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The Irish News Archive - Aug 4 1998: Derry's Geoffrey McGonigle in line to face Galway in All-Ireland semi-final battle

PLUS POINT... Injured Derry star Geoffrey McGonigle has returned to full team training as the Oak Leaf county count down to their All-Ireland semi-final clash with Galway
The Irish News Archive

DERRY’S plans for their All-Ireland semi-final clash against Galway continue to progress well, with no major injury concerns or niggling worries.

A number of plus points have instead bolstered their work towards reaching their next target, qualification for the All-Ireland final for the first time since winning the Championship five years ago.

Geoffrey McGonigle, who sustained a slight knee injury eight days ago, returned to full training last Thursday and trained at the weekend without any adverse reaction.

Fergal McCusker, hampered by a hamstring injury since the midpoint of the provincial series, and Johnny McGurk are both near to full fitness says Kearney.

This week the discussions will be that little bit livelier, keenness a shade sharper, as the real countdown begins to Croke Park now in the knowledge of who exactly they will face in three Sunday’s time.

“We noticed on RTE that that doyen of all things to do with Gaelic football tipped Galway to beat us in the All-Ireland semi-finals,” said Derry selector Frank Kearney.

“Colm O’Rourke is someone I have the greatest respect for. He feels Galway will beat us, so after going down to watch the game, Colm’s views act to further heighten players awareness that there is no easy option now.”

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DARREN Corbett, the Irish and Commonwealth cruiserweight champion, is to return to the ring on September 18. He will defend his IBO intercontinental title against South Africa’s Isaac Mahlangu.

It is expected Corbett will make a second defence of the Commonwealth championship in October. A number of possible opponents are being looked at by his manager-promoter Barry Hearn.

English hopeful Buster Keaton will be on the short-list after his stunning stoppage win over previously undefeated Kelly Oliver last month.

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IN one of the finest and closest Poc Fada finals yet in the Cooley Mountains Albert Kelly (Offaly) claimed back the M Donnelly All-Ireland Poc Fada title he had previously won in 1992 and 1993.

Clare goalkeeper David Fitzgerald edged out last year’s champion Colin Byrne (Wicklow) for second place. Antrim’s Seamus ‘Mushie’ McMullan along with David Fitzgerald won the Comortas Beirte (AllIreland doubles) title.

Jim Barry, president of the Leinster GAA Council congratulated all involved with the organising of the highly enjoyable hurling contest.

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JAMES McIlroy’s European Championships 800m prospects could be boosted by the absence of Atlanta Olympics winner Vibjeorn Rodahl.

The Norwegian is currently out of action with a broken toe and there are major doubts as to whether he will be fit for the Budapest championships later this month.

Question marks also remain over the prospects of World 800m record holder Wilson Kipketer running in Hungary.

The Kenyan-born star, who now competes for Denmark, suffered a bout of malaria during the winter and has yet to be seen on the Grand Prix circuit this summer. McIlroy is the fifth fastest European so far this season behind Rodahl (1.44.80) and a trio of Italians.

But at least one of the Italians, Gianni D’Urzo, is expected to concentrate on the 1500m in Budapest and the temperament of the other two Italians under major championship conditions is unknown.

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RORY McCarroll won the first of a series of U17 snooker competitions organised by the Northern Ireland Billiards and Snooker Control Council, from which the team to represent Northern Ireland in the Junior International series in a couple of months time will emerge.

The event, held at Windsor Snooker Club in Belfast, had an entry of 17 with McCarroll coming through to defeat Carson two frames to nil in the final.

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THE legendary Rod Laver has suffered a setback in his recovery from a stroke but it is not believed to be serious.

Laver, the only man to have won the Grand Slam twice, in 1962 and 1969, was back in the intensive care unit at UCLA Medical Centre yesterday because of a fever and was responding to treatment, the hospital said.

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