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Back in the day - Tyrone's Ronan McGarrity on course for Championship return - The Irish News, Jan 12 1999

SEAN WHELAN AND THE IRISH NEWS ARCHIVE

AFTER a year-long battle with a knee injury, Ronan McGarrity is making steady progress towards a return to competitive action with Tyrone in time for the Ulster Championship.

McGarrity underwent a successful operation last summer and, following months of physiotherapy, is back training for the resumption of the NFL. Danny Ball, Tyrone’s senior football team manager, said yesterday that the outstanding defender will not be rushed.

It could be late March before he is ready for run out in the National League, but his return to the squad is viewed as a significant boost at this stage. Seamus McCallan is also making good progress after serious injury, having broken three ribs and sustained a punctured lung against Leitrim before Christmas.

“Again, he is back in training, which we are very pleased about, but like Ronan his return to competitive football will not be rushed,'' said Ball.

“It is unlikely he will be ready for any games in February. We will just see how it goes.

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GAELIC games are minority sports on a par with trampolining and tug-of-war, according to a guide in the new-look Northern Ireland Yellow Pages. In the latest edition of the telephone guide a handy reference section suggests a series of possible pastimes and provides helpful telephone numbers.

In a sports section, under the heading of “Try something new – just when you thought you’d done every sport...”, tug-of-war, microlighting, trampolining and dry slope skiing are listed alongside, hurling, camogie and Gaelic football.

Hurling, it suggests, is a good choice “for the boys” and reads: “Hurling is said to be one of the fastest field games. Played with two teams of 15 men, a small leather ball (sliother) (sic) is belted along with a hockey-like stick – the hurl.”

And while camogie is said to be one of the fastest growing field sports for women in Northern Ireland, Gaelic football we are told, is: “A hybrid of soccer and rugby where the players can handle the ball. The game is played with a round ball and involves two 15-strong teams.”

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ULSTER director of rugby Harry Williams expressed disappointment that the province’s hero Simon Mason was absent from the latest Irish squad. Williams admitted that Ballymena full-back Mason’s exclusion was a blow: “I’d like to have seen him involved. It’s not for me to say, it’s up to the Ireland coach, but Simon has been producing the performances and I am disappointed for him.

“Allen Clarke is another who has been competing at the top level against the leading French sides, and I thought he might have been in there too.”

JIM Webb has been handed a Intercontinental title fight against promising Scot Joe Townsley.

Webb, who won the Irish light middleweight belt in December last year, will challenge his former amateur opponent in Glasgow on February 25 for the IBO belt.

Webb’s promoter Barry Hearn confirmed the fight plan last night and feels Webb harbours a realistic chance of winning and later challenging for the British title.

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AYERS READY TO ROCK... former British lightweight champion Michael Ayers aims to set up a WBO world title clash with Uzbekistan’s Artur Grigorian when he faces Frenchman Jean Gomis tonight at York Hall, Bethnal Green. Ayers prepared for the 10-rounder with three weeks of coaching and sparring at Gerry Storey’s Northside gym in Belfast. He is pictured here before leaving yesterday for London with Gerry Storey snr and Gerry jnr. Lurgan fighter Glenn McClarnon also features on the York Hall undercard

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