In The Irish News - Feb 23 1998: Champion Mark Winters makes a splash at the Waterfront

SPORTING LOSER... British champion Mark Winters is lifted shoulder-high by defeated challenger Bernard Paul at the Waterfront Hall, Belfast on Saturday night

MARK Winters matched all the razzmatazz of professional boxing’s live lights and ghetto-blasted Sky Sports entry with a performance pin-sharp in style and skill.

For the 26-year-old his home-coming as British light-welterweight champion was an emotional, electrically-charged carnival to savour at Belfast’s plush £32m Waterfront Hall arena.

Winters turned in a class act to boss his first championship defence against durable, determined and combative former Commonwealth title-holder Bernard Paul.

Mickey Vann, the referee, scored it 117-113.

Antrim’s cool, calm and collected ring-master held the whip hand throughout, dominated Paul for three-quarters of the 12 rounds.

Winters clearly won nine rounds in my view, lost none, with the fifth, ninth and final three minutes drawn as Paul tried his damndest to explode ever-increasing odds stacked against him.

“I hope to be fighting for a world title by the end of the year,” said Winters. “I am ready for the best in Britain and Europe - that includes WBU world champion Shea Neary.”

The title talk is of a meeting with Paul Burke, the Commonwealth champion.

Burke is one of a number of possibles.

The British Board will announce their decision shortly, perhaps within the next fortnight. Andy Holligan, one of his sparring partners for Saturday’s defence, is another option, Jon Thaxton, with Ross Hale, up and coming Georgie Smith and Scotland’s Alan McDowall.




ST PATRICK’S, Maghera captured their sixth Ulster schools senior title with a 1-10 to 2-6 win over St Mary’s, Magherafelt 2-6 in a tense final at Bellaghy on Saturday morning.

In an evenly-balanced first half Marie Theresa McCann pointed four frees to even up points each from Monica O’Kane, Serena McCloskey, Paula McAtamney and Eilish McPeake.

In the two minutes before the break midfielders Louise McCloskey and Claire McNicholl edged St Pat’s ahead 0-6 to 0-4.

There were three points between the sides when McCann took advantage of Maghera’s defensive hesitancy to level the issue with a goal. Claire McNicholl pointed two minutes later and seven scoreless minutes followed before Ciara Kidd and Monica O’Kane unlocked St Mary’s defence for Claire McNicholl to hit the roof of the net.

Maura McAuley scored one of the best goals ever from a 40-yard free to keep everyone on their toes during two tense minutes of injury-time.

St Patrick’s, Maghera: B Mellon, C Bradley, P McKenna, B O’Loughlin, F Hasson, C McNicholl (capt) (1-4), C McCullough, L McCloskey (0-2), S McCloskey (0-1), P McAtamney (0-1), M O’Kane (0- 1), E McPeake (0-1).

Sub: C Kidd for E McPeake (32 mins)

St Mary’s, Magherafelt: C O’Kane, O Donnelly (capt), M McGuckin, M McAuley (1-0), E Totten, U Walls, L Mulholland, R Cassidy, C Gormley, C McCann, M Shivers, M T McCann (1-6)

Sub: P Bateson for U Walls (39 mins).

Ref: Belle O’Loughlin (Down)


TERESA Duffy's gamble of competing in the Irish National Cross-Country Championship paid off yesterday when she earned a place in the BLE squad for the World Championships in Morocco.

The Beechmount runner, though not at her best, finished in a gritty third place which was enough to earn her a place in Marakesh next month.

The women’s race in Wexford was won by Kerry’s Maureen Harrington who fought a battle against Cork athlete Louise Kavanagh.

Turf Lodge lady Duffy at her best would be expected to beat both women but her recent lymph gland problem recently has inhibited the Belfast woman’s training.

Last week it was very much tough and go whether she would travel to Wexford. Yesterday’s performance thoroughly vindicates her strategy.

The first three were automatic selections for Morocco and the likes of Valerie Vaughan, Sonia O’Sullivan and Una English will now be added to the squad as wild cards.

Peter Matthews bridged a four year gap by claiming the men’s title.

The Dundrum, south Dublin athlete had 36 seconds in hand over his club-mate Noel Berkeley who was finishing runner-up for the third successive year.


JOHN Denvir of the National club in Queen Street, Belfast became the winner of an Irish News bottle of whiskey and glasses as he had the highest break of 61 in a Belfast District and Provincial League Supplementary Snooker Division Two match against Clonard Hibs.

This result meant that the city centre club went one point ahead in the tightest division in the whole league thanks to their 6-4 success, which looks likely to be keenly contested to the end.

Although Denvir had that 61 break he only managed to share with Liam Sullivan.

Hugh Brennan gave the home team a two frames advantage beating Hugh Connor.

Charlie McAllister (29) and Tony Gough shared with Jim Hughes and Liam McMonagle.

This left Paul McAtamney to grab the points with a 1-1 draw against Eamon McCabe.

CBPPU, who didn’t have a match, remain joint second with Clonard with just that one point separating the three all having six matches left.


THE opening battles of the County Antrim Youth and Novice Championships get underway tonight at the Saints YC in Twinbrook – with a 17-bout programme lined up for the fans.

Lightweights with a heavyweight attraction are Scorpion’s Neil McMullan and Karl Hogg (All Saint’s, Ballymena) who clash head on in this Circuit Builders sponsored event.

The Ballymoney teenager, coached by his dad Robert McMullan at the bustling Scorpion gym, is joined on the bill by clubmate Paul Traynor.

He could face a stiff struggle against Francis Carey (Corpus Christi College) in the flyweight division. Overall success in the county tournament leads to a crack at the All-Ireland youth deciders in Dublin.

Tonight’s contests are as follows:

Youth 1: 51kgs: Paul Traynor (Scorpion) v F Carey (Corpus Christi College)

Youth 2: 54kgs: Kevin O’Hara (Immaculata) v Dessie Kennedy (St Agnes); Jim McLaughlin (Saints) v Jim McCombe (St Agnes); 60 kgs: Neil McMullan (Scorpion) v Karl Hogg (All Saint’s)

Novice Championship:

Boy 1: 31kgs: K McAllister (Oliver Plunkett) v P Stokes (CCC);

33kgs: C Ferguson (St Agnes) v C Wylie (CCC);

36kgs: T Brady (Holy Trinity) v L Reilly (Sacred Heart); A McAllister (Emerald) v F O’Neill (Oliver Plunkett);

42kgs: D Traynor (Scorpion) v J Doherty (St Agnes);

48kgs: B McCullagh (St Agnes) v P Masterson (Larne)

Boy 2: 33kgs: P Murphy (St Agnes) v D West (Albert Foundry);

36kgs: H Keaveney (CCC) v G Gargin (CCC);

39kgs: R Bradley (CCC) v C McIlhone (Poleglass);

42kgs: G Graham (Lisburn) v S Magill (Sacred Heart); M Tully (Poleglass) v G Patterson (Ardoyne)

Boy 3: 45kgs: C French (Randalstown) v J Lennon (Dockers);

48kgs: C Smith (Dockers) v R McCallun (Albert Foundry)

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