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Friday April 03, 2020

Frank Hogan, owner of famous John 3:7 sign, passes away

courtesy of RTE

Famous GAA supporter Frank Hogan has passed away after an illness

Frank Hogan, the owner of the famous John 3:7 sign and one of the most recognisable of GAA supporters, has passed away after an illness.

A committed Christian evangelist, Hogan’s John 3:7 sign was a fixture at GAA matches for over three decades, usually being held aloft on Hill 16 and other terraces around the country whenever a score was landed.

The distinctiveness of the sign on match-days made Hogan something of a celebrity among GAA fans, particularly hurling supporters.

The sign refers to a verse in the Gospel of John which reads – “Do not marvel that I said to you, you must be born again.”

He told the Irish Examiner in 2018 that he got the inspiration for the sign when watching the 1987 Wimbledon men’s final when Pat Cash beat Ivan Lendl.

As the victorious Australian climbed through the crowds to get to his family and supporters, Hogan saw a man holding a car number plate with the message John 3:16 and he decided to do likewise for hurling and Gaelic football.

He originally carried a John 3:16 sign to events but told the Limerick Leader he switched to John 3:7 following a Michael Jackson concert in Páirc Ui Chaoimh in 1988.

“People kept asking me at a Michael Jackson concert, touching my arm all the time and asking about it. It is a very long verse so I couldn’t get it out. That’s when someone showed me John 3:7,” he told reporter Peter Corbett.

Hogan was born in Tipperary but lived in Castletroy in Limerick for many years, becoming a supporter of Limerick GAA teams.

He has been absent from GAA grounds with illness in recent years and wasn’t present in Croke Park when Limerick ended their 45-year-wait for an All-Ireland title in 2018.

Bohs take bragging rights as they overcome Shels

courtesy of RTE

Danny Mandroiu celebrates his goal

Bohemians got their third win of the SSE Airtricity Premier Division season, defeating northside rivals Shelbourne 2-0 at Dalymount Park.

Second-half goals from Andre Wright and Danny Mandroiu put Keith Long’s side third in the table and in a healthy position in the early chase for Europe.

The match was yet another Dalymount Park sellout and Shelbourne’s third time playing in front of a full crowd in as many weeks.

While the match didn’t go Shelbourne’s way it was a positive contrast for both sides from the last Dalymount league meeting when 1,526 showed up in June 2013 to watch two teams battling against relegation.

Keith Long raised the Dalymount pitch as a concern prior to kick off after Storm Dennis’ effect during the season-opener against Shamrock Rovers.

His worries appeared to play out in his side’s early tactics too, as Bohs repeatedly opted to launch the ball long and high towards Wright.

Gary Deegan and Ryan Brennan in the Shels midfield showed their experience though, picking up loose ends and smothering the resulting runners.

Shels best chance of the half came after ten minutes when Karl Sheppard headed the ball onto the crossbar from a Dayle Rooney cross. The ball dropped back into the six-yard box but Oscar Brennan fouled Stephen McGuinness attempting to turn it in.

Finally, a Bohemians long ball did come good on 25 minutes when Keith Buckley lofted a pass onto Wright’s chest in the Shels box. The resulting shot, however, flew into the stand behind as Wright fell backward.

Lorcan Fitzgerald goes in on Kris Twardek
The game wasn’t long coming to life in the second half. Twardek threatened the Shels back four with a low cross that was turned out behind on 51 minutes.

Within five minutes of that early attack, Twardek was again central as Bohs got their first goal of the night. The Canadian was open at the back post to head across goal onto the diving forehead of Wright.

Mandroiu, who caused Shels fans so much misery here with two late goals in the sides’ FAI Cup meeting last year, returned to punish the travelling fans again with the second goal eight minutes later.

The Irish U21 international had a quiet night by his standards but popped up at the back of the box to collect a loose cross and loop it back into the far corner of McGuinness’ net. Danny Grant might yet claim a touch at the back post but Mandroiu took the plaudits on the night.

Shelbourne were stuck trying to get out of their territory for much of the second half. Ciaran Kilduff appealed for a handball in the box chasing a through ball with minutes to go, but appeals to Neil Doyle were waved away.

Glen McAuley should have given Bohs a third in the final minute but the substitute put his one-on-one effort into the side netting to the disappointment of the Dalymount crowd.

Defeats to Shamrock Rovers and Derry will have stung Bohs so early in the season but Keith Long will be hoping this win is a sign of things to come.

Bohemians: Stephen McGuinness; Andy Lyons, Dan Casey, Rob Cornwall, Paddy Kirk; Daniel Grant (Keith Ward 70), Conor Levingston, Keith Buckey, Kris Twardek; Daniel Mandroiu; Andre Wright (Glen McAuley 82).

Shelbourne: Jack Brady; Aidan Friel, Oscar Brennan, Daniel O’Reilly, Lorcan Fitzgerald; Dayle Rooney (Denzil Fernandes 83), Gary Deegan, Ryan Brennan (Georgie Poynton 67), Karl Sheppard; Aaron Dobbs (Shane Farrell 67), Ciaran Kilduff.

Munster and Connacht matches in Italy postponed

courtesy of RTE

Munster's trip to Italy has been postponed

Munster’s and Connacht’s upcoming Guinness Pro14 fixtures against Benetton and Zebre have been postponed due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in the northern part of the country.

The Italian government has now extended restrictions on sporting events until April 3 and the latest travel alerts from the Irish government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade advise against non-essential travel to certain regions of Italy, including Veneto and Emilia-Romagna.

The Pro14 has say they have “taken this action in order to protect the well-being of our participating clubs’ players, other staff and supporters, and provide some degree of certainty in an evolving situation” and adde that the the decision is fully supported by the board of Celtic Rugby DAC.

As none of the clubs are involved in EPCR competitions, PRO14 Rugby are aiming to reschedule the games on dates during the European weekends in April and May.

Discussions are still on-going regarding the rescheduling of the postponed fixtures of Zebre Rugby Club v Ospreys, and Benetton Rugby v Ulster Rugby.

Rovers rally to beat Dundalk in 5-goal thriller

courtesy of RTE

A stunning 83rd minute strike from Jack Byrne saw Shamrock Rovers draw first blood in their battle to prise the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title from Dundalk’s grasp in a pulsating game at Tallaght Stadium.

The Republic of Ireland international was inspirational as Stephen Bradley’s side came from 2-1 down with 27 minutes remaining to maintain their 100% start to the season and move three points clear at the top of the table.

While nothing will be decided after just four matches, particularly as these sides have still to meet three more times this season, victory in front of a record crowd for a league match at Tallaght Stadium of 7,522 is a significant psychological boost on the back of the Hoops’ FAI Cup final victory over the reigning league champions last November.

Despite Dylan Watts firing them in front on 20 minutes, this result looked unlikely when the visitors levelled with a stunning volley from Jordan Flores two minutes later before Patrick Hoban put his side in front on 63 minutes.

Rovers were not to be denied though. A Roberto Lopes header from Byrne’s corner had them level within eight minutes before Byrne stepped up himself to secure a huge three points in a game which was a fantastic advertisement for the domestic game.

Like a true heavyweight joust, the two sides began by feeling each other out in the opening minutes. It was Rovers who soon gained the upper hand, however, and they should have taken the lead on 17 minutes.

Watts’ ball down the right hand touchline saw Aaron Greene burst clear as Dundalk attempted to play the offside trap. He then cut in from the right with only Gary Rogers to beat but curled his left foot effort agonisingly to the left and wide.

The breakthrough did arrive three minutes later though.

Byrne released Ronan Finn down the right in behind Dane Massey with his cross picking out Watts at the near post. The former UCD player’s initial effort was blocked by Sean Hoare but the rebound came back to him and with Rogers committed to the initial effort he had the simple task of tapping in to an almost empty net.

The lead would last less than two minutes, however, as Flores levelled matters with a goal of the season contender on 22 minutes. Michael Duffy fizzed a corner into the box with the 24-year-old Englishman finding space at the back post before somehow getting his leg up to it before producing tremendous technique to volley high to the net past Alan Mannus.

That strike turned the tide in the game with Vinny Perth’s side largely on top for the remainder of the half. Indeed, they almost took the lead on 32 minutes when Cammy Smith twisted and turned in the box to get a shot away only to see it blocked on the line by Lee Grace.

Then a minute later Mannus was called into action to touch Duffy’s free kick over the bar.

Byrne, under the watchful eye of Mick McCarthy and his assistant Terry Connor, did have a chance from a free kick in stoppage time at the end of the half to restore Rovers’ lead but blazed over.

Greene then went closer with another free that flashed just over Rogers’ bar within two minutes of the restart before Aaron McEneff fizzed another just wide of the left hand post shortly after.

The bookings were beginning to build for Dundalk at this point with Chris Shields, Flores and Patrick Hoban all receiving yellow cards within six minutes as Rovers really piled on the pressure. The home side went close again on 54 minutes when a corner from Byrne picked out Neil Farrugia unmarked but the Irish U21 international could only glance his header to the right and wide

Dundalk then took the lead somewhat against the run of play on 63 minutes with substitute Daniel Kelly slipping Hoban in behind Lopes before the striker showed calmness personified to dink past the advancing Mannus.

Greene then had two big chances to level in quick succession. On 66 minutes it took a combination of Rogers and Boyle to prevent him from turning in substitute Rory Gaffney’s cross. He then went even closer three minutes later when he headed past Rogers only for Boyle to hack the ball off the line.

The equaliser did come on 71 minutes, however, with Lopes meeting Byrne’s corner to head home at the near post despite Rogers getting a hand to it.

Byrne then went close 10 minutes later when he cut in from the left onto his right foot before curling inches the wrong side of the top right hand corner.

He would find the net on 83 minutes however as he dealt the knock-out blow to Dundalk with a curling left foot shot from 25 yards that crashed to the bottom left hand corner.

Daniel Kelly did have a chance to level on 94 minutes but his header from Shields’ cross was kept out by Mannus as Rovers held on for a huge early season win.

Shamrock Rovers: Alan Mannus; Joey O’Brien (Liam Scales 13), Roberto Lopes, Lee Grace; Greg Bolger, Aaron McEneff; Ronan Finn, Dylan Watts (Rory Gaffney 64); Jack Byrne, Neil Farrugia; Aaron Greene. Subs not used: Leon Pohls, Danny Lafferty, Sean Callan, Dean Williams, Brandon Kavanagh.

Dundalk: Gary Rogers; Sean Gannon, Sean Hoare, Andy Boyle, Dane Massey; Chris Shields, Greg Sloggett (Georgie Kelly 85); Cammy Smith (Will Patching 77), Jordan Flores (Daniel Kelly 58), Michael Duffy; Patrick Hoban. Subs not used: Aaron McCarey, Brian Gartland, Daniel Cleary, Stefan Colovic.

Referee: Rob Hennessy (Limerick).


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