In The Irish News: May 24 1998: Donegal win but boss Declan Bonner not happy

BREAKING AWAY...Antrim forward Joe Quinn leaves Donegal’s Martin Coll trailing during yesterday’s championship clash at Casement Park
The Irish News Archive

Bank of Ireland Ulster Senior Football Championship: Antrim 0-11 Donegal 1-11

DECLAN Bonner strode the length of a Casement Park corridor bellowing down a mobile phone, pushing his way toward the waiting media scrum.

His reaction was predictable.

Antrim inadequacies had once again resulted in a first round championship defeat and, for the fourth time in the 1990s, allowed Donegal to prepare for the Ulster Senior Football Championship semi-finals at Saffron expense.

“People had perceived that despite our words, we were looking beyond Antrim but that match proved the doubters wrong.

“Look down through the years, there’s only been a kick of the ball between Antrim and Donegal, no team will ever get it easy in Casement Park,” said Bonner.

He was evidently relieved when referee Brian Crowe brought to an end the affair and was clearly unhappy with his side’s performance.

The man who replaced PJ McGowan in the Donegal hot-seat, indicated his concern with the introduction of the experienced Manus Boyle and later veteran Brian Murray as undying Antrim chipped away at the visitors’ early lead.

Apathy dictated the tone of Antrim support when Brendan Devenney’s third minute goal gave Donegal a nerve-quenching start to their 1998 campaign.

It was a lead Antrim were left chasing and it was the value of the goal which in the end, separated the two counties.

“When they got back to within two points, we did worry but our new boys showed a lot of character to grind out the result,” added Bonner.

ANTRIM: Martin Mulholland, Emmett McCorry, Anto Finnegan; Gearoid Adams, Paul McErlean, Darren Swail; James Murphy, Ciaran O’Neill (capt.); Joe Quinn, Mickey Boyle, John McManus; Kevin Brady, Frankie Wilson, Kevin Madden.

Subs: Sheeny McQuillan for Brady (63), Peter McCann for McCorry (65).

Points: John McManus 6, Mickey Boyle 2, Frankie Wilson 1, Kevin Madden 1, Kevin Brady 1. Bookings: James Murphy.

DONEGAL Donegal: Paul Callaghan; Noel McGinley, Raymond Sweeney, Mark Crossan; Shane Carr, Martin Coll, Damien Diver; Barry McGowan, Jim McGuinness; John Gildea, Adrian Sweeney, Brian Roper; Noel Hegarty, Tony Boyle, Brendan Devenney.

Subs: Manus Boyle for Roper (46), Brian Murray for Coll (58), Shane Bradley for Gildea (69).

Goals: Brendan Devenney 1.

Points: Tony Boyle 5, Adrian Sweeney 3, John Gildea 1, Noel Hegarty 1, Jim McGuinness 1. Bookings: Raymond Sweeney, Damien Diver, Noel Hegarty, Adrian Sweeney.


BELFAST middleweight Brian Magee had to settle for silver at the EuropeanSenior Boxing Championships in Minsk, Belarus yesterday afternoon.

The 22-year-old Holy Trinity southpaw lost out 10-2 in the Euro final by Hungary’s World amateur champion Zsolt Erdei.

‘‘I thought it was a lot closer than the score suggests,” said Magee last night.

“Hopefully they will show it on Eurosport and people will see for themselves. But I’m not complaining Erdei is a worthy champion.

“It would have been great to come home with gold but I’m happy with my performances in the tournament.”

And the Atlanta Olympic star wasn’t the only one impressed by his Euro displays in the Palace of Sport stadium in Minsk this week. Afterwards yesterday’s final confrontation Magee was selected to represent the continent of Europe in next month’s World Cup competition in Chong Quing in China.

Leading Euro official Emil Jetchev (Bulgaria) said: “His boxing here has been excellent and we hope he takes up the offer of selection to this major competition.”

The honour helped soothe Magee’s disappointment at not clinching what would have been Ireland’s third gold in half a century.

“ I’m still feeling a bit down, very disappointed at not winning. But I’m delighted to have been considered good enough to box for the European team. ‘‘It’s a great honour for me and also for Irish boxing,” said Magee.


JIM Nelson has asked that the following players to attend a training session in Casement Park tonight in preparation for Ulster’s bid in the Gael Linn tournament.

A Senior panel will be finalised after tonight’s session.

Panel. Karen Coyles, Brenda McNeill, Sinead McMullan, Denise O’Boyle, Grace McMullan, Anne McKee (Antrim), Mairin McAleenan, Jennifer Braniff, Deirdre Savage, Pauline Green, Joan Henderson,Donna Grennan, Colleen Hynds (Down), Mary Black, Bernie McBride, Gerdaline Haughey, Orlagh Murphy, Colette Byrne, Olive McGeown, Deirdre Connolly (Armagh), Siobhan Convery, Susan McErlean, Anna O’Loughlin (Derry), Brenda Burke (Tyrone)

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