Issue 2 - 2024 200dpi

30 July 1998 Edition

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Sportsview: Kerrific victory in Cyprus

Following on from the under-16 success 12 weeks ago Brian Kerr's Midas touch blossomed again in Larnaca, Cyprus, as the Irish lads took the European U-18 championships by beating the Germans.

Ireland had a nightmare start to the game when Germany were rampant in the first half, missing a bagful of channces. But the Irish lads were much improved in the second half and Alan Quinn's goal sent them in front. But germany are germany, whatever the level and their last gasp equaliser sent many an Irish fan into cardiac arrest.

There was no golden goal and a nerve wracking penalty shoot-out ensued. As winning penalty scorer Liam George commented: ``I was just thinking that the whole Irish nation is watching me, they're depending on me to score this and I have to put this away. Nah, seriously, I wasn't thinking that at all, I just put the ball down on the spot and stroked the ball home.''

A sign of the shape of Irish teams to come was evident in the inclusion of Ger Crossley from Belfast. Crossley played underage football for the Six Counties team, before switching to the South for the under-18 championship. A sign that the Six Counties entity has no longer a future.


In Croke Park the All-Ireland hurling `Quarter finals' do not quite have the same feel or championship fervour about them as the Munster or Leinster finals.

A lack-lustre one-sided affair between Offaly and Antrim was the first up. Antrim were absolutely crap! There is no other way of saying it. Until they can find a professional approach to their training and preparation they are going nowhere. And excuses about Drumcree disturbances just don't wash.

Waterford continued on their way by despatching Galway, who failed to live up to expectations. Waterford's spirit proved unbroken by their defeat by clare in the Munster Final. A new format has to devised by the GAA to do away with these `quarter finals'. One solution would be to play the Leinster and Munster championships on a league basis, the top two finishers contesting the provincial final. The Connacht and Ulster `championship could be combined, played in the same way. The losers in the Munster and Leinster finals would then play each other for the right to the fourth place in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Rangers Riot

Football's European qualifying tie between Glasgow Rangers and Dublin side Shelbourne in Liverpool last Wednesday night 22 July was the scene for a savage outburst of sectarian hatred. The match had been moved from Dublin to the Tranmere venue specifically to avoid such a situation.

The few hundred Shelbourne fans who had travelled from Ireland for the match were met by a 5,000 strong Rangers mob. The mob, many of whom had been drinking since that morning, gathered in large numbers outside the ground before the kick-off singing: ``We are the Billy boys, up to our necks in fenian blood.'' A number of bricks and bottles were thrown at coaches carrying Shelbourne fans to the ground.

Over 100 police officers in riot gear, and a mounted division, were hastily brought in to deal with the trouble. Many Shelbourne supporters were terrified by the a sight of this baying mob with UVF tattoos and wearing Orange scarves hurling abuse at them. Two women fans were in tears as they tried to get into the ground via the executive entrance.

Minutes before the match began the Rangers hordes were singing `Rule Britannia' and `No Surrender To The IRA' across the terraces at the Irish supporters and a large UVF flag was unfurled.

At half time the Dublin band B*witched's song `C'Est la Vie' was played across the tannoy to be met with a chorus of ``Fenian bitches'' from the Rangers terraces.

After the match police superintendent, Paul Forrester, who had been present throughout the evening, denied that there was ``anything sectarian'' in the trouble. However he confirmed that an ambush of Shelbourne fans had been avoided when his officers uncovered a stash of bricks and bottles outside the ground earlier in the day.

In the game itself Shelbourne distinguished themselves by going 3-0 up, only to be blitzed in a 13-minute spell in the second half and losing 5-3. St Pat's also did Irish soccer proud by holding Celtic to a 0-0 draw at Parkhead.

The second legs are about to start as we go to press.


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