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The Irish News Archive Papers: May 28 1998: High-profile Leinster GAA official backs call for abolition of Rule 21

The Irish News Archive

HIGHLY-respected ex-Leinster Council chairman Albert Fallon has become the latest high-profile GAA figure to strongly back moves to delete Rule 21.

Fallon’s statement of support for under-fire Joe McDonagh comes in the wake of a similar call from ex-GAA president Jack Boothman.

Boothman, who led the GAA from 1994 to 1997, insisted the “time is now right for the rule to be removed”.

Fallon, who has said that he will definitely run for the GAA presidency when McDonagh’s term ends, said he fully understood the “many injustices that our members in the six counties have suffered over the past 25 years”.

But he added: “The association is committed to the cause of reconciliation among the people of all Ireland, based on mutual understanding and respect.

“In the context of a political settlement, the concept of an exclusion policy will not have any relevance.

“In view of the massive yes vote, north and south, in support of the Good Friday Agreement, which also included the key issue of policing which, I am sure, the Patten Report will address, how can we claim that the time and the climate is not right?”

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FERMANAGH’S mounting injury crisis has worsened with the news that Niall Rooney is certain to miss the Ulster quarter-final against Cavan.

Brookeboro forward Rooney sustained a knee injury while playing for his club at the weekend and he has already ruled himself out of the Sunday week’s championship clash.

Raymond Gallagher (broken bone in hand), Paddy McGuinness (groin strain) and hamstrung pair Mark Gallagher and Barry King are all struggling to overcome injuries at the moment.

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PAT McCrory, the Ulster amateur boxing supremo, suffered a first round knock-out in last night’s opening session of the McKillop-Spar Glens of Antrim mixed foursomes golf championship at Cushendall.

McCrory and his Fortwilliam partner Kitty Brady went down 2 and 1 to the husband and wife pairing of local players Frank and Katie Connolly.

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JOHNNY McGurk has made a surprise return to the Derry team announced last night for Sunday’s first round Ulster Championship clash against Monaghan at Celtic Park.

The 31-year-old, who captained Lavey to All-Ireland club success in 1991, is the player chosen to replace Gary Coleman, who pulled out with a hamstring problem sustained in a challenge game against Bellaghy last week.

McGurk has not played a championship game since 1996, but featured as a substitute in the league semi-final game against Monaghan last month, and is surprisingly favoured ahead of U21 captain Johnny McBride.

Paul Diamond, highly impressive for Jordanstown in their Sigerson Cup campaign, is also given his Championship debut at corner-back, playing alongside the vastly experienced Kieran McKeever.

Between Diamond and McKeever in the problem full-back position the selectors have again plumbed for Sean Martin Lockhart, with Henry Downey chosen in his more natural number six shirt.

Derry: E McCloskey, K McKeever, SM Lockhart, P Diamond, J McGurk, H Downey, P McFlynn, A Tohill, D Heaney, G McGill, D Dougan, E Burns, J Brolly, S Downey, J Cassidy

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