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Back in the day: In The Irish News on Jan 6 1997: Glenavon manager Best speaks out after James McCartan red card

Wayne McCullough in action against Scott Harrison
Andy Watters

GLENAVON manager Nigel Best last night jumped to the defence of Down GAA star James McCartan following the striker’s dismissal in their 1-0 defeat away to Crusaders on Saturday.

McCartan picked up a booking in the first half for a challenge on Glenn Dunlop and was booked again by referee George Keatley in the 75th minute after an off-the-ball incident with Gary McCartney.

Nigel Best said: “I felt a bit sorry for James because he was on the receiving end of a few heavy tackles. Maybe it was because of inexperience that he reacted openly to one of those tackles.”

The only goal of the game was scored by Stephen Baxter in the second minute.

“Crusaders worked a very good goal. It was a good piece of play and it took something of that quality to win the game,” explained Best.

“But we played very well and deserved at least a draw. We probably played better than Crusaders over the 90 minutes. We were unlucky as we hit the woodwork and had a couple cleared off the line. It was disappointing to lose.”

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WAYNE McCullough is determined to put a disappointing 1996 behind him when he takes on undefeated veteran Mexico southpaw Daniel Zaragoza for the WBC world

super-bantamweight title in Boston, USA.

“The past year has been very difficult for me. I found it hard at times to cope with and I would admit that I felt depressed about a lot of things.

“I was very low before Harry Robinson agreed to come out to Vegas for a few weeks.

“It seems strange to say it, but being world champion isn’t all it is cracked up to be. Things were not going well, I felt I had problems in the gym, and the trouble with the weight I experienced before the Bueno fight and the problems I suffered in the contest itself had left me feeling depressed.

“I suppose I got a lot of things off my chest during the time Harry was out in Vegas helping me in the gym and talking to me.

“It was only when he returned to Belfast that I felt myself becoming really motivated again and motivated for the fight with Zaragoza.”

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DESPITE the bitter cold, 62 Derry U21 hopefuls turned out at Owenbeg for the county team trials on Saturday morning. In addition to the 62 there were 10 who couldn’t take part because of injuries and colds, plus another 10 who were tied up with college and university teams.

Arising out of the trial, 30 players were selected to take part in a challenge game against UUJ at Owenbeg under lights on Wednesday at 7.30pm.

All players listed for last Saturday will be given a second chance next Saturday at Owenbeg (1.30pm). The selectors hope to whittle the huge pool down to a manageable number and then play a final trial game. After that the championship panel will be selected and put into training for the first round game away to Fermanagh next month.

The panel for Wednesday’s game is: Kieran Moore, B Rocks, DJ Moore, P Wilson, B Murray, P McCaigue, S McCallion, J Heaney, K Heaney, F Devlin, G Devlin, K Higgins, P Gormley, O Farren, D McErlain, B Tohill, D Hopkins, K Wilkinson, N Farren, E Lynch, P Diamond, J Coyle, G Cushenen, K O’Kane, U McCloskey, R Clarence, P Scullion (Moneymore), D Lynn, G Cassidy, R Scullion, J O’Brien, E McQuillan

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