By Sean Creedon
Michael Carruth’s boxing career appears to be over. After losing to New Jersey-based Adrian Stone in London in the fifth round of his IBO title fight last Saturday, no promoter will touch the former Olympic champion.
"Carruth was a disgrace to the sport and he has cheated the public," Frank Moloney, the promoter of the London fight, said afterward. "I have asked the British Boxing Board of Control to lodge an official complaint with he Boxing Union of Ireland.”
After turning up for the weigh-in on Friday overweight, Carruth spent the next 24 hours trying to shed the eight pounds excess baggage and then fought himself drained.
Carruth was foolish to take the bout as he has little time to prepare, but he did so on the rebound when his proposed fight with Spanish Javier Castillejo fell through. But he is not retiring just yet.
"It had been 10 months since my last fight and I didn’t want to disappear back into the wilderness once again," Carruth said. "I’ll take a break, probably a holiday, before making any decision on my future.”
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NFL semis on tap
All four provinces will be represented when the Church & General National Football League semifinals are played on Easter Sunday (April 23). Kerry and Meath will meet in Thurles, while the game between Derry and Roscommon goes ahead in Clones. Semple Stadium, Thurles, may be the home of hurling, but the people of Tipperary get a rare
opportunity to see a big football game this weekend.
Meath, who beat Kerry at the quarterfinal stage last year, hope to have John McDermott back from injury. Roscommon have some reservations about traveling to
Clones, which they claim is like a home venue for Derry, but they are not objecting. Both Div. 2 semifinals will be played in Mullingar, where Laois meet Louth and Cavan play Offaly.
GPA signs Umbro deal
The Gaelic Players Association have signed their first major sponsorship deal, with sportswear company Umbro. The GPA don’t want to get into another row with the GAA and didn’t hold a Press Conference to announce the details. However, it’s expected the Umbro will produce a special glove which will be worn by GAA players. And the players who are members of the GPA will probably wear Umbro gear at every possible photographic opportunity.
Newcomers for Greece friendly
There are three uncapped players in the Irish squad for next Wednesday’s (April 26) friendly against Greece at Lansdowne Road.
Richard Dunne, Stephen McPhail of Leeds United and Fulham’s Steve Finnan are all likely to win their first caps as it’s expected that there will be several withdrawals because of the Easter weekend program in England.
It will the Republic’s first-ever senior international against Greece.
And it will be one of the last games for Opel Ireland managing director Arnold O’Byrne, who is retiring next month. Opel came on board as Irish sponsors when Jack Charlton was appointed in 1986 and it was a deal which was very beneficial to the car manufacturers and the FAI.
Meanwhile, Don Givens has named six Eircom League players in the squad for the Under 21 game against Greece in Newbridge on Tuesday, April 25.
Gear row heats up
The ongoing row between the Olympic Council of Ireland and the Athletics Association of Ireland will be debated at a meeting of the Summer Olympics Federation in Lausanne, Switzerland this week.
Last week in Dublin, Minister for Sport Jim McDaid held talks with both parties to try to end the deadlock. The OCI claim that all athletes in Sydney must wear Adidas, while the AAI have a deal with Asics.
Catherina McKiernan is reported to have signed a deal with Adidas and Sonia O’Sullivan and Mark Carroll may follow suit. Four years ago, Sonia had to make a last minute change of gear before running in Atlanta. Of all the countries competing in the Olympics, only Ireland and South Africa have gear problems.
Bobbyjo vs. Papillon
The winners of this year’s and last year’s Aintree Grand National are both entered in Monday’s Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.
Bobbyjo, a winner at Aintree in 1999, is a likely runner, but Papillon, who made it a double for Ireland two weeks ago, is unlikely to run. Two years ago, Bobbyjo just got the better of Papillon in the traditional Easter Monday meeting at the County Meath track.
Battle for 2nd place
The final games in the Eircom League will be played on Sunday.
With Shelbourne already crowned champions, the race is on for the runner-up spot. For a long time it looked like Bohemians were certain to be second, but Cork City have come with a late run. And they will want to give manager Dave Barry a good send off when they travel to play Derry City at the Brandywell on Sunday. At the bottom Drogheda United and Sligo Rovers seems set for Division 1 football next season. Meanwhile, Bray Wanderers and Longford Town seem certain to be promoted from Division 1.
Full rugby slate
The Irish rugby team will meet the U.S., Argentina and Canada this summer, before hosting South Africa and Japan at Lansdowne Road in the fall.
Best still ailing
Everybody is hoping that George Best will be out of hospital and able to attend the Belfast premiere of the film on his life story on May 1. The part of Best is played for actor John Lynch, who also starred in the "The Name of the Father."
South African cricketer Hansie Cronje, who was sacked by his home country last week over allegations of match-fixing during a recent tour of India, played for Ireland in 1997. He made three appearances as a guest player and helped Ireland to their first-ever victory over an English county side when they beat Middlesex.