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Back in the day - Sean McCague tops GAA president poll - The Irish News, April 19 1999

Liam Mulvihill congratulates Sean McCague following his election as President of the GAA. Also pictured is sitting President Joe McDonagh
The Irish News Archive

A LANDSLIDE victory heralded Sean McCague’s arrival as the 33rd president of the GAA at Saturday’s annual congress in Dublin.

Leaving the Burlington Hotel yesterday morning surrounded by well-wishers, the president-elect drove straight to Omagh to watch Monaghan take on Donegal in the Ulster U21 football championship final.

It did not take Monaghan people long to embrace their first president. On his way through the county and past his native Scotstown, the 53- year-old school principal will have seen the dozens of flags and banners in towns and villages which were erected soon after the announcement on Saturday evening.

A few more of them had the chance to pay homage at closer quarters yesterday afternoon when the president-elect was introduced to crowd at half-time during the Ulster U21 final between Monaghan and Donegal.

To cap a good weekend for the Farney county, the Monaghan U21 side claimed the Ulster crown by a single point.

Saturday’s result was much more conclusive for Scotstown man McCague. The hugely impressive manner of the victory surprised many and stunned a few, including runner-up Albert Fallon.

McCague last night received a hero’s welcome in his native Scotstown 24 hours after landing one of the most onerous jobs in Irish society.

Those who welcomed back Monaghan’s favourite son included his 90-year-old mother who he had referred to in his acceptance speech on Saturday.

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DEMOLITION work on the British army base in Crossmaglen will begin within days, according to GAA president Joe McDonagh.

Speaking at the weekend’s GAA congress Mr McDonagh said he had been informed by people “of the highest stature and integrity” that work on the Crossmaglen Rangers’ land would begin this week.

“Down through the years they (Crossmaglen) have borne the violation of their grounds and democratic rights, harassment and intimidation stoically and without recourse to confrontation or violence,” he said.

“This is why you have had the support of us all and why we hope that we will shortly celebrate with you on the return of your grounds.

“We must welcome the full imminent withdrawal from the Crossmaglen Rangers ground, its full rehabilitation and their addressing of relevant social issues, including loss of income, amicably and speedily.”

The army’s civilian representative is to hold a meeting with county board officials today to finalise details of the demolition work.

An army spokesman said last night that the meeting should finalise arrangements for the return of the ground and the demolition work required.

The Crossmaglen Rangers pitch was commandeered by the army in 1971 for use as a military base and landing site for the constant stream of helicopters that have flown in and out of the base ever since.

Villagers have long complained of the noise pollution created by the constant air traffic.

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TERESA Duffy produced a personal best time, clipping 15 seconds off her previous best, in yesterday’s Rotterdam Marathon but still came away thinking what might have been. The Beechmount Harrier finished 12th in 2.39.41 which bettered her winning time set last October on her marathon debut in Dublin.

However with 10K left Duffy was on schedule to run 2.34 which would have represented a magnificent run by the Belfast woman and boosted her chances of qualifying for next year’s Olympics.

But Duffy hit the notorious marathon wall in the final 10K which slowed her down considerable in the closing stages.

Nonetheless, yesterday’s end result still represents a fine performance by an athlete who is still relatively inexperienced in the event

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