In The Irish News - Feb 24 1998: Dunloy marksman Gregory O'Kane is major doubt for All-Ireland club hurling semi-final replay

Dunloy hurling ace Gregory O’Kane

DUNLOY’S top championship marksman Gregory O’Kane is one of two major injury doubts for Sunday’s AIB AllIreland club hurling semi-final replay.

O’Kane is undergoing daily physiotherapy for knee ligament damage in a bid to spearhead their attack against Galway giants Sarsfields. An examination after the drawn semifinal revealed more than the calf strain originally feared.

O’Kane hasn’t been able to train since the drawn game, but it is hoped that he will be fit enough to take part in practice sessions tomorrow night and Friday. Dunloy’s other main concern surrounds the fitness of another of their starting forward line, Nigel Elliott.

He had to retire late in the first Sarsfields match. His injury was diagnosed as a hamstring tear.

Again, he has undergone intensive physio. Galway’s veteran star Joe Cooney is expected to start the replay, which takes place at Mullingar, as are both McGraths, Joe and Michael.

All three featured on day one, the McGraths from the start in spite of team medical reports to the contrary, while Cooney came on for the last, pulsating 10 minutes.

Dunloy’s spokesman Tony Shivers said that they remain hopeful that both O’Kane and Elliott will make it, but said they will not take any risks playing anyone not considered fit enough to play.

“It is not looking too good for either of them. Nigel would be rated very doubtful at this point, while Gregory is doubtful though he is very determined to play,” said Shivers.

“Both players will undergo fitness tests later in the week. We will take a look at the situation regarding both on Wednesday night, and again on Friday.

“Gregory and Nigel are attending physio and both will be given as much time as possible to make it.

“At the end of the day we cannot afford to take any risks on anybody who we feel is not 100 per cent fit. It has to be that way.

“The injuries are a big concern for us, but in saying that we have a very strong squad, there is no shortage of experience, and any player who is asked to come in has our total confidence.”

Brian Og Cunning, their veteran defender and no stranger to the AllIreland arena, Eamonn McKee, Conor Cunning, and Paudie McMullan are among those pushing hard for places.

“The competition within the squad is very intense. We have options, and everything will be considered for Sunday’s replay,” said Shivers. “Gregory and Nigel will have fitness tests after which we will then make a decision.

“We certainly hope we can do the business this time. We should have finished Sarsfields off in the first game, but we were then lucky to get a couple of late points to draw the game.

“Since the drawn match the squad has really put in a tremendous amount of work, six or seven sessions, about 25 hours of training.

“We have looked at everything. We know where we need to improve, tighten things up, what to watch for.

“Hopefully we can make it through, though at the moment are main concern is the fitness of the two injured players. It’s fingers crossed at this stage.”

Vocational Schools Markey Cup quarter-final: Holy Trinity Cookstown 1-18 St Malachy’s Castlewellan 2-7


HOLY Trinity, Cookstown produced a brilliant display of precision football to dethrone St Malachy’s High School Castlewellan at the Athletic Grounds, Armagh yesterday.

It took extra-time before Cookstown reached the Ulster Bank Markey Cup (U18) Vocational Schools semi-final after a last kick goal in normal time brought Castlewellan level against the run of play.

The losers had to thank keeper Eamon Clarke for keeping them in the game with five brilliant saves. St Malachy’s playing against the breeze had the better of the first half and led by 0-6 to 0-3 at half-time.

Colin Laverty with three points, Emmet Devlin, Stephen Trainor and Damien McGrady with a point each were their scorers. Aidan Quinn with two frees and Adrian Devlin replied for Cookstown.

Holy Trinity restarted in brilliant style. Owen Mulligan and Brian O’Neill took control at midfield while Aidan Quinn, Stephen McNally and Gareth Coney sparkled in attack.

Beaten at midfield the Castlewellan defence was under constant pressure with Declan Maginn and Kevin Morgan as well as keeper Eamon Clarke saving them time and time again.

Within ten minutes of the restart Cookstown were ahead with three pointed frees by Aidan Quinn and one from Owen Mulligan. It was six minutes from time before Castlewellan managed their first score of the half when Emmett Devlin pointed a free.

With time running out Damien McGrady soloed through for the levelling goal for Castlewellan to leave the score Cookstown 0-10 Castlewellan 1-7. It was all Holy Trinity in extra-time.

The Peter Canavan coached side were the fitter and more committed. Still dominating midfield and with Fran Loughran, Gavin Devlin and Seamus McQuillan dominating in defence they outplayed the opposition.

Owen Mulligan lobbed over two long range points and nearing half-time a long through ball from Seamus McQuillan was punched to the net by Brian O’Neill.

Holy Trinity led by 1- 14 to 1-7 at half-time in extra time.

The winners continued to dominate adding four points while Castlewellan’s only score of the extra-time period came with the last kick of the game from substitute Dominic McEvoy who scrambled the ball to the net.

Holy Trinity now meet St Aidan’s Cootehill in the semi-final.

Holy Trinity: M Conlon; P Ryan, F Loughran, S McQuillan; B McElkerney, G Devlin, S Teague, B O’Neill (1-2), O Mulligan (0-4), J Cummings (0-1), A Devlin (0-2), A Quinn (0-6), S McNally (0-1), G Coney, W Smith (0-1)

Subs: R Collins (0- 1) for S McNally; R Nugent for F Loughran.

St Malachy’s: E Clarke, G McEvoy, D Maginn, R Kelly, B McQuaid, C Boyle, K Morgan, A O’Prey, P Hanna, M Valentine, D McGrady (1-1), S Trainor (0-1), E Devlin (0-2), C Laverty (0-3), P McArdle.

Subs: M O’Neill for M Valentine, P Doyle for R Kelly; D McEvoy (1-0) for D McGrady


QUEENS’ dominance of the weekend’s Dowd Cup competition has been reflected in the champions securing nine of the combined colleges jerseys.

A total of nine Queen’s players made the 20-strong combined panel, including seven on the selected first fifteen. Jordanstown, who lost to Queen’s in Saturday’s semifinal, won five jerseys while Coleraine, BIFHE and runners-up St Mary’s each have two.

St Mary’s and Tyrone full-forward Eilish Gormley was voted as player of the tournament.

The selection panel comprised of Patricia Donaghy (Dublin), Michael Harte (Sligo) and Rosemary Carson (Tyrone).

Meanwhile, Down won their first ever Ulster title on Sunday, beating Fermanagh by 0-12 to 0-6 in the B final at Clones.

Ulster Colleges combined panel: H Boyle (QUB), D Martin (QUB), C McCrossan (UUJ), P McGarvey (UUC), J Agnew (QUB), C Brady (QUB), A Hegarty (UUJ), O Kerk (QUB), L McCambridge (UUJ), J Lavery (QUB), C McAteer (UUC), C Donnelly (UUJ), C Kelly (QUB), E Gormley (St Mary’s), M Doherty (BIFHE).

Replacements: L McGirr, (QUB), C Colgan (BIFHE), M Grogan (St Mary’s), C Holland (QUB), D Maguire (UUJ)

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