ATHLETICS: AS expected, the first official competition on Athlone Institute of Technology's new state-of-the-art indoor track produced some fireworks, including a European-leading 400m time by Brian Gregan, at yesterday's AAI Games.
The Clonliffe star set down a big early-season marker for the European Indoor championships, storming to victory in the quarter-mile in 46.08 seconds, which smashed his previous 46.66 personal best.
It wasn't just the fastest indoor 400m ever run in Ireland but the fastest time in Europe this year by almost half a second and also one of the fastest in the world so far and Ferrybank's Thomas Barr was second in 47.46.
Matthew McLaughlin notched up the other standout performance by breaking Britain's 26-year-old junior 1,500m indoor record.
His time of 3:42.87 also knocked over five seconds off his own outdoor best, and Letterkenny's Darren McBrearty also knocked a chunk off his own indoor PB when third in 3:45.38.
Donore's John Travers ran an 800m PB of 8:02.58 when fifth in the the Spanish-dominated 3,000m won by Juan Higuero in a 7:52.14 all-comers' record.
Kelly Proper (Ferrybank AC) did a double, winning the 60m in 7:55 ahead of clubmate Niamh Whelan (7:57) and the long jump in 6:04m. Whelan won the 200m in 24:43.
Germany's Max Kessler won the men's 60m in 6.81 ahead of Menapians' David Hynes (6.91) who was also second in the 200m behind him in 21.84.
Olympic hero Robert Heffernan just missed breaking his own Irish record (11:10.02) when winning the 3,000m walk in 11:13.92.
THE long-awaited trial into the doping of cyclists in Spain will open in Madrid today, promising to expose details of one of the most widespread performance-enhancing drug programmes in the history of sport.
The Spanish authorities have been accused of a cover-up with the trial of blood doctor Eufemiano Fuentes focused solely on his work with cyclists despite evidence he was involved in other sports such as football and tennis.
Fuentes (57) will appear in court six years and eight months after his offices were first raided and anti-doping authorities are still waiting to examine the files.
THE absence of regular goal-getters Alan Sothern and Scott Furlong could not prevent Pembroke Wanderers continuing their dominance of the Leinster league.
The table-toppers defeated YMCA 3-1 at Milltown, after trailing at the interval.
David Kane battered in the equaliser on the volley in the second half.
Then Kane won a penalty stroke, which was converted by Karl Lynch, and Maurice Elliott put Wanderers out of sight with a score on the break.
Elsewhere, there were wins for Three Rock Rovers, Corinthians and UCD, while the Monkstown v Railway Union game was postponed.
ARMAGH'S Charly Shanks became only the third Irish player to win a professional tournament when he took the honours at the WPH Race4Eight event in Houston, Texas.
The 29-year-old Lurgan right-hander played some of the best handball of his career to demolish Chicago's Vic Perez, Texan Allan Garner and Minnesota's Andy Nett.
Shanks was the only Irish representative at the event, with world No 1 Paul Brady skipping the tournament in order to prepare for what will be his last-ever All-Ireland campaign, starting next month.
AFTER winning the Irish Open in December, Irish No 1 Scott Evans has continued his good form as he won the 25th Li-Ning Winter Sun Cyprus International 2013 beating Andrew Smith of England in two straight sets
Evans was in great form as he made his way to the final, beating opposition from Cyprus, England, Ukraine and lastly Germany's Philip Discher, who he defeated in the semi-final 21-8 21-5 in only 17 minutes of play.
MONAGHAN pair Martin Tynan and Fintan Clerkin came out best on tie-deciding in the Donegal MC Eamon Harvey Memorial Navigation Trial at Letterkenny, taking the verdict over seven other crews who also completed the route without penalty.
Tynan and Clerkin, running in the Novice class, beat three semi-expert pairings and three experts, with James Greenan and Darren Harvey taking runner-up position.
Joseph Smith from Ballyhaise repeated his win in Co Cavan MC's Autocross at Latton, more than 10 seconds ahead of Mel Mulligan after three runs through the quarry.