In brief: Elwood demands more of Connacht
NEW Connacht coach Eric Elwood has demanded a big response from his men after their 40-7 hammering by Harlequins in their opening preseason game at the weekend.
Connacht will host Saracens on Saturday in their second and final pre-season match and Elwood wants a response after seeing his side go down by six tries to one in his first game in charge.
The defeat was exacerbated by a hip injury that forced skipper Johnny O’Connor to go off after just 15 minutes, which leaves him doubtful for the opening game of the Magners League against Newport Gwent Dragons on Saturday fortnight.
“It’s a disappointing result, to concede six tries at home, and our focus now is to rectify some of the areas that were highlighted,” Elwood said. “We have to generate fast goforward ball and work on our defence as well. That’s not how Connacht teams defend.”
THE Irish men’s hockey team is set mentally and physically to take a step up in class to meet the touring Malaysia team after a weekend training session in Dublin.
Coach Paul Revington called in a sports psychologist to meet his players, rated 19th in the world in advance of their four-match series with their 10th-ranked visitors, which starts on Wednesday.
The positive mental attitude was reinforced by the return of first-choice goalkeeper David Harte to training after an injury lay-off that ruled him out of early summer action in the successful defence of the Celtic Trophy.
The home side will be without the services of experienced Cork duo John Jermyn and David Hobbs – they have been rested.
IRELAND’S John Morrissey yesterday clinched a second-round place in the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore. The world U-18 No 30 disposed of Ecuador’s 139-ranked Diego Acosta 7-5 6-1 in the hard-court event. The 17- year-old Dubliner faces a stiff challenge today against Peru’s world No 4 Duilio Beretta.
In squash, Madeline Perry became the first Irish woman to win the Australian Open when she beat England’s Alison Waters 11-5 12-10 6-11 4-11 13-11 in yesterday’s thrilling fivegame final of the $56,000 WISPA World Tour squash event in Canberra.
WATERFORD driver Craig Breen qualified for the Global Shootout of the FIA Pirelli Star Driver Award by finishing second in the Northern European event at the Snapphane Rally in Hassleholm, Sweden, over the weekend.
The winner of the Global Shootout this year will be awarded a fully sponsored drive in the FIA World Rally Championship. Dubliner Derek Tohill is just three points off Knut Ove Borseth’s lead with two rounds remaining in the European Rallycross Championship after winning the Division 2 Final at Buxtehude, near Hamburg.