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Football/Soccer

In the Irish News on April 4 1997: FAI President backs Mick McCarthy after humiliation in FYR Macedonia

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy had the backing of FAI President Pat Quigley despite the 1997 defeat in FYR Macedonia.

THE Republic’s top football official yesterday stood firmly by manager Mick McCarthy who told critics to keep “giving him a fair chance” despite the humiliating 3-2 World Cup defeat in Macedonia.

Pat Quigley, the FAI’s President, confirmed that former Millwall boss McCarthy had full support of his association and would be kept on for the full two years of his contract – at least.

Disillusioned Irish fans are ready with a campaign to put McCarthy’s job under pressure after the disaster in Skopje. But the former Ireland centre-back, who is just halfway through the deal he signed last March to take over from Jack Charlton, seems secure, despite the damaging defeat his team suffered in the former Yugoslav Republic.

Quigley said: “We will certainly be fully supportive of him at the FAI, just as we will continue to support Ian Evans and the work he has done with the U21 team.

“Mick has got the difficult job, because we no longer have the Paul McGraths and people like that at the stage where they were top of the pops, and it’s going to take time to blend together all the new players he has had to bring in.”

A clearly dejected McCarthy said: “I thought I might feel a little better about it when I woke up this morning – but it actually feels even worse. If I had a black cat at home I would probably kick it.”

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Finbarr McConnell has been recalled to take charge of the Tyrone goal for Sunday’s crucial National League Division One play-off against Cavan at Clones. McConnell replaces Joe Cassidy between the posts.

And Tyrone manager Danny Ball has named a new midfield partnership in his team. Jody Gormley teams up with Vinny Owens for the first time. Midfield star Enda Kilpatrick was ruled out due to injury but Seamus McCallan, who was suffering from an ankle injury, is fit and is included in the half-forward line.

Pascal Canavan moves from left half-back to right half-forward while Adrian Cush makes a welcome return to the squad. Cush is named among the substitutes. He suffered serious injuries as the result of a car accident several months ago.

Derry also named their team to play Laois in the NFL quarter-final at Croke Park last night. Kieran McKeever and Joe Brolly, neither of whom played against Meath in the last round of the league, both return to the Oak Leaf starting line-up. Defender Fergal McCusker was earlier this week sidelined by a groin injury and failed to make the first 15.

Tyrone: F McConnell; P Devlin, P O’Neill, C Lawn; N Donnelly, F Logan, S McLaughlin; J Gormley, V Owens; Pascal Canavan, S McCallan, C McBride; E Gormley, S Lawn, Peter Canavan.

Derry: J Kelly; K McKeever, J McBride, E McKeever; S M Lockhart, H Downey, G Coleman; A Tohill, D Dougan; K Diamond, D Heaney, R Rocks; J Brolly, S Downey, J Cassidy.

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Despite their plea to Tyrone to postpone the game as it was clashing with the U21 semi-final, Cavan have named only one U21 player on the team for Sunday’s crucial division one relegation play-off.

The game was due to go ahead last Sunday, but Tyrone agreed to a postponement after Cavan complained they had a significant number of U21s involved with the senior team. However, only Dermot McCabe has been named on the team by manager Martin McHugh.

Cavan: B McCormack; P Kermath, C Brady, D O’Reilly; G Sheridan, B Morris, P Shiels; S King, P Smith; D McCabe, A Connolly, R Cunningham; P Reilly, F Cahill, M Graham.

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Sam Storey’s British super-middleweight title opponent Dave Starie said yesterday he aims to win the Lonsdale belt in record time.

Starie claimed that he is aiming to defend the title twice more before midsummer, if he overcomes the Belfast man at York Hall, Bethnal Green next Tuesday.

If Starie is quick enough, he can be quicker to the Lonsdale Trophy than the 90-day mark set by British lightweight champion Rhodes last month.

“I want a Lonsdale Belt as my own property. I want one to keep,” said the 22- year-old. Promoter Frank Maloney says he is planning to get Starie his wish in rapid time to pip Rhodes’ achievement.

Football/Soccer

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