By Sean Creedon
There was a big boost for the Republic of Ireland in the run-up to the re-arranged Euro 2000 game against Yugoslavia at Lansdowne Road on Sept. 1.
Manchester United have agreed to release both Roy Keane and Denis Irwin from their game against Newcastle United on Aug. 30. As that game now has a 1 p.m. kick-off, United would have been within their rights to play the two Corkmen and have them in Dublin by 7:30 p.m. on Monday night, which is the required 48 hours before kickoff. But Alex Ferguson has admitted in his recently published book that he has many happy memories of Dublin and Ireland and knowing how popular United are in Ireland he did the honorable thing and released the pair.
Meanwhile, Robbie Keane became the most expensive Irish player ever when he moved from Wolves to Coventry last week for £6 million. It’s a great move for the 19-year-old Dubliner who finally gets his chance to play in the Premiership.
Boylan in charge
Sean Boylan will take charge of his native Meath for the 67th time in championship football on Sunday, Aug. 29, when they meet Armagh in the second of the All-Ireland football semifinals at Croke Park. No surprise then to learn that the Dunboyne-based herbalist is the longest serving intercounty GAA manager. Boylan has been in charge of Meath since 1982, which coincidentally was also the last time that Armagh appeared in an All-Ireland semifinal. Seventeen years ago, Armagh were well beaten by Kerry as they strode to what many thought would be five in a row for The Kingdom, but Offaly and one Seamus Darby got in the way. I fancy Boylan to lead the Royals to yet another final.
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Meanwhile, despite their All-Ireland semifinal defeat by Kilkenny Clare manager Ger Loughnane is expected to stay on as manager of Clare. Loughnane is only one year into a new two-year contract is unlikely to quit. Also staying on is Padraig Horan, who will continue as Laois hurling manager. And Peter McGrath’s future as Down football manager will be discussed by the Mourne County Board later this month.
Sonia O’Sullivan, who recently gave birth to her first child, hopes to make her return to competitive running in the Great North half-marathon on Oct. 10. Six days later, the Cobh-born runner will compete in the revived Loughrea Run in Galway. The Loughrea Race is being revived after 21 years and will be sponsored by Bupa, who are also Sonia’s new sponsors. Sonia plans to return to Australia with her partner Nick Bideau in November and train there until April of next year.
De Bruin tester denied
Al Guy, who made the headlines earlier this year as part of the husband-and-wife team that carried out the controversial urine test on Michelle Smith de Bruin, lost out in his bid for a top job with the IAAF. Guy was beaten by six votes by Jorge Salcedo of Portugal for the prestigious position of chairman of the IAAF’s Technical Committee.
Also, at the IAAF’s meeting held in Seville before the World Athletics Championships, the world body confirmed that BLE are within their rights to nominate the type of gear that track and field athletes can wear. So it looks like there is no end in sight to the ongoing row between BLE and the Olympic Council of Ireland. BLE say their athletes will wear Asics, while the OCI insist that they have the backing of the International Olympic Committee that all Irish athletes must wear Adidas.
Belfast’s Wayne McCullough hopes to relaunch his boxing career against Mike Juarez in Las Vegas on Monday, (Aug. 30. The Pocket Rocket has fully recovered from the back injury that forced his withdrawal from a shot at WBC Super-Bantamweight champion Erick Morales earlier this year.
Meanwhile, the Irish Amateur Boxing Association have finally moved with the times and now have an internet site located at: www.local.ie. They are listed in Sports and Leisure section under Combat Sports.
Chip off the ol’ block
It seems that goalkeeping is running in the Jennings family. Pat Jennings Jr., son of the former Northern Ireland international, was the sub goalkeeper for the Northern Ireland under 21 team, who beat France 3-1 in Belfast last week.
Jennings Sr. was in goal the last time an All-Ireland team played a football game. That was under the guise of a Shamrock Rovers XI, who played Brazil at Lansdowne Road in July 1973. Next Wednesday, Sept. 1, a united Ireland team will appear for the first time in a professional tournament at the Masters Home International in Manchester. Former stars John Aldridge and Ray Houghton have confirmed that they will play in the six a-side tournament which will be screened live on Sky Sports.
Not good enough
Good enough for the GAA’s Team of the Millennium, but not rated in the best Kerry team over the last 50 years. That’s the fate of former Kerry right half-back Sean Murphy. Murphy was named at right half-back in the GAA’s Team of the Millennium a few weeks back. Meanwhile, in Kerry they had two teams to select, 1900 to 1949 and 1959 to 1999. Murphy would have qualified for the latter section, but the No. 5 jersey went to Paidi O Se.
Another strange omission was Mick O’Dwyer, who was nominated for left half back. He was beaten by current star Seamus Moynihan, who plays most of his football at center-half back. O’Dwyer was also a great forward, but a player could only be nominated for one position.
The Kerry team from 1950 to 1999 was as follows: Charlie Nelligan, Jimmy Deenihan, John O’Keeffe, Donie O’Sullivan, Paidi O Se, Tim Kennelly, Seamus Moynihan, Mick O’Connell, Jack O’Shea, Ger Power, Ogie Moran, Pat Spillane, Mickey Sheehy, Eoin Liston and Maurice Fitzgerald.