In brief: Heaven-sent Dockrell bowls Canada over
George Dockrell bowled Ireland to a morale-boosting 11-run victory over Canada in Sharjah yesterday in the national side's final match before the start of the Twenty20 World Cup qualifiers.
The 17-year-old Leinster spinner grabbed 4-19 as Canada were bowled out for 127 and he has made such an impression since his full debut last Sunday that coach Phil Simmons is claiming divine intervention.
Simmons said: "George has done exceptionally well since he joined the squad after gaining experience at the U-19 World Cup. It's great to see a young spinner who is not afraid to throw the ball up.
"The way he has bowled in the four games this week has helped us to compensate for the loss of Kyle McCallan (retired) and Regan West (injured). God has been good to me!"
UCC Demons head coach Luke D'Alessio paid tribute to the young stars that filled the big void left by missing captain Shane Coughlan as the Cork side edged to an 83-80 victory over Ulster Elks yesterday.
"This was such a terrific game. We played tough and strong all the way through and with someone like Shane out, the younger players really stepped up and made it happen," said D'Alessio.
Elsewhere, UL Eagles notched up their 13th win of the season at the expense of UCD Marian while Killester recorded a facile win over Neptune to maintain their position at the summit of the Northern Conference.
Dubliner Gareth MacHale and co-driver Brian Murphy had things all their own way yesterday as they stretched their overnight lead to a winning margin of 103 seconds in the Safety Direct Galway International Rally yesterday.
However, the drive of the rally came from 20-year-old Craig Breen from Kilkenny, making his debut in the brand new Ford Fiesta S2000. The Billy Coleman Award winner held second place overall from Saturday afternoon and held the position yesterday to open his rallying year in style.
Niko Eeckhout of the An Post/Sean Kelly Team ended the French five-day Etoile de Bessèges with a thoroughly deserved stage win yesterday.
The Belgian was in scintillating sprinting form, achieving four top placings but on the penultimate day (Saturday), he failed to keep pace in the mountains and lost more than 20 minutes. Overall victory went to stage winner Samuel Dumoulin of the Cofidis team.
The Republic of Ireland U-16s saw their hopes of winning the Albufeira Four Nations tournament slashed after giving away the only goal of the game deep into first-half stoppage time in the 1-0 defeat to Portugal in the Algarve on Saturday afternoon.