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Back in the day - Monaghan can march on in Hastings Cup - The Irish News, Jan 16 1999

The Irish News Archive

MONAGHAN should confirm their status as the in-form team of the Hastings Cup today by beating bottom of the table side Antrim.

The Farney team have beaten Down, Louth and Westmeath in Group A but still need a point from today’s game (Monaghan, 2.30) to be sure of progressing to the semi-finals as group winners.

Monaghan have quite a strong line-up with 15 of last year’s U21 panel plus several minors coming through well.

Corner-back Colm Flanagan, midfielder John Paul Mone plus forwards Noel Clerkin and Andrew Callan have been impressive so far.

Given that Antrim possess many of the players from the Ulster minor finalist sides of 1997 and ‘98, it is surprising they have not yet recorded a win in the competition.

However with a home game against Louth still to come next week, the vital match practice is sure to be welcomed ahead of their Ulster championship first round clash with Donegal on March 13.

THE Northern Ireland Billiards Association’s latest billiards competition, the West Belfast Classic, couldn’t have got off to a better start with no less than three century breaks in the opening round of matches.

Defending champion Paddy Donnelly had to overcome a 128 by clubmate Joe Heaney and replied with a 100 to take the match 400 to 266.

The third century, a first class 154, came from former NI champion John McIntyre against Sammy Clarke.

The West player, a former NI champion, showed true grit and with runs of 58, 44, 46, 39 and 38 got home by 54 points. Billy Craig had breaks of 41, 40, 38 and 36 early in his encounter with Marcus Dickson and despite the Garvagh player hitting back with late runs of 56 and 41 the Belfast man came through 400 to 371.

DESPITE playing below par in last week’s meeting with Crusaders, Newry showed enough determination to score twice, once taking the lead and then pinning back the home side from a 2-1 lead.

A last minute Brian Russell goal possibly put paid to Newry’s hopes of causing a league upset in their first season in the Premier League.

A place in European football is still an aim, however, winning consistently in order to achieve such, must start with today’s visit of Coleraine.

The Bannsiders, having beaten Linfield last with, and with new signing Mark Picking on board, will show an air of confidence at the Showgrounds and will prove hard to beat

PAUL Lambert is fairly unique in terms of being a Celtic player these days - he’s not injured!

Two of the most physical friendlies which Dr Joseph Venglos’ men have ever been involved in have left the club physiotherapist with more patients than he has room or time to accommodate.

But Lambert is a lone voice in believing that the experience is a beneficial one, and one which could help his club retain the championship they won on the last day of last term.

He said: “I picked up a dead leg in the game against Jerez club Deportivo but it was not more than that. “It is important for us to keep up our match fitness and playing games against technically astute sides will always help.”

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