By Sean Creedon
Shelbourne will be bidding for a hat trick of FAI Cup Final wins when they meet Cork City in this year’s final at Dalymount Park, Dublin on Sunday.
Shels have taken over from Dublin rivals Shamrock Rovers as the Cup experts. The Reds have dominated the Cup in the ’90s, having won the Cup only three times before 1993. Since then they have taken the Cup in ’96, when they beat Derry City. This year, they have earned a final place the hard way, needing replays in their quarterfinal win over Pat’s and in the semifinal, where they had a controversial win over Finn Harps.
Cork City, who were formed in 1984, have never won the Cup. This will be their third final, having gone down to Derry City in 1989 after a replay and to Bohemians in 1992. However, they are a relatively new team and Cork clubs had a great Cup tradition. It’s 25 years since a Cork club won the Cup. That was in 1973, when Cork Hibernians beat Shelbourne after a replay. So maybe a good omen there?
McKIERNAN FOR BERLIN While her ultimate target is a gold medal at the Sydney Olympics in the two years time, Catherina McKiernan is likely to return to Berlin next September for her next marathon race. It was in the German City last September that the Cavan runner ran the marathon for the first time. This time round she will be bidding to break the world record of 2.20.47 held by Tecla Laroupe. Berlin is a much faster course than London, with fewer twists and turns.
TIPP V. LIMERICK The All-Ireland football championship campaign switches to Munster this week with the meeting of Limerick and Tipperary at the Limerick Gaelic Grounds. Tipp, with hurling goalkeeper Brendan Cummins playing outfield, gave All-Ireland champions Kerry a good run for their money last year. And they should progress to meet Waterford in the next round.
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Meanwhile, it now looks very much like former Dublin star Vinny Murphy will be on the Kerry squad for this season’s Munster championship. Murphy, now living and working in Tralee and playing for the Kerins O’Rahilly club, impressed in a recent challenge game in Killarney and could be the man to solve Kerry’s full-forward problems.
LIMERICK EYE PROMOTION Good news for the Limerick soccer club, who have got a chance of promotion to the Premier Division if they can beat either Derry City or UCD in a playoff. Manager Dave Connell has agreed to stay on for another season.
Meanwhile, Cobh Ramblers, who missed out on promotion, have lost manager Ian Butterworth. He is returning to England after just three months in charge of the Cork club.
DRY TIME Minister for Sport Jim McDaid recently announced grants of L3.6 million for various Irish sporting organizations. There is no money, at least for the present, for the Irish Amateur Swimming Association and the Irish Schools Swimming Association. Their position will be reviewed when the Murphy report into sexual abuse in swimming is published.
CORK SPORTS PUB Cork football manager Larry Tompkins has opened a new pub in Cork. Sally’s on Lavitt’s Quay will be Leeside’s first all-sports pub. Larry was previously manager of his own pub across the road from Cork Railway Station.
NO DEAL FOR ROCHE Stephen Roche, the only Irishman to win the Tour de France, has not secured a job working for the Irish promoters of “Le Tour,” which starts in Dublin this year. Roche and the Irish promoters failed to agree TO terms. Roche, who in the past has worked as a television analyst for Euro Sport, will probably concentrate on television work again this year.
RUGBY TOUR IN DOUBT Paddy Johns will captain the Irish team for their tour of South Africa next month. However, there is still a doubt about the tour and unless the South African Rugby Board resign by May 7, the National Sport Council of South Africa will call off the tour.
RAIN, RAIN GO AWAY Heavy rain spoiled the reopening of the Punchestown Racecourse last week. Over _9 million has been spenT on a complete revamp of the County Kildare track.