By Mark Jones
DUBLIN — Kilkenny’s Emily Maher continued her impressive progress when she smashed the Irish senior 200 meters record on her way to victory in the Scottish Junior Indoor championships in Glasgow.
The highly promising teenager clocked an excellent 24.15 to take the title after earlier winning the 60 meters in 7.49. Maher won two gold medals at the World Youth Olympics in Moscow last summer.
Meanwhile, there were silver medals for David Matthews and Gareth Turnbull at the English Indoor championships in Birmingham. Matthews was second in the 800 meters in a slow time of 1:51.65, while Turnbull clocked 3.44 in the 1500.
Hoddle on the spot
England soccer coach Glenn Hoddle is at the center of a storm following his suggestion that people born with disabilities were being punished for the sins of a former life.
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Calls are increasing for Hoddle to resign after his insulting comments in a newspaper interview. Questioned about his belief in reincarnation, the 41-year-old said, "You and I have been physically given two hands and two legs and a half decent brain. Some people have not been born like that for a reason. The karma is working from another lifetime. . . . What you sow you have to reap."
Even though Hoddle has claimed that the thrust of the interview had been "turned completely on its head," it later emerged that he had made the same suggestions to the media earlier in his career as England manager.
A born-again Christian, Hoddle’s use of a faith healer during England’s World Cup campaign in France last summer also generated controversy. Former soccer star George Best said Hoddle shouldn’t resign, he should be sacked, while Britain’s minister with responsibility for disabled people, Margaret Hodge, said it would be "inappropriate" for Hoddle to keep his job.
St. Pat’s stay strong
Reigning champions St. Patrick’s Athletic continued their push for another title with a 3-0 victory over Shamrock Rovers in Ireland’s National Soccer League last week. St. Pat’s latest success moved them four points clear of Cork City at the top of the table. Cork could only draw 3-3 with Shelbourne at Tolka Park.
Denny N.D. prevail
Denny Notre Dame became the first basketball club to win three Irish National Cups in a row when they edged out Blue Demons, 62-61, in a dramatic final in Dublin. It was a frustrating end for revitalized Demons and their American sharpshooter, Dion Wingfield, who finished with 34 points, as they ran out of steam in the last quarter.
There was even more tension in the women’s decider, where Tolka Rovers upset the hot favorites, Wildcats of Waterford, to edge home by 59-58.