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Back in the day: The Irish News - Dec 12 1997: Cork's Niall Cahalane's playing career is almost certainly over after he was handed a 12-month suspension

Down legend Pete McGrath who worked with Davis on Celebrity Bainisteoir
Andy Watters

CORK footballer Niall Cahalane’s playing career is almost certainly over after he was handed a 12-month suspension yesterday.

The 35-year-old defender was found to have assaulted referee Niall Barrett at last month’s Cork senior football final replay between his club Castlehaven and divisional team Beara.

Cork county board announced their verdict yesterday after much deliberation.

A short statement said Cahalane had received the minimum 48-week suspension for his rule-breach. During the drawn out investigation into the incident, Cahalane was granted a personal hearing by the Cork county board to give his version of events.

A number of witnesses also came before Cork’s disciplinary authorities to speak on the veteran’s behalf.

Cahalane has several young children and is also a partner in a busy auctioneer firm so it’s thought unlikely he will return to Rebel colours after his suspension is completed.

Cork sources suggested last night that Cahalane won’t appeal the verdict but will instead announce his retirement shortly.

DOWN manager Pete McGrath has made only one change from the side who competently brushed aside a weak Cork challenge a fortnight ago for Sunday's Section D clash with Kildare in Newry. Loughinisland's Alan Molloy comes in to partner Conor Deegan at midfield, with Simon Poland moving from the centre to the left half-back position, where he was initially named to start against Cork. Malachy McMurray had an impressive outing against the Munster men and this time reverts to left corner back with Shane McMahon, who scored the only goal of the game against Cork, the man to lose out.

CELTIC’S new Norwegian star Harald Brattbakk finally arrived in Glasgow last night and promptly told the Parkhead faithful: “I’m here to stay.”

The 26-year-old striker completed his £2million move from Rosenborg after narrowly failing to help them through to the last eight of the Champions’ League on Wednesday night. Providing clearance can be obtained today, he could be thrown straight into the fray tomorrow when league leaders Hearts come to Parkhead for a clash that will determine much about both side’s championship ambitions.

And after signing a four-and-a-half year contract, Brattbakk insists his Scottish sojourn will not go the way of other foreign imports that have flitted into fans’ affections then departed in acrimonious circumstances.

MEXICO’S mean 21-year-old bodysnatcher Erik Morales tore strips off the ‘fighting Irish’ on the eve of tonight’s WBC world superbantamweight title clash with John Lowey in Tijuana.

“All Irish fighters are rubbish,” was the sneering assessment of the new world champion who makes a first voluntary defence. Morales gives his opponent, 10 years his senior and rated world number six by the WBO at the higher featherweight division, no chance. A swaggering confidence pins round seven as the end of the road for Lowey, with victory putting Morales under WBC orders to box former undefeated world bantamweight champion Wayne McCullough in a mandatory. McCullough has been installed by the World Boxing Council as their number one contender to the young Mexican hit-man, ranking the Las Vegas-based ‘Pocket Rocket’ ahead of Enrique Sanchez of Mexico, Philippines hope Reynato Jamili and England’s European title holder, Spencer Oliver.

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