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Back in the day - Mar 22 1998: Antrim hurlers silence the critics with defeat of Dublin

SAFFRON SOLO...Antrim’s Colm McGuckian goes on a solo run against Dublin at Casement Park yesterday

National Hurling League Division 1A: Antrim 2-11 Dublin 1-8

Casement Park’s hallowed turf gave birth to a new Antrim yesterday.

A hurling panel depleted, largely unknown to one another and wet behind the ears in Clare two weeks ago, welcomed the return of the county’s Dunloy contingent and manager Sean McGuinness waved his ash wand to spell the undoing of the Dubliners.

Casement Park has been robbed of scenes of joy in recent years but yesterday Antrim played with the class and commitment of a champion.

The past was instantly forgotten.

It took the capital men over 20 minutes to record a single score and take one score from Antrim’s then seven-point advantage.

Less than one minute of play had confirmed Antrim aspirations when Aiden Delargy ended a goalmouth scramble, poking the sliothar across the line to grace the net.

It was befitting of GAA hacks to announce full-back Eoin Colgan as their Bushmills man of the match.

After their opening round defeat to Clare and Dublin’s classic victory over Galway, not a critic in the land gave Antrim a hurlers chance of victory.

Deservedly so - prior to the throw-in.

Sean McGuinness welcomes the response of the “knockers” as Antrim hurling woes gain respite.

Antrim: R Matthews, P Molloy, E Colgan, C McCambridge, S McMullan, R Donnelly, C Kelly, P McKillen, M Molloy, J Elliot (0-4, all frees), C McGuckian (0-2), A Elliot (0-4), A Delargy (1-0), J Carson (0-1), J McIntosh;

Subs: S Bailie for P McKillen, J O’Neill (1-0) for J McIntosh, C Hamill for A Delargy.

Dublin: B McLoughlin, J Finnegan, S Power, S Duignan, L Walsh, P Brady, D McMullan, D Sweeny, J Brennan (0-3), S Perkins (0-1), B O’Sullivan, C McCann, S Dalton, E Morrissey (1-1), T McGrane (0-3);

Subs: S Martin for D McMullan, E Carroll for C McCann.

ooooooOOOOOoooooo

TONY McCoy, leading rider at last week’s Cheltenham Festival, took the honours at the Lesters, the annual Jockeys’ Association awards dinner in London tonight.

The Moneyglass rider is closing in on Peter Scudamore’s record of 221 winners in a season with a current total of 219, picked up the awards for Jockey of the Year and Jump Jockey of the Year.

As expected first-time champion Kieren Fallon won the award for Flat Jockey of the Year and Royston Ffrench was given the award for Apprentice of the Year.

The award for Lady Jockey of the Year went to Alex Greaves, who became the first lady rider to win a Group One race in Britain when forcing Ya Malak up on the line to dead-heat with Coastal Bluff in York’s Nunthorpe Stakes in August.

ooooooOOOOOoooooo

IRELAND will have five representatives at this year’s World Championship in Sheffield after the weekend’s qualifying stages in Telford.

On Saturday, Joe Swail and Fergal O’Brien joined Ken Doherty (who had already qualified as defending champion) and Derry pair Terry Murphy and Jason Prince in the last 32, the draw for which will take place this Saturday on BBC’s Grandstand programme.

Belfast’s Swail had an encouraging 10-3 victory over Matthew Couch.

It was a much needed win for the man from the Markets.

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