Monday 26 June 2017

In brief: Niland powers past Belgian

Tennis

IRELAND'S Conor Niland showed no respect for the form book as he powered his way into the second round of the ATP Challenger Tour event in the Channel Islands yesterday, writes Paddy Hickey.

The unseeded world No 234 seemed to have it all to do when he was paired against the No 6 seed Niels Desein in the indoor hardcourt tournament.

But the Limerick man needed only 58 minutes before sending the Belgian packing, 6-1 6-4, with the help of nine aces.

Today, Niland takes on either British wild-card Daniel Smethurst or Spain's Adrian Menendez-Maceiras, with a quarter-finals place at stake.

Hockey

Gene Muller, the Irish national women's coach, named his squad of 18 to take to next month's World Cup Qualifier in Santiago, Chile, WRITES John Stokes.

With nine players from Leinster, five from Ulster and four from Munster, including captain Eimear Cregan, the task facing Ireland to pick up one of the three remaining qualifying tickets to this year's World Cup finals in Argentina is formidable.

The big hurdle facing five of the six nations taking part is the presence of top seed Australia, and Muller stated: "Australia is the obvious stand-out team having recently lost in the Champions trophy final"

The line-up of countries taking part (with world rankings) are: Australia (5), Ireland (15), Chile (16), Ukraine (21), Malaysia (22), Scotland (23).

Cricket

Tim Bresnan is confident England will extend their 100pc record against Bangladesh with a fifth-day victory in the second Test today.

England managed a 77-run first-innings lead on the back of Ian Bell's 138 and Bresnan's 91 at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium.

The bowlers then worked hard to leave the hosts 172 for six at stumps on day four, a modest lead of 95 with the tail exposed.

However, Bresnan is in no doubt about who the favourites are. "I think it's four quick wickets, then we chase 150 and win. That's how I see it."

Cycling

The An Post Sean Kelly team are hoping to go one better than Niko Eeckhout's second-place finish last Sunday with victory in the Dwars door Vlaanderen today.

Niko Eeckhout, the 2005 winner, will have the support of Irish duo Mark Cassidy and Conor McConvey.

On Saturday, the team will be competing in another classic, the E3 Prijs Vlaanderen.

Irish Independent

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