Friday 26 December 2014

In Brief: Bolt eyes move to cricket or soccer

Published 21/11/2012 | 05:00

Usain Bolt may consider switching to cricket or soccer after the 2016 Olympics, according to his agent Ricky Simms. Bolt, who grew up in cricket-mad Jamaica, was sounded out by Melbourne Stars captain Shane Warne last month.

The 26-year-old, who describes himself as an all-rounder, has appeared in charity cricket matches and famously clean bowled then-West Indies captain Chris Gayle in 2009.

His first love, however, is football. He was a special guest of Manchester United at the 2011 Champions League final in London and spoke recently of his desire to play professionally.

GOLF

Peter O'Keeffe has been handed a last minute call-up for the final stage of the European Tour's Qualifying School in Catalonia.

The Corkman (31) was devastated to lose out in a four-man play-off for the last qualifying spot at his stage-two qualifier in Murcia just over a week ago. He ended up as ninth alternate for the gruelling six-round battle for just 25 cards which begins at the PGA Catalunya Resort near Girona on Saturday.

However, the withdrawal of Swede Niklas Lemke, who has opted to play in the PGA Tour Q-School finals instead, has given the Muskerry assistant a second chance alongside Waterville's David Higgins, Newcastle's Simon Thornton, Dubliner Niall Kearney, Lurgan's Gareth Shaw and Ballymena's Chris Devlin.

BOXING

OLYMPIC GAMES silver medallist John Joe Nevin and European champion Joe Ward will make their eagerly anticipated debuts in the World Series of Boxing (WSB) on Friday night when the British Lionhearts host defending champions Italia Thunder in a top-of-the-table Group B clash at the Celtic Manor in Cardiff.

Nevin faces Serbia's Branimir Stankovic in the 61kg class, while Ward takes on Hungary's Imre Szello at 85kg.

Nevin beat Stankovic on a split decision when he was boxing for Paris United in the WSB last season, while the Ward-Szello duel will be a repeat of the 2011 European elite semi-final, which Ward won 18-8 en route to gold in Turkey.

CRICKET

Ireland will play an Australia 'A' side in a four-day contest next summer, with the fixture pencilled in for June 14-17.

The game has been arranged to give the Australians match practice ahead of the Ashes campaign, with their side expected to feature many of the Test stars not involved in the ICC Champions Trophy.

CYCLING

Philip Deignan has been offered a one-year contract extension by American professional team United Healthcare, who have recruited Ards track star Martyn Irvine for next year.

Deignan became the first Irish rider to win a Grand Tour stage in almost two decades when he took victory ahead of Roman Kreuziger on stage 18 of the Vuelta a Espana in 2009 but he has since drifted out of the public eye due to illness and injury.

Irish Independent

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