Turnbull and McKiernan lift top laurels in international event

PLOUGHING AHEAD...Cavan athlete Catherina McKiernan won the IAAF Cross-Country women’s event at Durham


GARETH Turnbull is in line for a call up to the Irish Senior squad for the World Cross-Country Championships in Morocco after his astonishing success in Durham at the weekend.

The Belfast runner saw off a host of seasoned performers including British milers Tony Whiteman, John Mayock and Matthew Yates to win the 4K event at the Durham international meeting.

Overall, it was an exceptional day for the Irish.

Catherina McKiernan maintained her brilliant recent run by winning the women's title

Turnbull and his coach John Morrin had already decided that the junior event over 12K in Morocco wasn't in his plans for this year.

His primary goal is the world junior track championships in France during the summer.

However, the former St Malachy's student could now be asked by the Irish selectors to compete in the shorter 4K event in Morocco.

TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern said yesterday that he hoped GAA chiefs would soon see their way to allowing other sports – including soccer – to be played in Dublin's Croke park stadium.

And Mr Ahern also said he fully supported President Mary McAleese's call for the GAA to scrap Rule 21 which bars members of the British security forces from joining the organisation.

He said it made financial sense for the GAA to open up Croke Park to other sports when the stadium was not being used.

The Irish government provoked a row last month when finance minister Charlie McCreevy allocated £20 million of lottery money to the redevelopment of Croke Park.

There was speculation that the cash was part of a deal to have soccer and rugby played on Gaelic's hallowed ground – a claim denied by GAA officials at the time.

PAUL GASCOIGNE was taunted by Celtic supporters about being a “wife-beater” when he was caught on camera at the Old Firm game pretending to play the flute.

That was the claim made yesterday by the England and Rangers midfielder's advisor Mel Stein, speaking at Stamford Bridge before the Chelsea-Manchester United FA Cup tie.

He said: “Of course I am aware of the publicity in Scotland surrounding this incident.

“But where is the publicity about the actions of some of the Celtic supporters, who were chanting ‘Gazza beats his wife'.”

Stein refused to elaborate further but his brief comments are bound to inflame an already delicate matter

THE Premier League game between Cliftonville and Glenavon was abandoned by referee David Malcolm due to terrible weather conditions after 58 minutes of play.

The referee later said he'd called the game off because his assistant Gerry Dobbin, was suffering from exposure.

Cliftonville may appeal to the Referee's Association to have a fourth official present at all Irish League games.

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