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The Irish News Archive - Sep 22 1998: Casement Park set to become Funderland

THEME PARK...Casement Park will witness vastly different scenes from what it is used to when it plays host to the Funderland carnival
The Irish News Archive

THE cash-strapped Antrim county board have agreed to lease Casement Park out to travelling amusement outfit Funderland for a sum understood to be in the region of £30,000.

One-armed bandits could be making an appearance at Casement as early as October 4, with the carnival expected to last for up to three weeks.

The southern-based company has also given Antrim a financial bond of several thousand pounds to guarantee that the playing surface, known as one of the best in Ireland, will not be harmed.

The news comes just days after the GAA refused to allow a charity soccer match in aid of the victims of the Omagh bombing to go ahead at Healy Park.

The deal with Funderland was sanctioned at a county committee meeting over a week ago. Redevelopment work at Casement Park got underway within the last fortnight and a county spokesman insisted it would not be disrupted by the carnival.

“The work can continue outside the perimeter fencing as the fun fair will only be taking place on the pitch and the concrete area in front of the stand as well as maybe the car park,” he said.

Funderland have been keen to relocate since they were displaced from their regular home in the King’s Hall last year by a rival company, Fun City. Last year’s Funderland show was housed on the Boucher Road.

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INTERVIEWS were conducted last night for the Antrim senior football manager’s position. Several candidates were brought before the sub-committee appointed to fill the post, including the last incumbent Ray McDonnell and the emerging favourite, Andy McCallin. Frank Dawson, however, informed Saffron officials over the weekend that he was no longer interested.

Following Down’s defeat to Limerick in the All-Ireland Intermediate hurling semi-final in Dublin on Saturday, Dawson told the Mournemen he would be staying on as manager.

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TRACK stars from both sides of the Atlantic have paid tribute to triple Olympic champion Florence Griffith-Joyner, who died yesterday of a heart seizure aged 38.

‘Flo-Jo’ was the sensation of the 1988 Olympics in Seoul, winning gold in the 100 and 200 metres and the sprint relay, plus a silver in the 4x400m. It was a record Olympic medal haul for a woman but it was not just her ability which set the American apart from the rest. Griffith-Joyner was also renowned for her stylish running costumes and long, painted fingernails.

There was also her tremendous physique, which some claimed was the result of performance enhancing drugs. Griffith-Joyner never failed a drug test and always rejected the rumours but her sudden retirement following the Seoul Games only fanned the flames further.

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KEVIN Hughes is back on the fast track to potential Championship glory after reclaiming his place for Sunday’s All-Ireland Minor Football Final rematch against champions Laois.

He missed Tyrone’s semi-final dismissal of outclassed Connacht hopefuls Leitrim on August 23 due to an ankle injury. A central figure throughout their provincial campaign, Hughes returns to strike up his midfield partnership again with captain Cormac McAnallen.

Eoin Mulligan, who switched to partner McAnallen for the Leitrim game, will start the final at left full-forward.

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