to a commanding 1-9 to 0-4 half-time lead.

It was a similar story after the break and Ray McGee added a second Meath goal 11 minutes from time.

But a minute later Antrim scored the goal of the game, left half-back Anto Finnegan finishing well after collecting a pass from Chris Murphy.

Antrim manager Ray McDonnell said the game was a learning experience for his players.

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TYRONE maintained their unbeaten run in Section C with a comprehensive win over Cavan at Breffni Park yesterday.

Cavan haven't won a match since their Ulster title success last July and are currently lying joint bottom of the group, destined for relegation unless there's an upturn in form.

Tyrone, minus the services of the Canavan brothers Peter and Pascal, could have won by an even greater margin such was their dominance as Cavan's midfield and half-back areas completely collapsed.

Tyrone led by 0-9 to 0-4 at half-time, thanks to the accuracy of Brian McGuckian who punished the Cavan defence for their persistent fouling and ended the match top scorer with nine points.

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