Friday 22 September 2017

In Brief: Halfpenny player of Six Nations

Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny has been named the player of the Six Nations championship after winning 40pc of the votes cast by more than 80,000 rugby fans.

Halfpenny, one of a shortlist of 15 players compiled using a combination of match statistics and social media, was a worthy winner after his consistent all-round performances helped Wales retain the title in their momentous last-day victory over England.

The 24-year-old Cardiff Blues man won two Man of the Match awards, was the tournament's top points scorer with 74 and is the favourite to fill the No 15 jersey on the Lions' tour of Australia this year.

"It's a real honour and privilege and I'm overwhelmed to be in among the players shortlisted," Halfpenny said. "It's the icing on the cake of an exceptional year for Wales and it is a privilege to be part of such an exceptional group of people."

Italy back-rower Alessandro Zanni was second in the voting with 11pc, with Scottish full-back Stuart Hogg third on 8pc.

Hockey

Lurgan claimed the Kate Russell All-Ireland Schoolgirls Championship in Kilkenny College, seeing off the hosts 2-0 in the final game of the competition to complete a second win in three years.

Close-range goals from Ellen Mullen and co-captain Chloe McCann did the damage as they completed a fourth win from four games, bumping the home team into second place.

Earlier in the day, Lurgan had overcome Crescent Comprehensive 4-0 while Kilkenny ousted Colaiste Iognaid 4-1 to maintain their perfect records, setting up an all-or-nothing title decider.

But, after initial resistance, the Ulster champions duly took control with a calm, assured performance.

Motorsport

Peugeot Rally Academy ace Craig Breen is continuing to impress at Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles in his 207 Super 2000. Breen is competing on the asphalt event for the first time, with the Waterford man working his way into a solid third. Despite slipping to more than half a minute behind second-placed Jan Kopecky on stage seven, Breen has been more than satisfied with his performance so far.

"I'm happy, we don't come here to challenge for victories and podiums," said Breen. "It's about gaining experience. We're going for this championship in 2014, not this year."

Irish Independent

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