Back in the day: Nov 20 1998: St Malachy's College athletes set to storm Kent event
THE international cross-country meeting in Margate will have something of an invasion from these parts.
Dermot Donnelly, making his debut in a BLE vest, and Teresa Duffy lead both the Irish and northern challenges in the senior races but the bulk of local competitors travelling to Kent will be from that incredible athletics nursery St Malachy’s College, Belfast.
Former St Malachy’s pupil Gareth Turnbull, now taking a year off from his university studies at Loughbrough to concentrate on his athletics, is arguably the best prospect for an Irish winner.
Several of his ex-schoolmates such as Dominic McAllister in the underage races, might argue with that assessment.
North Belfast boy McAllister recently took the Ulster BLOE title in his age group at Ballybofey and is likely to go very well tomorrow.
Turnbull is expected to square up to English star Sam Haughian in the junior race in what could be a dress-rehearsal for the upcoming European Championships in Italy.
Haughian finished fifth in the European test last year – two places ahead of the Irishman.
Gareth has been suffering from a slight cold this week but it shouldn’t affect him greatly. Turnbull’s colleagues from John Morrin’s St Malachy’s based squad Conor Sweeney, Joe McAllister, Paul McAllister, Joe Hendry and the Frazer twins Thomas and John will join the European 1500m bronze medallist in tomorrow’s junior men’s field.
DERRY defender Sean Martin Lockhart crowned a memorable year by walking off with the Footballer of the Year award at the Bass/Ulster GAA Writers annual awards ceremony in the Great Northern Hotel, Bundoran.
The 20-year-old Banagher player, the only member of the Ulster championship winning team to be nominated for an Allstar this year, fended off Donegal pair Tony Boyle and Barry McGowan for the prestigious award.
Hurler of the Year also went to the Oak Leaf county, Oliver Collins pipping teammate Geoffrey McGonigle and Antrim’s Malachy Molloy after a prolific Ulster Championship campaign.
History was created at last night’s dinner, the highlight of the year on the Ulster GAA calendar, when Armagh’s Gerard Devlin became the first solely hurling referee to win the Referee of the Year in the Association’s 11 year history. Derry’s Mickey Convery.
LANKY Londoner Adam Spelling arrived in Belfast to begin a week of strenuous sparring sessions with Commonwealth flyweight title challenger Damaen Kelly.
Spelling normally campaigns in the lightweight division – two full divisions above former Olympic star Kelly.
But with rugged Commonwealth champion Alfonso Zvenyika standing 5’ 9” in his boxing boots and with a considerable reach advantage over 24-year-old Kelly, manager Frank Maloney has drafted in a similar sized sparring partner.
The Commonwealth battle is set for December 12 in Chester.
RANGERS have sold out of 30,000 tickets for an Ibrox beamback showing of today’s Old Firm derby against Celtic.
Rangers were allocated 7,500 tickets for the 60,000 Parkhead sell-out, meaning that in two Glasgow stadiums 90,000 will watch the match as live.