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The Irish News Archive - Aug 18 1998: Sport in North shuts down for week after Omagh bombing

Rescue workers and police search for survivors following following the Omagh bombing. Picture by Alan Lewis, Photopress
The Irish News Archive

NORTHERN Ireland sport will virtually close down until Friday midnight with the Sports Council calling for all this week’s fixtures to be postponed in the aftermath of the Omagh slaughter.

Sunday’s All-Ireland MFC semi-final between Tyrone and Leitrim goes ahead.

The Tyrone board explained that the board felt cancelling all fixtures for the week had shown reasonable respect for the victims, and the game would go ahead as planned on Sunday.

Elsewhere, Northern Ireland’s soccer international against Malta on Wednesday night has already been called off and the visit of the Australian ‘A’ cricket team to play an Ireland side in Northern Ireland next week is also in major doubt.

Reports suggest that the Australian team are reluctant to travel north after the events of the weekend.

The team fly in today to face Ireland in Dublin for a three-day game starting on Thursday, followed by a one-day match on Sunday.

It is understood that the Australians were advised by their government not to travel to Northern Ireland for their own safety.

Also postponed is the U21 soccer contest between the two countries planned for this evening at Castlereagh Park in Newtownards.

Sports Council chairman Don Allen urged all involved in sport to postpone their fixtures and events until midnight on Friday.

“Such an action would clearly demonstrate everyone’s opposition to the men of violence,” said Mr Allen.

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IRISH medal hope Susan Smith is in action on day one of the 17th European Championships which begin this morning in Budapest.

Smith goes into the championships ranked fifth in the 400H following her new Irish record run of 54.31 at the Weltklasse meeting in Zurich last week.

The Irish woman set her previous Irish mark in the opening heats of last year’s World Championships in Athens so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see her producing another very quick run this morning. Barring the unexpected, the Waterford athlete should comfortably qualify for tomorrow evening’s semi-finals.

Another 400m hurdler Tom McGuirk, walkers Pierce O’Callaghan and Michael Kelly, hammer throwers Paddy McGrath and Roman Linscheid, plus 1500m representative Niall Bruton are the other Irish in action on day one.

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WBA number-four rated Darren Corbett is on a collision course with long-time target Johnny Nelson, the 31-yearold British champion, after being nominated as Nelson’s next opponent by the Boxing Board of Control yesterday.

Corbett has been selected ahead of ex-world supermiddleweight champion Chris Eubank and former British and European champion Terry Dunstan in the BBB of C’s new pecking order.

The 26-year-old could finish the year as a four-titled champion, as he currently holds the Commonwealth, All-Ireland and IBO inter-continental belts. Corbett, who sports a 20-1-1 record, has insight knowledge of Nelson having worked in sparring with the Sheffield boxer in the past. 

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