Hurling and camogie

The Irish News Archive - July 3 1998: Paul McKillen can't resist lure of Saffron's Sean McGuinness

SAFFRON STALWART...Antrim’s Paul McKillen (right) is the longest serving member of the current panel
The Irish News Archive

ONLY the lure of playing for Sean McGuinness has provided Antrim with the services of Paul McKillen this year.

Having turned 32 last week, the shy builder from Ballycastle is determined that after 15 years hard slog, Sunday’s Ulster hurling final with Derry will be his last.

But he readily acknowledges it was only the return of his childhood mentor to Saffron colours this year which tempted him to give it a another go.

“I was ready to quit after last year,” he said, wincing again at the thought of the bitter defeat to Down.

“But when Sean asked me onto the panel for the National League, I told him that I would give him a year, seeing as it was him who brought me on to the county panel in the first place.”

McGuinness himself remembers well how he discovered the talented half-forward in the early 80s.

“I had heard about this young lad up in Ballycastle, so I went up to take a look,” he said.

“I asked somebody, who turned out to be Paul’s da, which lad was McKillen and then I watched him for the whole match.

“Afterwards I went up and asked him on to the senior panel, he was over the moon.

“He can’t have been any more than 17.”

Playing under McGuinness again was an attraction McKillen couldn’t resist.

“Anybody who knows me, knows I rate Sean McGuinness as one of the finest managers, along with Jim Nelson and Dermie Donnelly, who brought me on to the Ballycastle senior team when I was only 16.

“I always give 100 per cent, but Sean seems to be able to get that extra wee bit out of me. He’s a great motivator.”

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DUBLINER Mark Riggs retained his WAA (World Athletic Association) title in the early hours of Wednesday morning with an 11th round stoppage of Damone Wright.

The fight took place in Winnipeg and at ringside was 1992 Olympic gold medal winner Michael Carruth, who like Riggs fights professionally at welterweight.

It now looks likely that the two Dubliners will meet each other in Dublin on the weekend of the All-Ireland football final in September. Riggs’ professional record now stands at 15 wins, with no defeats.

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ERIC Cantona is set to play in a friendly next week to raise money for the family of a gendarme seriously injured by German hooligans.

Cantona has been lined up to be in one of two mixed teams of former French and German internationals on Saturday July 11 at Charlety stadium in Paris.

Other French former internationals include Michel Platini, Spurs midfielder David Ginola, Jean Tigana, and Patrick Battiston.

The German contingent includes KarlHeinz Rummenigge, Rudi Voeller and Pierre Littbarski. Franz Beckenbauer and Uwe Seeler will be there as coaches.

World Cup France ‘98: Quotes of the day

“Goals are like children, they are all beautiful.”

Italy’s Christian Vieri, top scorer in the World Cup so far, attempts to rival the ramblings of former France star Eric Cantona.

“At 18-years-old he thrills the world like Pele did in ‘58. Read the story of the ‘Baby-gol’ idol of Liverpool. Owen is the child prodigy who has amazed the world.”

Italy’s premier sporting daily, Gazzetta dello Sport, raves about Michael Owen.

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Hurling and camogie

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