Monday 27 March 2017

In brief: Horner sprints to Basque title

Cycling

American Chris Horner won the final stage of the Tour of the Basque Country to beat Spain's Alejandro Valverde to the overall crown.

Valverde held a one-second advantage coming into the 22-kilometre time trial, but the 38-year-old Horner produced a performance which left the Spaniard admitting the best man had won.

Ireland's Daniel Martin finished 25th on the final stage and 15th overall.

Elsewhere, Adam Armstrong of the Eurocycles team was back in winning form yesterday. For the second time the 22-year-old from Newtownards claimed victory in the Des Hanlon Memorial held in Co Carlow.

Motorsport

Seven days after winning his fourth Circuit of Ireland International Rally, Derek McGarrity yesterday scored a dramatic last-stage victory in the Circuit of Kerry at Tralee, the third round of the Dunlop National Rally Championship.

McGarrity and his co-driver James McKee entered the final stage seven seconds behind leader Kevin Barrett and beat the Maynooth driver by seven seconds to leave them tied for top place, and with the tie-decider being the quicker time on the last stage, the Belfast pair triumphed by the narrowest possible margin to leave the bitterly-disappointed Dubliner as runner up after leading right from the start.

Boxing

Irish boxers claimed one gold, four silver, three bronze medals and two boxer of the tournament awards from two international competitions in Turkey and Finland at the weekend.

David Oliver Joyce, Katie Taylor, Eamon O'Kane, Gary Molloy, Ray Moylette, Ryan Lindberg, Declan Geraghty and Tommy McCarthy finished in podium positions.

Taylor was hot favourite to win gold, but was withdrawn from yesterday's Prime Ministry final with Aussie lightweight Claire Ghabrial in Turkey after picking up an arm injury in Saturday's semi -final victory over Turkey's Irkan Melek.

Elsewhere, Evander Holyfield stopped South African Frans Botha in the eighth round to win the World Boxing Federation title in Las Vegas on Saturday.

Holyfield (47) floored the 41-year-old Botha with a right early in the eighth and although the South African was able to get to his feet, referee Russell Mora later stopped the fight.

Hockey

Teenage prodigy Ian Sloan fired five goals past hapless North Down as Cookstown moved into the driving seat at the top of the Ulster Hockey League.

The 16-year-old, son of former Irish captain Marty Sloan, is already being tipped to follow in his father's footsteps.

His remarkable striking feat in the 11-2 win at the weekend ensured that the Tyrone side have the edge at the top of the league table as the competition reaches its climax.

As Cookstown pursue their third title in a row, the decisive fixture is likely to be their midweek trip to Belfast on April 21 to take on Annadale.

Tennis

IRELAND'S James McGee faces a stiff challenge on his return to the pro-tournament circuit after a three-week absence, in the ITF Men's Futures event in Angers, France.

The unseeded, 500-ranked Dubliner has been drawn against the No 5 seed, Tunisia's 316-ranked Malek Jaziri, in his opening match today in the indoor claycourt event.

The Castleknock man has been concentrating on training and practice at the Tennis Ireland Training Centre in DCU since his straight-sets defeat by Lithuanian teenager Laurynas Grigelis in the third round of qualifying in last month's Jersey Challenger.

Ireland No 2 Conor Niland appears to have a more straight-forward task in the opening round of this week's ATP Challenger Tour event in Leon, Mexico.

The world No 228, who qualified for the main draw of last week's top-tier US Claycourt Championships, in Houston, has been paired against France's 432-ranked Jean-Noel Insausti in the outdoor hardcourt event.

Rowing

Galway Rowing Club won both the senior eights and the senior fours race at the Skibbereen regatta, the first of Rowing Ireland's Grand League regattas held at the National Rowing Centre in Cork yesterday.

Skibbereen Rowing Club also put in a fine performance winning three races, the senior men's quads, the double sculls and the women's double sculls.

In other races, Neptune RC won the intermediate eights and St Joseph's, Galway won the junior men's eights while UCD took the women's fours race.

Irish Independent

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