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Saturday 23 August 2014

Sport In Brief: French Open crown for Maria Sharapova

Published 08/06/2014 | 02:30

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Maria Sharapova

TENNIS: Maria Sharapova edged a titanic struggle against Simona Halep to win her second French Open title in three years yesterday.

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Romanian Halep, playing in her first Grand Slam final, gave everything she had and played her full part in a terrific decider, but after three hours and two minutes it was Sharapova who won it 6-4 6-7 (5/7) 6-4.

Sharapova, who also lost last year's final to Serena Williams, took her tally of Grand Slam titles to five, winning more than once at the same Major for the first time.

Before receiving the trophy from Chris Evert, Sharapova said: "This is the toughest Grand Slam final I've ever played. All respect to Simona, I thought she played an unbelievable match today. I'm so emotional I can't even talk."

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SOCCER: Shamrock Rovers made light work of Junior side Sheriff YC in the FAI Ford Cup second round yesterday when strolling to a 4-0 victory at Tolka Park, writes John Fallon.

It took just two minutes for Gary McCabe to blast Rovers ahead before Ciaran Kilduff headed in the second goal four minutes later.

The Hoops punished more slack marking with further goals by Kieran Marty Waters on 49 minutes and substitute Eamon Zayed 15 minutes later.

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Barry McNamee and Rory Patterson hit the goals as Derry City saw off Cobh Ramblers 2-0 in their FAI Ford Cup, second-round clash at Cobh last night.

Cobh's Bobbi O'Donoghue missed the best chance of the night when he headed Anthony O'Donnell's cross wide from six yards. McNamee's goal came after 54 minutes, Patterson's 10 minutes from time and that sweeped the Candystripes into the last 16.

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Lively attacker Steven Beattie was instrumental as Bohemians claimed an FAI Ford Cup second-round 2-1 win at Thomond Park.

The Gypsies took a 35th- minute lead when Beattie scored following a clever assist from strike partner Dinny Corcoran.

On the hour mark, Bohs added a second when Beattie turned provider for Paddy Kavanagh, who raced clear to net a sweet second. Limerick replied after 69 minutes when Rory Gaffney netted, but Bohemians held on.

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GAELIC GAMES: An outstanding second-half performance from midfielder Darren O'Neill helped Clare to a one- point win over Waterford (Clare 2-9 Waterford 1-11) in this Munster JFC first-round game at Cusack Park.

Clare's Eoin Hanrahan hit the first goal after the break but Gavin Crotty then did likewise for the visitors. Within a minute of that, O'Neill had the game's third goal to level it again. The winning point came from a 35m free by O'Neill as the hosts sealed a semi-final date with Kerry.

Scorers – Clare: D O'Neill 1-4, E Hanrahan 1-0, G Leahy 0-3, C Lillis 0-2. Waterford: G Crotty 1-1, M Ferncombe 0-4, M O'Halloran, J Veale 0-2, I Cantwell, D Guiry 0-1 each.

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Gavin Duffy's much-anticipated return to the Gaelic football field will have to wait even longer than expected as he was an unused substitute as his club Salthill/Knocknacarra lost in the first round of the Galway SFC, writes Declan Rooney.

Three and a half weeks after he linked up with James Horan's Mayo squad, Duffy, 32, was expected to make his first appearance for the Galway city outfit at Pearse Park. The former Connacht rugby star was not sprung from the bench in a 1-4 to 0-6 loss against An Cheathrú Rua.

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GOLF: Padraig Harrington was unaffected by the weather that hit the second round of the Fed Ex St Jude Classic yesterday as the Dubliner leapt up the leaderboard after a three-under-par 68.

He is five-under for the tournament in Memphis, Tennessee, seven shots behind the leader, Ben Case of the US. Harrington is in a share of eighth place going into today's third round.

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Warrenpoint's Colm Campbell fired a four-under-par 68 to take a one-stroke lead after the first qualifying round for the Irish Amateur Close Championship

The 27-year-old leads by a stroke from Portmarnock's Stephen Walsh (69) with Knock's Colin Fairweather and Balmoral's Matthew McClean a shot back on two-under.

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SHOW JUMPING: Offaly's Darragh Kenny racked up his second win on Friday at the five-star Spruce Meadows show in Calgary, Canada, while Co Down's Conor Swail placed second in the feature class of the day. Kenny, who had a win on Thursday with the Diamant De Semilly gelding Picolo, repeated the formula with the same horse in Friday's 1m45 Jump-Off class.

Swail brought out Susan and Ariel Grange's mare Martha Louise for the Winning Round class at Calgary, but was just beaten in the 10-horse jump-off by Mexico's Jaime Azcarraga on Matador.

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CHINA'S first five-star show- jumping competition held at Shanghai yesterday saw two Irish riders finish in the Grand Prix top 10.

The million-dollar Global Champions Tour at Shanghai saw Ireland's three riders go through the first round on zero scores – Billy Twomey (Diaghilev), Bertram Allen (Molly Malone V) and Shane Breen (Confident of Victory).

The finish fast four-fault rounds brought Allen and Twomey into eighth and ninth, respectively, and each benefited from a prize money payout of €16,000.

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