COMPETITION heads under cover at the weekend to start the month-long 'winter stop', yet many clubs are ignoring the invitation to play on the boards, WRITES david medcalf.
Just two Ulster teams – Cookstown and NICS – have signed up with the IHA for the men's National Indoor Trophy, which tips off at the weekend in Gormanstown and Queen's University.
Belfast club Mossley originally indicated an interest, but they have withdrawn at the last minute, leaving just 12 clubs in the mix. There is no sign at all of Munster or Connacht in a schedule dominated by Dublin teams, including reigning champions Three Rock Rovers.
The 27-year-old Dubliner came home in 59.69, over a second faster than his time at European Championships last month and just 0.18 of a second off his Irish record, setting him up for the 50m breaststroke at the weekend.
Murphy has withdrawn from the 50m freestyle today to concentrate on the 50m butterfly tomorrow and then the 50m breaststroke.
Ward, who is signed with the British Lionhearts, was due to meet the German Eagles' light-heavyweight at Earl's Court in the five-bout Group B match. The European champion will now face Germany's Satula Abduai instead.
David Oliver Joyce will line out for the Eagles against England's Sam Maxwell.
Elsewhere in the WSB, Sean Turner lines out for the USA Knockouts versus the Ukraine tomorrow and Conrad Cummings fights for Mexico Guerreros versus Azerbaijan on Saturday.
GARY O'SULLIVAN'S WBO International title defence has been shelved after the Cork middleweight suffered a rib injury in sparring. O'Sullivan was due to defend his WBO International middleweight crown against Zimbabwean puncher Farai Musiyiwa on Saturday's 'Rebel Rising' show at the Neptune Stadium in Cork.