By Sean Creedon
Croke Park is to have a countdown clock installed for the Ladies Football All-Ireland final on Oct. 4. And no, it’s not as a result of the recent fiasco in the All-Ireland hurling semifinal between Offaly and Clare, but comes following a decision made earlier this year by the Ladies Gaelic Football Association.
Last year’s women’s final between Monaghan and Waterford will be remembered for the 10 minutes of injury time played by the referee. So earlier this year the women mooted the idea of a clock, and following hurling semifinal referee Jimmy Cooney’s error, the sponsors, the Bank of Ireland, backed the idea.
The clock will be installed at the Canal End of the stadium and will count down the 30 minutes of each half. A hooter will signal the end of the game. It will not be the first time a countdown clock will be used for a Gaelic football game in Croke Park.
A clock designed by Maurice Bogue from Drogheda was used for the semifinal and finals for the Railway Cup in 1951. However, a Laois motion to have the clock introduced for all championship games was defeated at that year’s GAA annual Congress.
Fight night in Dublin
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Dublin has been described by boxing promoters as the "graveyard of professional boxing." Still Dublin-born millionaire Syl McClean is willing to try again and he will promote his first professional show in his hometown on Saturday night, Sept. 19.
In the past, the National Stadium, Dalymount Park, Croke Park and the Point Theatre have been used for professional boxing shows. Now McClean will put on his show at the National Basketball arena in Tallaght in South Dublin. Among the Irish boxers taking part will be former Olympic champion Michael Carruth and European champion Paul Griffin.
The FAI have run into problems for the final Euro 2000 qualifying game against Macedonia, which is due to be played at Lansdowne Road on Oct. 10 next year.
A Rugby World Cup which could involve Ireland is due to be played at Lansdowne Road on that date and the FAI are now talking to Macedonia about an alternative date, probably February next year. However, February is also one of the dates suggested for the Peace International between The Republic and Northern Ireland.
Meanwhile, Mick McCarthy will travel to Brasilia on Wednesday, Sept. 23, to see Yugoslavia play a friendly against Brazil. Yugoslavia are The Republic’s next Euro 2000 opponents, on Oct. 9.
New Zealand links
Padraig Harrington and Paul McGinley will travel to New Zealand to defend their World Cup of golf title in November. At least five of the top 10 players in Europe will play in the event at the new Gulf Harbour Country Club, north of Wellington, starting on Nov. 19.
Boylan stays with Meath
Sean Boylan has been confirmed as Meath senior football manager for another year. It will be his 17th consecutive season in charge of the Royals.
As expected, Brian Mullins has stepped down as manager of the Derry senior footballers. The former Dublin star won the National League and one Ulster title in his three years in charge.
Carlow native Cyril Hughes returns from Wexford to take charge of his own county football team. But Carlow have lost their hurling manager. Kilkenny Shamrocks man Brendan Fennelly has quit, citing work reasons, but apparently he was not happy with the attitude of some of his senior players.
Meanwhile, Corkman Billy Morgan is tipped to be the new manager of the Wicklow senior footballers. And another former Cork star Niall Cahalane has turned down an offer to become Clare football manager.
Frentzen joins Hill
Heinz Haraid Frentzen has been confirmed as Damon Hill’s new partner at Benson & Hedges Jordan Honda for next year after Eddie Jordan agreed to let Ralf Schumacher go.
"This is without doubt our strongest-ever driving pairing, and while we still have plenty to achieve in 1998, I’m already looking forward to 1999," said Jordan, whose team have picked up some valuable points recently.
Jordan has also parted company with Gary Anderson, who has been his team’s technical director since its inception in 1990. Anderson, from Coleraine, is expected to join the Arrows team.
2 women’s team fold
Bad times for women’s Basketball in Ireland. Just weeks before the start of the ESB Superleague, two teams have withdrawn. Lee Strand, Tralee, have pulled out just a week after Naomh Mhuire, Dublin. Two years ago, the Irish Basketball Association had 14 teams in the women’s league, now they are down to five.
The IRFU have appointed Eddie Wigglesworth as director of rugby development in succession to Ray Southam. Wigglesworth has been chief executive of the Leinster branch for the past four years.
Irish vs. Aussies
Coca Cola will sponsor the two football games between Ireland and Australia under compromise rules at Croke Park next month. Manager Colm O’Rourke will name his squad after the All-Ireland football final.
Westmeath ref quits
Westmeath referee Pat Casserley has announced his retirement from intercounty refereeing after he failed to get the appointment for the All-Ireland football final. The job has gone to Longford’s John Bannon.