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In The Irish News - Jan 29 1998: Leslie McGettigan gets hit with year-long ban for playing in the US

CLOSING RANKS... Glenavon’s John Gregg and Johnny Wright rise to thwart Cliftonville’s Marty McCann at Solitude last night
 

LESLIE McGettigan the St Eunan’s Letterkenny player, was suspended last night by the Games Administration Committee for 12 months.

McGettigan was judged to have played in New York without the proper authorisation, and so breaking Rule 32 of the Association’s rulebook.

The Donegal man’s case was referred to the GAC last September after the Donegal county board stripped the Letterkenny club of their county senior football championship title.

The club’s chairman and secretary and were also suspended for three months while Aodh Rua went on to represent the county in the Ulster Club championship. McGettigan’s case was due to be heard before Christmas, but was subsequently delayed by Croke Park, as they sought extra clarification from the New York board. New York officials insisted claims McGettigan had played illegally were unjustified, but last night’s decision seems to suggest the county board’s initial actions have been vindicated.

Down players Paul Higgins and Gregory McCartan are among the inter-county players anxious to learn this morning whether the mercy committee will meet earlier than scheduled this year.

Higgins was suspended for 12 months and McCartan for six months after judged to have played illegally while in the States last summer.

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NOT even outstanding Glenavon keeper Dermot O’Neill could prevent Jody Tolan from edging Cliftonville a step nearer the league title at Solitude last night.

Tolan’s looping header and matchwinner leaves the Reds four points clear of Portadown at the top of the premier league.

The goal arrived in the 57th minute when Tolan met a dangerous inswinging cross from Gary Sliney, the perfect reward for Cliftonville’s domination.

For the first time in many decades, the chants of ‘League Glory’ from the Solitude faithful has a meaningful tone.

Cliftonville have laid to rest the depression Glenavon brought to Solitude in the Irish Cup over the past two seasons.

The character of Marty Quinn’s side has greeted pressure and successfully surpassed its challenge.

A second test awaits on February 10 when Cliftonville meet Crusaders in a rearranged league fixture – one which could give the premier league leaders an enviable seven-point cushion.

A minor scuffle early in the first half preceded a second exchanging of handbags in the 26th minute.

Cliftonville: Reece, Small, Flynn (booked 62 minutes), Tabb, Davey (booked 54 minutes), Sliney, T McCann, O’Connor, Tolan, M McCann, Donnelly

Subs: Collins (for O’Connor 64 minutes), McCourt (for T McCann 81 minutes), Douglas (for Tolan 81 minutes)

Glenavon: O’Neill, Wright (booked 36 mins), Byrne, Doherty, Gregg, Quigley, Paul Byrne, Prizeman, O’Flaherty, Grant, Caffrey

Subs: Williamson (for Prizeman 64 minutes), Tumelty, Patton

Ref: David Malcolm (Bangor)

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WORLD-RANKED amateur stars Brian Magee (Holy Trinity) and Steven Kirk (Cairn Lodge) are among a Commonwealth Games training squad announced yesterday by Ulster’s provincial boxing council.

Delegates meeting in Belfast selected 27 boxers from across Ulster who will begin intensive training on Sunday next (February 8) at the Holy Trinity gym.

All twelve recently crowned Smithwick’s senior champions are named in the group from which the Kuala Lumpur team will be determined.

“Training will be monitored closely for performance, availability and attendance etc. “The side for Malaysia will be selected in June,” said council secretary Jim Noonan last night.

Ulster World bronze medal winner Kirk, a 24-year-old shipyard fitter, didn’t feature in the Ulster Hall finals night after declining an entry to “recharge the batteries.”

He joins the Commonwealth group along with another Ulster absentee, former champ Adrian Patterson (St Patrick’s, Newry).

Newhill’s Paul McMahon was selected as coach to the Malaysia-bound side and Commonwealth team officials from all sports will meet in Belfast on February 23.

The full Commonwealth squad is: (champions first) Light fly: Jim Rooney (Star), Gerard McManus (Immaculata); Fly: Liam Cunningham (Saints); Bantam: Charles Nash (Ring), Hugh Brady (Newhill), Eugene O’Kane (Oak Leaf); Feather: David Lowry (Albert Foundry), Pat O’Donnell (Dockers); Light: Conor McAllister (Dockers), Michael O’Kane ( Holy Trinity), Adrian Patterson (St Patrick’s Newry); Light welter: Paul McCloskey (St Canice’s), Paul Conlon (Holy Trinity), Noel Monteith (Dockers); Welter: Willie Cowan (Monkstown), Mick Blaney (Holy Trinity), Owen Montague (Dockers); Light middle: Jason McKay (Hall’s Mill, Laurencetown), Francis Webb (Holy Trinity); Middle: Brian Magee (Holy Trinty); Light Heavy: Tommy Donnelly (Mark Heagney), Steven Kirk (Cairn Lodge); Heavy: Mark O’Hare (Holy Trinity), Ben McGarrigle (Omagh Boys), Hugh McNally (Randalstown); Super heavy: Tom Clare (Buncrana), John White (St Patrick’s, Newry)

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WAYNE McCullough is expected to make his ring return in April, after an absence of almost 15 months from top-flight action.

He yesterday appeared to have sorted out his differences with promoter Mat Tinley. McCullough has been lined up to fight the winner of the WBC super bantamweight title clash between champion Erik Morales and Jose Luis Bueno on February 28.

Bueno – who lost to McCullough in Dublin in 1996 – took the Pocket Rocket’s place against Mexican Morales after contract difficulties arose between McCullough and Tinley earlier this month.

And there was further good news for Irish boxing yesterday with confirmation that Darren Corbett is to fight on February 21 at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall after all.

The Commonwealth cruiserweight champion had been scheduled to challenge for the WBO world title against holder Carl Thompson before the Manchester fighter pulled out on Tuesday night.

Corbett’s promoter Barry Hearn is lining up another opponent for the 25-year-old Belfast fighter, although the identity of the replacement has not yet been revealed by the Matchroom stable.

Confirmation of Corbett’s fight, which the Belfast man will use as a warm-up for the Thompson clash – now pencilled in for April – is also good news for Mark Winters.

The Antrim man’s first defence of his British light welterweight title against ex-Commonwealth champ Bernard Paul (England) will still go ahead as planned as chief support to Corbett’s WBO ring aspirations.

Irish cruiserweight Ray Kane gave a good account of himself before dropping a narrow verdict to Londoner Israel Ajose over four rounds in south London on Tuesday night.

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