Sport

On this Day in the Irish News: April 8 1999

Jody Tolan during his time with Coleraine

SOCCER

By Jim Agnew

JODY Tolan will be hoping that manager Marty Quinn gives him the vote of confidence he badly needs and plays him in Cliftonville’s crunch Bass Irish Cup semi-final against Linfield on Saturday.

Tolan will almost certainly be suspended for the last two league matches of the season against Linfield and Newry, so will be eager get the opportunity of ending the season on a high note. The 20-year-old openly admits that his current form is “probably the worst” of his career.

“My confidence isn’t the best at the moment, but all I need is a couple of goals and I’m sure my form will return.”

Tolan knows how big the game is for both clubs and is desperate to play.

“It would mean a lot to me to beat Linfield and the fact that it is a Cup semi-final would make it extra special.”

The Irish Cup semi-final is just the first in a triple bill of games between the Reds and Blues over the next fortnight. The two sides also face each other in a Coca-Cola Cup semi-final and more crucially for the Solitude men in the penultimate League match of the season.

“Our season hangs on Saturday’s game. If we win we are in the final of the Cup, which is the most prestigious competition. The win will also boost us for our final two matches, one of which we have to win to stay up.”

SNOOKER

By John Haughey

KEN Doherty’s indifferent season continued when he crashed out of the British Open in Plymouth yesterday.

At 3-1 up and 59-nil up in frame five, Doherty seemed certain to claim a comfortable success over Gary Wilkinson. However, Wilkinson, the former World Matchplay champion, stole the frame with a 72 clearance and the Dubliner never looked comfortable thereafter.

Doherty did level at 4-4 to bring the match into a decider but Wilkinson closed out the match to earn a tussle with Fergal O’Brien. O’Brien boosted his chances of achieving a coveted top 16 spot by holding his nerve to claim a 5-4 victory over Croydon’s Bradley Jones. But O’Brien left it late after surrendering leads of 3-0 and 4-2.

In the end he required a break of 60 to win the decider and set up a match in the last 16 against Wilkinson. O’Brien, who is provisionally ranked 18, stole the opening frame with a 68 break after Jones had earlier knocked in a run of 67. His other best break in a solid performance was a 55 in frame two.

O’Brien’s fellow-Dubliner Michael Judge wasted a golden opportunity to claim the scalp of Steve Davis with the former World number one eventually earning a 5-3 success.

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