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Back in the day: Apr 26 1998: Derry ditched now Offaly eye All-Ireland win

HELD UP... Derry’s Sean Martin Lockhart holds up the Offaly attack by beating Ray Malone to the ball in yesterday’s National League Final at Croke Park
The Irish News Archive

Church and General NFL Final: Offaly 0-9 Derry 0-7

Offaly on a roll and All Ireland glory is on their mind.

Finbar Cullen voiced as much amid the crescendo of noise and celebrity din sparked by Offaly’s first, and at times highly impressive, NFL title win at Croke Park yesterday.

There was the traditional invasion of the pitch to mark Offaly’s first major national title success for 16 years, first NFL in their history.

Meanwhile, white foam swills around Joe Brolly’s mouth as he attempted to rationalise Derry’s defeat.

Yet his wide, almost manic smile somehow also exudes a strange authoritativeness.

Brian Mullins, with his familiar expressionless gaze, glances over at Brolly holding familiar court with the press but moves quickly on without uttering a word.

The way Joe sees it, the squeaky-clean Offaly tag has been dispelled somewhat.

Joe reckons referee Niall Barrett has had a stinker.

“Can I say that? It’s like criticising the church. Aye very bad.

“But then again, there’s a romantic notion round at the moment about Offaly that they don’t do any pulling or dragging.

“The aesthetic pleasure of the game and their defenders definitely benefit from that.”

Offaly: P Kelly, C Daly, J Ryan, D Foley, J Kenny, F Cullen (Capt), J Brady, C McManus (0-3), J Greenan, C Quinn (0-2), J Stewart, R Mooney, V Claffey (0- 2), R Malone (0-1), P O’Reilly.

Subs: S Greenan for Malone (48), B Mooney (0-1) for O’Reilly (57).

Derry: O McCloskey, K McKeever (Capt), SM Lockhart, P Diamond, P McFlynn (0-1), H Downey, J McBride, A Tohill (0-2), F McCusker, G McGill (0-1), G Coleman, D Dougan (0-1), J Brolly (0-2), B Murray, J Cassidy.

Sub: S McLarnon for Cassidy (39).

Referee: N Barrett (Cork)

Attendance: 22,531

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IN extremely wet conditions at Clann Eireann Park, Lurgan Roscommon adopted better with normal full-forward Colm Kelly’s switch to midfield a master stroke as he directed affairs scoring a total of 2-4 in Roscommon's 4-12 to 0-7 dismantling of Armagh in this National Hurling League Div 3 clash.

The visitors ripped Armagh apart with two goals in two minutes.

The first was scored after 13 minutes by the unmarked Colm Kelly from the edge of the square following a long delivery and catch.

Pat Regan repeated the dose with an almost identical strike and Roscommon never looked back.

Armagh: S Kirk, P C Gormley, K P Mone, S Duffy, A Jordan, P Burke, S McConnell (0-1), M Lennon, F Fullerton, L Reynolds, P Lappin, G Enwright (0-3, all frees), M McCann, A Hughes (0-2), D Shortt (0-1).

Subs J J Sheridan for K P Mone, P Sheridan for F McConnell, M McEvoy for M McCann.

Roscommon: A Tully, T Healy, J Mulvey, P Mannion, M Mulry, M Healy, B Mulry, M Cunniffe (0-1), C Kelly (2-4, two frees), R Mulry (0-4), D Logan (1-0), M Parpey (0-1), T Galvin, P Regan (1-2), J Mannion.

Subs D Healy, C Sweeney, T Regan for J Mulvey, B Mannion, B Gannon.

Ref: T Mahon (Fermanagh)

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HONOURS were well spread at the Northern Ireland Judo mini championships in Belfast at the weekend.

Omagh’s winners were Ann McDonald at 44 kilos, Catherine Morris at 63 kilos, and Laura Johnson at U40s.

But it was Leigh Whiteside of Newtownabbey who won double gold taking the title at 40 kilos and the ladies open gold medal.

In the men's competitions Derry players Conor Bradley (Samurai), Colm Gallagher (Pilot’s Row), Chris Forbes (Pilot’s Row), Terry Murray (Long Tower) and Robert Brothers (Long Tower) won gold with Robert doubling up his title victories in the 38 kilos in both the U16 and under 12s competitions.

There were three double gold medallists: John Young of Downpatrick's Codokwai won the open title as well as the 34 kilos title;

James McAtasney of Craigavon Wakisikwai and Michael McGovern of St John the Baptist School Finaghy were double gold medalist also at their respective weights in the U16s and U12 contests.

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