Sport

Back in the day: Apr 12 1998: Donegal's wastefulness punished by Offaly

REACHING FOR THE SKY... Donegal’s Jimmy McGuinness climbs high to win possession during yesterday’s NFL semi-final against Offaly. Picture: Ann McManus

National Football League semi-final: Offaly 3-10 Donegal 1-14

OFFALY’S footballing renaissance was maintained with victory over Donegal in this enthralling National Football League semi-final at Croke Park.

Like an Ulster politician, Donegal manager Declan Bonner attempted to put the best spin on the result afterwards musing that teams often learn more from defeats than victories.

Bonner himself will come away from the game feeling that his team remain on course for an extended Championship run this year.

Yesterday’s was a match Donegal could and probably should have won.

Offaly goalkeeper Padraig Kelly denied the Ulster team three certain goals with magnificent saves at vital stages of the contest while outstanding corner back David Foley also prevented Brendan Devenney from hitting a three-pointer with a crucial second half goal line block.

Donegal: P Callaghan, B McGowan 0-1, J J Doherty, D Diver, N McGinley, M Coll, N Hegerty, J McGuinness, J Ruane, S Carr, A Sweaney, B Roper 0-1, J Gildea 0-2, T Boyle 1-8, B Devenney 0-2,

Subs: Manus Boyle for Sweanney 50 mins, Brian Murray for Ruan 52.

Offaly: P Kelly, C Daly, B Malone, D Foley, J Kenny, F Cullen, J Brady, C McMannus, J Grennan, C Quinn, J Stewart 1-0, R Mooney, V Claffey 0-4, R Malone 1-0, M Daly 0-1.

Subs: P O’Reilly, 0-1 for B Malone half time Barry Mooney for Daly 57.

Referee: Michael Curley (Galway)

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National Football League semi-final: Monaghan 0-8 Derry 1-12

DERRY’S All-Ireland winning Under 21 captain Johnny McBride will miss the Ulster Championship final against Armagh after being sent off during yesterday’s bad-tempered National League semi-final victory over Monaghan.

A dejected Monaghan outfit also finished the game with 14 men after corner-forward Stephen McGinnity lost his head minutes from the end.

The game, which was watched by a tired-looking Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, (lengthy Good Friday Agreement negotiations had recently ended) was something of an anti-climax after the thrilling Offaly v Donegal contest which preceded it and was littered with errors, niggling off-the-ball confrontations and persistent fouling.

Derry had led by 1-6 to 0-4 at the break and looked increasingly comfortable as the game wore on with Gary Magill and Seamus Downey stretching their lead.

Monaghan manager Eamonn McEneaney pointed to Mark Daly’s disallowed goal midway through the second half as the turning point of the game.

The only goal of the game came from Joe Cassidy after 28 mimutes, just eight minutes after being introduced as a substitute for the injured Eamonn Burns.

Monaghan: J O’Connor, E Murphy, G McGurk, N Marron, D McArdle, S Mullen, J Conlon, P McShane (0-1), C Ronaghan (0-1), D Freeman (0-2, one free), M Daly (0-1), K Hughes (0-1), D Smyth (0-2, one free), D McKiernan, S McGinnity

Subs: C McAree for Conlon (24), P Duffy for Hughes (HT), D Swift for D McKiernan (45)

Derry: E McCloskey, K McKeever, H Downey, J McBride, P McFlynn, SM Lockhart, F McCusker, A Tohill (0-4, all frees), D Heaney (0-1), G Magill (0-2), G Coleman, E Burns (0-1, free), J Brolly (0-1, free), S Downey (0-2), D Dougan (0-1)

Subs: J Cassidy (1-0) for Burns (20), B Murray for J Brolly (60), J McGurk for H Downey (62)

Ref: Brian White (Wexford)

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IRELAND’S Darren Clarke, made a fabulous debut appearance in the US Masters, finishing with a super 69 and three-under total at Augusta yesterday and fulfilling his ambition of a return ticket next year.

The big Dungannon man holed an eight foot putt on the short 16th and parred the last two which left him at joint eighth with golf super shot Tiger Woods (70) and Open champion Jason Leonard (69).

In the end a beautifully struck 20-yard plus putt on the final hole gave victory to the 41-year-old American Mark O’Meara – one shot ahead of Fred Couples and David Duval on 280.

Clarke could reflect on a wonderful week in the US: “I really enjoyed it and had a fantastic week. It was great to have made the cut, great to come here and play well.

“I achieved one of my goals to make the cut and hopefully I have done enough to get back next year.”

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