The Irish News Archive - Sep 29 1998: Red Hands raised in triumph on Tyrone's big day at Croke
TYRONE flags flew from sunroofs and shop windows and poked from hedgerows.
The victorious county’s red and white colours were strung across the main street of Aughnacloy and waved by the crowd that thronged the border town.
Video cameras were held aimlessly over the sea of red and white capped heads.
After the disappointing scenes of previous years when the seniors and minors had narrowly failed to bring Croke Park’s precious silverware home, this was a memorable night for the county’s fanatical football support.
As the team bus arrived each player was cheered to the stage as his name was called aloud together with that of the village or town he had honoured.
The greatest roar of all was reserved for the triumphant minor captain Cormac McAnallen. He shouted out across the faces that looked almost as delighted as his own.
Tyrone’s ecstatic joint-manager Father Gerard McAleer revealed only two songs had been played on the bus on the triumphant journey home - Simply The Best and Back To Tyrone.
“Yesterday we proved we’re simply the best and now we’re back in Tyrone.
“The team and everyone associated with the team was overwhelmed by the size of the crowd that was here last year and that prompted an outpouring of emotion and tears that I never thought existed in any of us. “But if stiffened our resolve to put right what we didn’t achieve last year. But tonight we’re very very happy and proud to have with us the Tom Markham Cup.”
Special guest was Dessie McKenna, captain of the 1973 All-Ireland winning minor team, who said he hoped Tyrone could build on the success of this year’s talented bunch.
From a chemist’s shop opposite the stage four neon-lit red and white Santa Claus faces shone down on the platform where the players, managers and support staff sang arm in arm.
Christmas had definitely come early.
CROSSMAGLEN’S home advantage for their AIB Ulster Club Football Championship opener against Cavan champions Mullahoran will be offset by the absence of Tony McEntee.
The Armagh county player will be unable to join his twin brother John in the Cross line-up because of a foot injury he picked up a month ago.
McEntee will be out of the game for at least another three weeks.
John McEntee, one of several players and dignitaries at last night’s First Trust Bank launch of the AIB Championships in Belfast, was tight-lipped on who might replace his brother.
Joe Fitzpatrick, who started the All-Ireland Club final 18 months ago, could return to the side after losing his place during the summer following injury.
But McEntee’s unavailability could mean a rejigging of the Armagh champions’ line-up.
The other notable Crossmaglen change from the team which claimed the All-Ireland title on St Patrick’s Day
in 1997 is the inclusion of Colm Dooley for corner-back Paddy McKeown, who is not available for selection because of accountancy studies.
CLUBBING TOGETHER ... Representatives of the nine county senior football champions pictured last night at the launch of the AIB Ulster Club Championship in the First Trust Bank Centre, Belfast. Front row: Danny Brady (Mullahoran), Val Murray (Aodh Ruadh), Fay Devlin (Ardboe), Sean McArdle, Regional Director of First Trust Bank, Frank McQuillan (Castleblayney); Back row: Aiden Farrell (Rostrevor), Kevin O’Neill (Bellaghy), Andy McGowan (St Johns), John McEntee (Crossmaglen), Raymond Curran (Enniskillen Gaels)