GAA Football

In The Irish News - Nov 1 1997: Cavan shocked as new boss Mattie Kerrigan quits

Darren Clarke was aiming to finish top of the European Order of Merit back in 1997.

MATTIE Kerrigan shocked Cavan last night by quitting the post of team boss. Kerrigan was only ratified as successor to Martin McHugh at a special board meeting last weekend, but announced his decision to quit yesterday.

The former Meath star cited personal reasons for his surprise turnaround. He was due to meet the players for the first time at training in Breffni Park last night, before assuming control for the National League game against Ulster rivals Monaghan tomorrow.

The Cavan county board had turned to Kerrigan after ex-Donegal star McHugh had chosen to relinquish the reins following the All-Ireland semi-final defeat at the hands of Kerry in August.

Kerrigan had a stint as Westmeath boss prior to current manager Barney Rock, and also took charge of the Leinster Railway Cup side in recent years.

In a statement released last night, Cavan county chairman Brendan Keaney said: "It is with regret that I announce that Mattie Kerrigan is unable to take up his appointment as Cavan team manager due to personal reasons.

"I would hope that everyone will respect his decision. The search for a Cavan team manager will commence immediately."

Selectors Michael Reilly and Donal O'Donohue will remain in charge for Cavan's NFL clash with Monaghan tomorrow. The move is a significant blow to the reigning Ulster champions, who had deliberated for some time before plumping for Kerrigan.


Darren Clarke boosted his chances of finishing top of this year's European Order of Merit in Jerez yesterday as rival Colin Montgomerie faltered during the Volvo Masters yesterday.

Dungannon man Clarke, who has to win to have a chance of making up his £146,238 deficit, moved into a share of third place with a best-of-the-day 64.

For Clarke to become No 1 at Montecastillo tomorrow, Montgomerie has to finish lower than ninth and Bernhard Langer lower than second. That seemed a far-fetched result after an opening 69 left the 29-year-old from Dungannon only 21st. But now it is on again.

"It's only the second round, but it's going to be a very interesting weekend," he said. "I can't affect how the others play – my simple goal coming here was to try to win because I haven't done it this year."

Clarke was runner-up in both the Volvo PGA championship and the Open at Troon, where he lost a four-shot lead over the closing 27 holes.

"The biggest lesson of that was probably patience. Despite playing as poorly as I did over those holes I still ground out the scores. Patience, I think, is the biggest difference in me this season."


DENIS Irwin celebrated his 32nd birthday yesterday with an extension to his Manchester United contract. Irwin, who has been at Old Trafford since 1990, will stay until 1999.

The penalty hero against Feyenoord in the Champions' League, said: "The club is full of quality full-backs – 32 has sneaked up on me. "But I feel as fit as ever. I'm delighted the club has extended my deal by another year.

"There are no guarantees at United but I'm not one who'd be happy on the sidelines. I want to play and I believe I can still be there in the new millennium."


MEETINGS between Donegal and Derry always generate a fair bit of interest and tomorrow should be no different, even if the latest contest does come in what has invariably been described as a meaningless league.

Games between the north-west rivals are fiercely competitive. No matter whether they come in the form of challenge games at pitch opening celebrations, National League, or Ulster championship clashes, winning is paramount.

Declan Bonner's first game in charge of his county two weeks ago resulted in a narrow squeak past Longford, and no one could have blamed him for hoping for an easier first home game tomorrow than against their old rivals.

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