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Back in the day - Armagh face the ultimate test on Croke ‘away day' - The Irish News, August 28 1999

MORE OF THE SAME...Armagh’s star forward Oisin McConville (right) will be hoping to take his Ulster final form into tomorrow’s All-Ireland semi-final against Meath at Croke Park
The Irish News Archive

Bank of Ireland All-Ireland SFC semi-final: Armagh v Meath at Croke Park

AFTER the stunning All-Ireland monopoly of 1991- 1994, a fifth barren September in-a-row is something Armagh’s players hope to avert. Meath, for all their strengths and ease with which they approach the playing of such a major game at Croke Park, have not come up against a team as good as Orchard’s this year.

A below average Dublin side, an Offaly team which had its day two seasons before, starter for 10 against Wicklow.

Every game has its merits, yet Meath’s qualifying tests hardly compare with the 3D route Armagh had to force their way through, especially the Derry Ulster semi-final.

Very impressive defence, bar the early jitterbugs at MacCumhaill Park, and a spell of troubles with Derry which the opposition failed badly to capitalise on.

Armagh need more from the middle of the park, from captain Jarlath Burns, a performance replica of Ballybofey, a throwback to many displays before.

Burns against who Boylan describes as ‘John Mac’, Ireland’s international giant John McDermott.

A big, big confrontation.

Burns has all he needs, and the occasion to spark all the plugs.

McDermott, superb against Dublin, an inspiring player for Meath.

First minute to last, the whole nine yards, taking the blows square on the chin, responding in kind, unrelenting. Armagh have to do it for themselves.

They can do it.

Armagh: B Tierney; E McNulty, G Reid, J McNulty; K Hughes, K McGeeney, A McCann; J Burns, J Donaldson; P McGrane, T McEntee, D Marsden; J McEntee, O McConville, P McKeever

Meath: C Sullivan; M O’Reilly, D Fay, C Murphy; P Reynolds, E McManus, H Traynor; N Crawford, J McDermott; N Nestor, T Giles, D Curtis; E Kelly, G Geraghty, O Murphy

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CLIFTONVILLE striker Chris Scannell will hold off the challenge of Jody Tolan to face Ballymena today - but he is set to miss the Reds’ next two games.

The youthful striker has impressed manager Marty Quinn, scoring in each of the first two league games, but a French trip as part of his dentistry course will end his short run in his side.

Scannell leaves on Tuesday and will definitely miss that night’s north Belfast derby with Crusaders at Seaview while his return a week later may not come in time to face champions Glentoran at the Oval.

However, Quinn confirmed that he would retain his place in the side today against Nigel Best’s visitors.

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AT the National Stadium in Dublin last night, Ger Gallagher, booked an Irish berth at the Gavle multi-nations tournament in Sweden next month.

The Dunfanaghy lad was comfortably ahead, 10- 4, in the final round of this 67kilos Irish trial clash against Darren O’Toole (Gorey).

And he took the decision out of the hands of the judges midway through the round, unleashing a terrific right cross to topple the hapless Gorey welter.

Bangor’s Paul Moffatt had to withdraw from his Irish trial bout through injury but two other top Ulster senior boxers enjoyed success on last night’s Central Council show.

Dungiven light welter Paul McCloskey (St Canice’s) and Derry light middle John Duddy (Ring) both registered emphatic wins.

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AMERICAN domination in the men’s sprint events at the World Championships continued last night with Maurice Greene adding 200m gold to the 100m title he picked up on Sunday.

Greene’s season’s best of 19.90 left him .10 ahead of Brazilian Claudinei da Silva with his anticipated main challenger Nigeria’s Francis Obikwelu some distance back in third (20.11).

James Nolan and Terry McHugh both bowed out of the championships although neither were disgraced. Offaly man Nolan, looking tired after his qualification in the 800m first round heats on Thursday evening, finished seventh in 1.47.07 in a heat won by South Africa’s Olympic silver medalist from Atlanta Hezekiel Sepeng (1.45.20).

The Irishman expressed “a small bit of disappointment” afterwards but added that he couldn’t complain with a season which was highlighted by a silver medal in the European U23 Championships.

“As far as I know it takes a year for the training to come out. Next year, definitely a European Indoor medal for me – you can quote me on that.”

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