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With new promoter, McCullough hopes for Britain ring return

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Sean Creedon

Wayne McCullough is hoping that his long battle to get a boxing license from the British Boxing Board of Control will pay off now that he has linked with English promoter Frank Warren.

For the last year and a half, the “Pocket Rocket” has been frustrated by the BBBC, but the feeling now is that the

influential Warren will be able to get the Belfast man a license once again.

The BBC has refused to grant McCullough a license after an anomaly was discovered on his brain scan prior to a fight in October 2000. McCullough has maintained that that independent experts have said that it poses no risk to his health.

Bohs eye Cup

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Bohemians, who won the League-Cup double last season, have no hope of a repeat performance this season. But The Gypsies can still win the FAI Cup in successive seasons for the first time in the club’s history when they play Dundalk in this year’s final on Sunday at Tolka Park.

It will the first of two Cup finals this year, as we will have another FAI Cup final in October as part of the 2002 summer season.

Bohs have been transformed since Stephen Kenny took over as manager of the club just before Christmas. Under Pete Mahon, Bohs looked liked they could be relegated and they were certainly on a downward slope following the departure of double-winning manager Roddy Collins to Carlisle. But under the 30-year-old Kenny, the youngest manager in the League, Bohemians have been a revelation and it proves once again that managers are important.

Last season, Kenny was in the losers dressing room with Longford Town as they went down to Bohs. This time around it should be a winners medal for young Dubliner.

Dundalk comprise players who have had better days at other clubs. But they are still a useful side as they showed when hammering Shamrock Rovers 4-0 in the semifinal.

Bohs and Dundalk were involved in the highest-scoring final in Cup history in 1935 when Bohs won 4-3. However, many years later it was revealed that two of the Dundalk players were “bangers,” having played for Glenavon in Irish League the previous day and played under assumed names for Dundalk on Sunday.

This has been a crazy season regarding registration of players in the Eircom League, but I don’t think any of Sunday’s finalists will try and play a banger. I go for Bohs to take the Cup for the seventh time.

Cavan go corporate

The Cavan County Board has made history by becoming the first county in Ireland to have their county ground named after a sponsor. For the next 10 years, Breffni Park will be officially known as Kingspan Breffni Park. The Kingspan name has been carried on the Cavan jerseys for the last eight years.

County Board PRO Barney Cully said it was an offer they couldn’t refuse and that the funds (euro 400,000) would be used to develop land next door to the ground as training pitches for county teams.

“It’s a major coup for us and is the first deal of its kind,” he said. “It could well be the forerunner of things to come, particularly for counties who are strapped for cash.”

Hockey for Dublin?

Superleague Ice Hockey is expected to come to Dublin in time for the 2005-06 season. A venue has not been confirmed. Up to recently, Ireland had small ice rinks in Phibsboro and Dolphin’s Barn, but right now the capital city doesn’t have a rink. However, venues like The Point or Simmonscourt in the RDS could be converted into an ice rink. Or how about the infamous Bertie Bowl?

The Superleague already has a successful franchise in Belfast, as well as teams in London, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham, Ayr and Bracknell.

FAI: no family freebies

The FAI general secretary, Brendan Menton, says the FAI cannot afford to bring the players’ wives and partners to the World Cup in Japan.

“We have been given 50 complimentary tickets by FIFA for each of our games,” he said. “What we will do is pick up immediate family members in a special coach on match days, bring them to the match and look after them there. They will then be welcome to join the players for the after-match meal at our expense.”

There had been some scare stories last week that the FAI were not able to

match the English FA, who are bringing their players’ wives and partners on a

week’s holiday prior to the start of the competition.

Irish manager Mick McCarthy has no complaints. “As soon as we qualified, I booked flights and hotels for my wife and our three children,” he said. “That’s the way it should be.”

The general perception in Ireland is that the players are paid enough to be able to afford to bring out their partners if they want to. Many supporters, who earn a lot less money than the players, are going to Japan at their own expense.

French hat trick?

Even if Ireland beat France in Paris on Saturday, we are unlikely to win the Six Nations Championship. England should win the championship on points difference as they face a much easier task, against Italy in Rome. However, Ireland can still end the season on a high with back-to-back wins in the French capital.

Ireland’s 27-25 victory in Paris two years ago was the first there in 30 years and, of course, Ireland also beat The French at Lansdowne Road in February

2001, so we really we are going for a hat trick of wins against the flamboyant French.

Williams staying put

Australian-born coach Matt Williams is staying with Leinster for another three years. The Aussie was offered a lucrative contract to join English club Saracens but opted to stay with Leinster. If Williams wanted more money he would have moved to England, but he said there were other factors.

“You’re talking about changing countries,” the 43-year-old coach said. “I’ve done that once before and you have got to look at the impact that has on your family. I’ve got a wife and three young children to think about. And, thankfully, all the Leinster players encouraged me to stay, so that was reassuring.”

Foley goes to QPR

Dominic Foley, who has slipped down Mick McCarthy’s pecking order, changed clubs last Thursday, the last day for transfers in England. Foley, who won the last of his six caps against Finland in November 2000, left Watford for second division Queens Park Rangers.

Meanwhile, under 21 international Michael Reddy joined Barnsley from Sunderland, Damien Delaney moved from Huddersfield to Leicester and Gareth Whalley returned to former club Crewe from Bradford.

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