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Irish News Past Papers - Jan 1 1999: Gavin Devlin chasing double-figures medal haul

Tyrone's Gavin Devlin was planning for an Ulster Minor final on this day 20 years ago
The Irish News Archive

A DOUBLE figures medal collection – that’s what Gavin Devlin is chasing today as Ardboe and Slaughtneil clash in the Green Gate Ulster Minor football final at St Paul’s in Belfast.

The strong Ardboe centre-back has had a wonderful year and now wants to polish it off with success in this prestigious tournament which has added a whole new image to minor football in Ulster.

Neither of today’s finalists have won the Jimmy McConville Cup, adding extra spice to the occasion. “I’d dearly love to get a 10th medal and complete the collection,” said Devlin.

“It has been a great year for me and amongst the nine medals I have so far collected I already have two Ulster awards so a third would be very welcome indeed.”

Devlin (18) has two All-Ireland medals for his exploits this season, being a member of both the Holy Trinity, Cookstown Vocationals team and the Tyrone minors both of which went on to gain national honours in 1998. Devlin, a trainee in Forbes’ Kitchens, will certainly provide a major stumbling block to Slaughtneil’s attempt to win the title for a first time.

Devlin starred against Kilcoo in the first round and he has a solid defence around him with full-back and captain Conor McFlynn sound in the air and ‘keeper Gerard O’Neill difficult to beat.

Up front, Ardboe have an excellent leader in Brian McGuigan who sprays passes around with accuracy.

This, however, is going to be the stiffest test yet for the Tyrone lads as Slaughtneil have stormed through to the final with good wins over Scotstown and Enniskillen Gaels.

In midfielders Bernard Bradley and Niall Convery plus centre-back Francis McEldowney, Slaughtneil have mighty men while Francis’ twin, Fergal, is an attacking half-back of quality.

And there are not too many minor teams which has an attacker of the quality of Jim Kelly.

Kevin O’Neill is set to have a great battle with Gavin Devlin while Patrick Bradley also showed remarkable accuracy against the Gaels.

The attack has certainly a Dermot McNicholl influence about it – he manages the team.

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IRISH eyes were smiling brightly in Chicago this week as the handballers swept to victory in six out of 10 finals in the US Junior Championships with two other Irish players reaching the deciders.

The Boys’ 19 & Under competition produced the best of Irish play with Cavan’s Paul Brady and Dublin’s Eoin Kennedy clashing in the final, just as they had done in the Irish trials when Brady snatched the official ticket to the US by two points in a tiebreaker.

Again it took that vital third shootout to split the pair of young Irish lions and, once more, Brady proved best. This is the first time that an Irish player has won the Boys’ 19 & Under since Ciaran Curran was successful some years ago. Kennedy, of course, was not a member of the official Irish team of five players who represented the Emerald Isle in the championships. He paid his own way to Chicago.

Dessie Keegan, winner of the Jameson Golden Gloves Intermediate competition in Belfast, took the 17 & Under crown and completing a Ballaghaderreen club double was Joseph McCann as he won the 15 & Under final.

Dublin girl Julie Long had a two games win at 19 & Under level while that exciting talent from Roscommon, Lydia Doolan, swept aside all challengers in the combined 15-17 age group.

That meant that the fives-trong Irish team had a clean sweep and adding a little extra to the occasion was success for Patricia Boyle from Wicklow who took the 13 & Under title.

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BRIAN Kerr’s Republic of Ireland U17s got back to winning ways in the international invitational tournament in Israel yesterday with a 2-1 victory over the hosts.

Newcastle United winger David McMahon and Everton striker Gary Dempsey, who also scored in Tuesday’s 2-2 draw with Turkey, got the vital goals which put the Irish top of the group on day three.

The Republic were reduced to 10 men when Stockport midfielder Dessie Byrne was sent off for two bookable offences after 50 minutes.

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FERMANAGH'S senior football panel are asked to attend squad training at Brewster Park on Sunday January 3 1999, while the Fermanagh U21 football panel are requested to attend training on Wednesday, January 6 at the Lakeland Forum (7.30pm).

Fermanagh Senior: Cormac McAdam, Ronan Gallagher, Paddy McGuinness, Paul Courtney, Sean Breen, Raymond Curran, Raymond Johnson, Michael Lilly, Justin Gilheaney, Kieran Gallagher, Clive Fitzpatrick, Tommy Callaghan, Colin Courtney, Paul Brewster, Liam McBarron, Darragh McGrath, Rory Gallagher, Tom Brewster, Stephen Maguire, Shane King, Sean Quinn, Donal McNulty, Kieran McManus, Mark Gallagher, Bryan Jackson, Raymond Gallagher.

Fermanagh U21: Glen Monaghan, Shane Wilson, Barry McLaughlin, Brendan McBrien, Seamus Howell, Martin McAloon, Mark Millar, Declan Reilly, Declan Fitzpatrick, Sean Curry, Kieran Brady, Ronan McCabe, Rory McEnhill, Adrian Burns, Francis McKenna, Martin Meehan, Declan Campbell, Patrick Mohan, Declan Coyle, Kevin Coyle, Barry Carty, Ronan Reilly, Anthony McGoldrick, Martin Cosgrove, Kevin Maguire, Aidan Little, Kieran McElroy, Eamon Sherry, Shane McDermott.

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