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In The Irish News - Feb 6 1998: Ciaran Whelan gets all-clear for Railway Cup duty

Donegal debut boy Eoin Wade is tackled by Ciaran Whelan as Jason Sherlock is grounded.

CIARAN Whelan, Dublin's highly-rated forward, has been cleared to play in Sunday's inter-pro football final.

The GAA's Leinster Council decided this week on a disciplinary rethink after Whelan's case was discussed.

It related to his sending off during last weekend's O'Byrne Cup semifinal at Louth, a game played under the experimental rules format for secondary provincial knock-out events this year.

Whelan, it appears, found himself caught in a rules mix-up after being dismissed and reported for two bookable offences, rough play and pushing.

The first offence applies to the standard rules, the latter to the experimental fouls which warrant bookings.

It was assumed that under the latter the player's suspension only related to the end of the game in question, not an automatic two week ban for two bookable offences.

The GAA's Leinster Council dealt with the matter and decided to give Whelan the benefit of the doubt, quashing a threatened fortnight suspension.

He will feature now against Ulster at Clones (2.30) at left corner-forward, while the champions have given a debut to an All-Ireland winner and Allstar in their formidable attack also.

Trevor Giles, who in previous years was continually unavailable for Railway Cup selection due to Sigerson Cup commitments with UCD, will make his first appearance in the inter-pro tournament.

Giles comes in for Offaly's Vinny Claffey in the only personnel change from the team which defeated Munster in the semi-finals. Claffey's demotion to the subs bench prompts a couple of positional switches, with Whelan going to the full-forward line to link with Tommy Dowd and Kevin O'Brien, while Declan Darcy moves to right half forward to make room for Giles.

Their three-quarter line of Giles, Darcy and Dublin's Brian Stynes will offer title challengers Ulster, who are trying to win an eighth Railway title in 10 years, with a strong, mobile and dangerous unit to curb. Ulster had some problems dealing with Connacht's attacking threat in last week's marathon semi-final replay, and manager Brian McEniff has suggested that his defence needs to improve its ability to curb the forward traffic in the decider. Anthony Tohill and Jarlath Burns will face a testing midfield battle opposed by John McDermott and Niall Buckley, while at the back Leinster will look to Offaly's Cathal Daly to keep tight tabs on in-form Tony Boyle. Ger Cavlan of Tyrone and Louth's ex-Armagh defender Gareth O'Neill should provide one of many interesting and potentially crucial head-to-head contests, with Offaly's highly-rated half-back Finbar Cullen, on paper at least, facing another absorbing man-mark issue against last week's influential replay ace, Jim McGuinness. Daly and Cullen are the only players from the provincial champions to make the starting team. Peter Brady, who featured as a sub against Munster, remains in reserve along with Claffey. Leinster: C Byrne (Kildare); C Daly (Offaly), D Fay (Meath), M O'Reilly (Meath); D Lalor (Laois), G O'Neill (Louth), F Cullen (Offaly); J McDermott (Meath), N Buckley (Kildare); D Darcy (Dublin), B Stynes (Dublin), T Giles (Meath); C Whelan (Dublin), T Dowd (Meath), K O'Brien (Wicklow)

THE introduction of late substitute Mark Harte helped Queen's subdue a stubborn Galway challenge on a 0-15 to 0-9 scoreline in this All-Ireland Freshers football quarter-final at the Dub yesterday.

UCG led 0-7 to 0-5 at the interval and in truth should have been further in the ascendency having held a decided edge in the opening 30 minutes. Full-forwards Michael Colleran and Trevor Nicholson, who both scored two points in the opening half-hour, caused the Queen's defence considerable problems early on.

But QUB's Eglish midfield pair, Conall Martin and Cormac McAnallen, assumed control in the second half and this turned the contest in the Belfast university's favour. Errigal Ciaran man Harte, like the two midfielders a member of last year's Tyrone minor team, was introduced with only 15 minutes left but nevertheless hit four crucial scores in the closing quarter.

Corner-forward Colin McIlvaney also contributed handsomely to Queen's success with six points, while midfielder McAnallen and former St Pat's Maghera star Eoin Farren hit a brace of scores apiece.

Glenullin man Donal Boylan, who was replaced by Harte, grabbed Queen's other point.

Queen's: D McGirr, B O'Connell, C McGinley, C Burns, M O'Hagan, C Gourlay, J O'Neill, C Martin, C McAnallen (0-2), D McCarthy, N Clerkin, P Oakes, C McIlvaney (0-6), D Boylan (0- 1), E Farren (0-2).

Subs: M Harte for Boylan 45 mins, F Mallon for O'Neill 45, P McCormick for Burns 45.

Irish internationals James Rooney and Liam Cunningham (Saints) will face each other tonight in the Star ABC's boxing and disco promotion at St Kevin's Hall, Belfast tonight. (7.30)

The pair shared mixed fortunes in this month's Irish senior championships in Dublin but now share the same ring in a top-class exhibition contest on this Star select v Mayo clash.

Irish Junior Olympic squad members Gerard McAuley (Star), who has four Irish titles already safely tucked away, and Henry Coyle (Mayo) square up in a cracking welterweight confrontation. Fellow squad member TJ Hamill (All Saints) travels down from Ballymena to meet Connacht champion Chris Ward.

Ulster champ Barry McCafferty (St John Bosco) meets up with county champ Barry Ward while Irish champion Michael Lynch (Rathfriland) will also guest for the Star select.

Meanwhile Antrim boxers and officials will also be busy out of town tonight. Former Ulster lightweight champion Peter Watt, now a coach at the Randalstown ABC, has helped organise a ten-bout promotion at the Creggan social club.

A DAZZLING double gold strike crowned a glittering 1997 for Holy Trinity middleweight Brian Magee – but tonight he begins the long climb to even greater heights.

The 22-year-old Atlanta Olympic star gains his first taste of international action this year at the National Stadium, Dublin when he goes in against Scotland's David Feeney.

“Scotland is the top priority right now but long term I'm looking forward to trying for gold at the Commonwealths,” said Magee last night.

“I've only about twelve weeks left to prepare for the European seniors.

That's my next target, but it's a tough one too.” Magee has been there before – at Euro 1996 in Denmark – and he's under no illusions regarding the degree of difficulty at Minsk, Belarus this May.

He said: “It's right up there with the top world tournaments, it has the cream of all the top European nations, that's all has to be said. The standard is exceptional.”

EASTERN PROMISE...Leinster will depend on a strong performance from Meath's John McDermott (left) Picture: Ann McM

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