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On this Day in the Irish News: February 19 1999

Warren Gatland was Ireland rugby coach back in February 1999

AIB All-Ireland Club Football semi-final Crossmaglen Rangers v Eire Og

By Eamonn O'Hara

THE pedigree clinched it. A transfer ex-Laois star Leo Turley had mulled over for a time, and one Eire Og were keen to dry the signature ink on.

It's worked out well, so far. A fifth Leinster title of the 1990s, Eire Og are well used to the dips and dangers of the road to the AIB All-Ireland Club Football final. Carlow's chief powerbrokers have made it once to the end game, losing the 1993 to O'Donovan Rossa from Skibbereen.

Turley has watched their rise, and continued return to All-Ireland battle, this decade and business took him to Carlow three years ago, thoughts eventually turned to making the move. An O'Dempsey's player, based outside Portarlington, for much of his career, he joined Eire Og at the start of the season.

After three memorable, marathon struggles with Dublin kingpins Kilmacud Crokes, they go to Navan on Sunday to face the might and menace of former championship winners Crossmaglen.

Turley relishes the prospect, and his views on the semi-final certainly reflect the burning ambitions of an Eire Og side hell bent on finally winning club football's ultimate prize at the fifth attempt.

“You can only knock on the door so many times. It has to open for you sometime, and hopefully this year is Eire Og's year to do it.

“Very simply, and I am sure Crossmaglen's players feel the same way about their All-Ireland ambitions, the Eire Og goal is to win the Championship.”

WARREN Gatland yesterday hinted that David Humphreys and Niall Woods could decide to share goalkicking duties at Wembley tomorrow, with Humphreys taking the longrange shots. “Both David and Niall kicked today and they will kick a few balls again tomorrow,” Gatland told a news conference at London's Chelsea Harbour.

“They were both striking the ball nicely and they'll make the decision tomorrow. I don't know why so many people are making such a big thing of the goalkicking. I am happy to leave the decision to the players.”

The Irish team will be playing at Wembley for the first time and yesterday enjoyed an hour-and-aquarter run-out in front of the famous Twin Towers, where Woods and Humphreys carried out their marksmanship.

Lenihan said that lock forward Jeremy Davidson, who went to hospital yesterday for a precautionary scan on a troublesome thigh, would be fit to take his place in the team.

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