Saturday 29 April 2017

Kerry blow lead against Kildare

GAELIC GAMES: Kerry appeared to be coasting to victory in a challenge match with Kildare to mark the pitch reopening in Ballymacelligott, until manager Jack O'Connor emptied his bench to allow the Lilywhites back into it, with Tommy O'Neill grabbing a 70th minute winner.

Kerry had the Kildare defence at sixes and sevens for a 0-13 to 0-9 lead at the interval. In the second half they extended their lead to 0-17 to 0-9, as Kildare shot five wides on the trot. But once Marc O Se, Declan O'Sullivan, Kieran Donaghy and James O'Donoghue were withdrawn, Kerry lost their way and did not score for the final 20 minutes. Kildare rallied with points from Eamon Callaghan, Morgan O'Flaherty, Emmet Bolton, and Des Lawlor, which set up O'Neill to grab the winner.

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Gearóid Finn kicked a winning free four minutes from time to seal Cork's third All-Ireland VS senior inter-county football title in five seasons at Templetuohy, Co Tipperary yesterday.

Finn's effort clinched a 0-13 to 0-12 victory in a tie that was level six times, while Kildare forward Kelvan McNally was off-target with a late free that would have taken an entertaining game into extra-time. Cork, who hit the crossbar twice in the first half, trailed by 0-3 to 0-6 at half-time but the Rebels, wind-assisted in the second half, hit back to lead by 0-12 to 0-8.

Inspired by leading scorer Neil Flynn, Kildare hit back to level the scores at 0-12 apiece with five minutes remaining, before Finn struck.

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Tadhg Dowling was the main man when St Fergal's (Rathdowney) set up the possibility of a junior/senior Leinster VS hurling double, when he drove them to a handy 0-13 to 1-3 victory over Scoil Aireagail (Ballyhale) in the senior championship at Castlecomer yesterday.

Dowling shot seven points during the opening half as Fergal's put together a good lead of 0-9 to 0-2 by half-time. The losers were more in the game in the second half, but the goal they were chasing didn't come until two minutes from the end through Paddy Delaney.

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A GOAL either side of half-time earned Borris VS a place in the hurling final against St Fergal's when they beat favourites Coláiste Mhuire (Johnstown) 3-10 to 2-10 in Thomastown yesterday.

With just minutes left in the first half, Kevin Sweeney pointed to draw Johnstown level at 0-6 to 1-3. Borris stormed up the field, and a point from Craig Wall was followed by a goal from Emmet Foley to put them 2-4 to 0-6 ahead at the break.

The Carlow side extended their lead with another goal two minutes after the restart when Jack Kavanagh scored. Michael Malone followed with a point, and they never looked like being caught after that.

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St Fintan's, Doon CBS made it two Munster titles this year as their footballers followed their hurling side by collecting the Munster Senior 'A' Post-Primary title yesterday.

A hat-trick from Russell Quirke proved crucial as the Limerick side edged past Patrician Academy, Mallow 3-8 to 1-12.

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ATHLETICS: Waterford all-rounder Mairéad Murphy smashed one of the longest standing Irish women's records when she scored 3,935 points in the pentathlon at the Big 12 meeting in the USA.

The record, ironically, was held by her clubmate and former coach Bríd Hallissey. Murphy recorded two personal bests in the the 800m and long jump. Afterwards, Murphy, a student at Kansas State University, said she feels she can break that record again. "I'm so happy to have broken the record held by my old coach," she said.

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BASKETBALL: In a unique double-header, Southern Conference leaders Demons took on Star in the first game in Belfast last night -- with Ciaran O'Sullivan shooting an almost perfect game.

Demons, who return to the UUJ court this afternoon (3.0) for their second clash, had trailed by two at the end of the first quarter but blitzed their opponents on a 30-11 scoreline with O'Sullivan and Shaun Atupen instrumental in their 86-71 win.

Meanwhile, in Belfield Jason Killeen (30) proved the difference for UL with a big three-point play for Mark Keenan's men in their 90-81 win over UCD Marian. Both teams are already through to the play-offs, as are Killester with Jermaine Turner inspiring them to a 83-60 win over Moycullen.

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EQUESTRIAN: Camilla Speirs maintained her dressage lead through the cross-country and show jumping phases at the CIC competition in Ballindenisk, Cork, yesterday to take the winner's trophy on the Irish-bred gelding Portersize Just A Jiff.

Michael Ryan with the Irish-bred Old Road finished second and Jayne Doherty with Ravenstar took fifth.

In the higher-ranking competition, which finishes today, Elizabeth Power and Capt Geoff Curran kept Ireland in the hunt for Irish Olympic qualification places, with Power jumping to second place after the cross-country phase with September Bliss, and Curran in fourth on the Irish-bred The Jump Jet. Mark Kyle also saw an improvement after a clear cross-country round on board the Irish-bred gelding Step In Time, climbing to seventh overall.

Meanwhile, in the last World Cup competition before the Olympic qualification deadline, Ireland's Denis Lynch gave a statement of intent in Gothenburg yesterday with a €14,000 second place in the Grand Prix.

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HOCKEY: Ireland's senior women's squad beat France 3-0 in the first of three international training matches at the Beerschot venue in Belgium yesterday, the venue for the Olympic qualifying tournament in three weeks time. Nicola Evans, Miriam Crowley and Emma Smyth were on target.

There were a few upsets in the men's Leinster League, especially Pembroke Wanderers' 2-2 home draw against bottom club Clontarf, while fellow title challengers Monkstown had to settle for a draw against YMCA. Leaders Glenanne won 2-1 away to Three Rock Rovers, thanks to a brace from Eddie O'Malley.

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