GAA Football

Dobbin wins rescheduled Grand National

Downpatrick-born jockey Tony Dobbin is greeted by the cheering crowds as he returns to the winner’s enclosure after riding Lord Gyllene to victory in the Grand National at Aintree on April 8, 1997.

DOWNPATRICK jockey Tony Dobbin and his mount Lord Gyllene punctured any notion that the re-scheduled Martell Grand National would be an anti-climax with an exhilarating success at Aintree yesterday.

Dobbin guided the 14-1 chance over the demanding Aintree course to win the race easily in the colours of Uttoxeter and Newcastle racecourse supremo Stan Clarke.

Apart from one scare when hampered by a loose horse, Lord Gyllene never appeared likely to exit from the race. Pulling clear in great style after the last he was 25 lengths clear of Suny Bay (8-1) with Camelot Knight (100-1) two lengths away in third. Buckboard Bounce was fourth.

Dobbin, winning the National at the second attempt, admitted he had been embarrassed by the bomb scare which had prevented the race being staged on Saturday.

“It made me ashamed and it was so very sad it's something that should have never happened,” said 24-year-old Dobbin.

**

ANTRIM GAA bosses seem certain to react strongly after a mass brawl, allegedly lasting over three minutes, marred Sunday's Division One hurling league tie between St John's and Cushendun.

According to one observer, the Corrigan Park match had some of the worst scenes of violence ever witnessed at an Antrim hurling match.

It was claimed last night that hurleys were swung liberally during the dust-up and one player is understood to have had his hurling helmet damaged following a blow to the head.

Confusion reigned at the end as to whether five players (three St John's and two Cushendun) or six team members (three apiece) had been sent to the line by referee John McCartan.

St John's team member Donal Gallagher was sent off in the first half of the niggly encounter but the worst outbreak of violence came after half-time when Stephen Thompson (St John's) and Emmett O'Hara (Cushendun) were dismissed after a dust-up involving up to 20 participants - including, apparently, a couple of mentors.

Cushendun eventually won the match 3-9 to 1-14.

**

EFFORTS to entice DJ Kane back into the Down football squad will intensify in the wake of the county's dismal National League quarter-final defeat on Sunday.

Team captain Ross Carr was instrumental in coaxing James McCartan and Peter Withnell back to the Mourne panel. Kane and Carr have a long-standing friendship and it can be expected that the Down skipper will contact the former captain in the very near future.

A Down insider said last night that efforts to cajole Kane to rejoin Peter McGrath's squad were bound to increase following Sunday's humiliating defeat by a rampant Kerry side.

The source added that “no official approaches” had been made to Kane but that it would be fair to assume that Ross Carr would be contacting Kane soon.

Carr indicated in his newspaper column in the Sunday Tribune at the weekend that McCartan, Withnell and Greg Blaney might not be the only players to rejoin the Down panel before the Ulster Championship opener against Tyrone on May 18.

Blaney was persuaded back into the Down squad mainly by the persuasive urgings of county chairman Kevin Bell.

1994 All-Ireland-winning captain Kane was appointed as Newry Shamrocks senior manager during the winter and he said that his new role, allied to work and family commitments, meant he couldn't devote the necessary time to the Mourne cause.

GAA Football

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