Back in the day - Nov 22 1998: Paul McErlean upbeat for Antrim future ahead of Kerry clash
ANTRIM footballers struggled to pull together a team for last Saturday’s challenge game against Leitrim with one report saying a mentor had to make up the numbers.
However Paul McErlean, who returned to the Saffron panel 10 days ago, took encouragement from the turnout with the St Paul’s man claiming the main difficulty was that so many Antrim natives were involved in Saturday’s Ryan Cup clash between Queen’s and UUJ.
“Six or seven Antrim lads including Kevin Madden, Kevin Brady and Joe Quinn were involved in that Ryan Cup game which is something I can’t remember happening before in my time.
“I think that’s really encouraging and the fact they are involved in that level of football should benefit the county.” McErlean has heard all the jibes about Antrim football a million times but his enthusiasm and passion for the game remains undiminished.
He is now one of the senior citizens of the Saffron panel alongside the likes of his clubmate Aidan Donnelly and St John’s defender Locky McCurdy, who both also recently returned to the county panel along with another St Paul’s man John McManus.
The Saffrons take on 1997 All-Ireland champions Kerry at Casement Park on Sunday in surely the most intriguing match of the day involving an Ulster side.
SWATRAGH won the Derry IFC decider with a 0-14 to 1-6 win over Lavey II who fielded a very strong side which included Brendan Prenter, John Dillon, Kieran McGurk and Patrick McCloy from last year’s Senior Championship winning team. The Davitt’s led 0-6 to 1-2 at half-time.
Their match hero was Derry senior county player Michael Conway who scored 0-12.
The other Swatragh scorer was John Eddie Friel.
Derry senior football Seanie McGuckin started at corner forward but retired injured and must now be doubtful for Derry’s visit to Clare.
INJURED Manchester United forward Jordi Cruyff will be cheering on his team-mates from the stands in this week’s Champions’ League clash against his former club Barcelona.
Cruyff, who joined United from the Spanish champions in 1996, is unavailable for the Group D clash in the Nou Camp because of a pulled hamstring.
Normally injured players do not travel on European trips, but the Dutchman has persuaded manager Alex Ferguson to let him fly out with the rest of the United party.
Cruyff played against United on their last visit to the Nou Camp four years ago when they were demolished 4-0 by a Romario-inspired Barca.
Only four survivors from the United side that played that night – Denis Irwin, Nicky Butt, Roy Keane and Paul Scholes – are in the squad this time round.