Friday 26 May 2017

In brief: Griffin leads Irish Ras team

Cycling

Former Giant Asia professional Paul Griffin will lead a five-strong Irish national team in the An Post Rás this weekend, it was announced yesterday.

Griffin will be joined by former Irish U-23 champion Sean Downey -- back from racing in France -- Belgian-based duo Peter Hawkins and Conor Dunne, and British-based Felix English.

Griffin is by far the most experienced rider on the Skoda Ireland team for the eight-day international race, with former British junior time-trial champion Dunne making his debut racing in this country.

"I'm the oldest on the team by a long shot," said Griffin. "It's a very young team, with three U-23 riders on it but the talent is there.

"Sean is a very talented young rider. You don't win the Tour of Ulster at 18 without having talent. Peter is racing at a very high level in Belgium too."

The team will be managed by Neil Martin, father of Garmin-Cervelo pro Dan, when they line out for stage one on Sunday in Dunboyne.

Equestrian

One of the Army Equitation School's greatest horses, Kilbaha, has been put down at the ripe old age of 28.

The big chestnut gelding will be best remembered for his illustrious nine-year career in the hands of Capt John Ledingham with whom he won back-to-back Hickstead Derby titles in 1994 and '95.

Bred by Tim O'Sullivan in Newmarket, Cork, Kilbaha had a ground-eating stride and powerful jump.

He was on winning Nations Cup teams at Dublin, La Baule, Calgary, Drammen and Aachen and competed at two World Championships and two European Championships, but never made it to the Olympics.

At the height of his career in 2006, he was en route to Atlanta when a lung infection stopped him in his tracks.

However, his mastery of the formidable Derby Bank and Devil's Dyke at Hickstead ensured his place in the record books. Kilbaha enjoyed 12 years of retirement.

Tennis

Amy Bowtell yesterday powered her way to the second round of the ITF Circuit event in Bastad, Sweden, beating 1,109-ranked Desiree Schelenz 7-5 6-2.

Today, the No 7 seeded Greystones player, ranked at 815, faces 877-ranked Alina Wessel.

Irish Independent

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