By Sean Creedon
Irish Youths team manager Brian Kerr has gone Dutch in an effort to win more trophies for his successful underage teams. Kerr has named Wesdie Abdelaziz in his squad for the Meridian Cup tournament, which gets under way in South Africa this week. Abdelaziz’s father is Tunisian, but his mother is from Dublin. They now live near Amsterdam, where she runs a bed and breakfast. A Dubliner staying in the B and B "discovered" the young star, who is on the books of Dutch club FC Haarlem. He came to Dublin at Christmas, had a trial, and Kerr has now included him in the squad who play their opening game against South Africa on Thursday, Jan. 28. The Republic’s other games in the competition are against Spain on Jan. 30 and Egypt on Feb. 1.
GAA millennium project
The GAA has announced details of its major millennium project, the establishment of a Hall of Fame and the announcement of teams of the millennium in hurling and football. An Post will issue commemorative stamps to mark the football team, which will be selected this year and the hurling team in the year 2000. Selecting a team is difficult at any time, but when it’s a team of the millennium then there’s going to be some debate.
In 1984, the GAA, in conjunction with the Sunday Independent, selected their teams of the century in hurling and football. There were no great shocks 15 years ago and the only real stars to emerge since then have been D.J. Carey and Maurice Fitzgerald. Nominations for the football team are already being made by a panel that includes journalists, former players, referees and former GAA presidents. It’s expected that the football team will be named in the summer. The winners will be honored with portraits in the new GAA Museum in Croke Park and surviving members will be entitled to two free All-Ireland tickets for the remainder of their lives.
Leinster, Round 3
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Kilmacud Crokes, from Dublin, and Eire Og, from Carlow, will meet for the third time on Sunday, Jan. 31, to try to decide who are the Leinster club champions. Before Christmas the clubs played draws at Newbridge and Tullamore. The Dublin side were club champions in 1995, while the Carlow champions were runners-up in 1993 and 1996. The winners will meet Ulster champions Crossmaglen Rangers in the semifinal. While the other semifinal pairing is Doonbeg of Clare against Ballina Stephenites.
Meanwhile, Crokes recently beat Dublin rivals Thomas Davis in a vital League game and sent them down to Div. 2 of the Dublin League for the first time. The Tallaght club, who lost the 1992 final to Dr. Crokes from Kerry, have spent a record 23 years in the top flight. They are now managed by former Dublin star Dave Foran, but with Paul Curran rejoining the club from Kilmacud, they could be back in Div. 1 next season.
In with the new?
Dublin football manager Tommy Carr is giving the young players a chance to impress, but he has not ruled out some of the old-timers for the championship. Players like Keith Barr, Paul Bealin and Paddy Moran must be worried about their future, but Carr, who played alongside all three, refused to rule them out of his future plans. However, Mick Deegan has admitted that it’s unlikely that he can win back his place. Deegan continues to play Soccer for Irish League side, Crusaders.
Cork’s Corkery in training
Good and bad news for Cork football supporters. Ace free taker Colin Corkery is back in serious training and hopes to be fit to resume in March. Last year, Corkery failed to make the Cork panel because of his recurring weight problem, but he is now welcomed back by manager Larry Tompkins.
But dual star Brian Corcoran says he is going to concentrate on hurling this year. Corcoran, who had a poor game in the Munster football semi-final against Kerry last year, admits that he should not have played football considering that he had done so little ball work last year.
Flannery to captain Waterford
Tipperary-born Brian Flannery will captain Waterford this year. Flannery, who has been working and playing in Waterford for the last few years, will also captain Mount Sion in their bid to retain the county championship, which they won for a record 30th time last year. Waterford also welcome back Johnny Brenner, one of the stars of the Decies All-Ireland under 21 win in 1992. He has been in Australia for the past few years.
But there could be a lay-off for Tony Browne, who was recently voted Supreme Sports Star of County Waterford for 1998. He may have to undergo surgery to remedy a nagging knee injury. Browne, who is currently on holiday in the Canaries with the Waterford squad, admits that he still has not shaken off a knee injury picked up in the Munster final replay last year and that an operation may be necessary.
Meanwhile, John Power, who was out of favor last year, is recalled to the Kilkenny squad by new manager Brian Coady. Martin Carey, a brother of D.J. is one of two goalkeepers named in the squad for the League and Championship campaign.
In Ulster, Seamus Elliott is the new Antrim manager. The Dunloy man replaces Sean McGuinness.