Sunday 24 September 2017

Sweeney takes national title

ATHLETICS: Joe Sweeney, a giant among athletes, crushed his opponents when winning the Woodies DIY National senior cross-country championship for the first time in Santry Park yesterday.

"I've always wanted to win this title and it was a great feeling to be out in front there for so long," he said.

Sweeney won by almost a minute from his Dundrum SD clubmate Brendan O'Neill,

Dundrum also took the team title after another great battle with Raheny in a highly successful day for the South Dublin club.

They virtually swept the board by winning seven of the eight titles at stake, as well as two of the other three individual awards in Ava Hutchinson (senior women) and 15-year-old Siofra Cleirigh-Buttner, who won the junior women's gold medal, having done so last year only to be disqualified because she was too young.

The only title to elude Dundrum was in the junior men where Shane Quinn from Ferrybank came away to win from Kevin Dooney of Raheny.

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20-year-old Natalya Coyle from Ashbourne, Co Meath will compete in the final of the Modern Pentathlon World Cup in Palms Springs Valley, California, today following a powerful semi-final display that has pushed her into the top rankings of the sport.

For Coyle, a student at Trinity College Dublin, this is an important breakthrough in her quest for qualification for the London Olympics.

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TENNIS: Irish tennis fans will have the privilege today of witnessing in action a player in action who was placed in the top 100 of the men's singles world rankings for a remarkable 14 years on the trot.

Magnus Gustafsson heads a Swedish selection which takes on the Ireland Davis Cup team at David Lloyd Riverview (1.0).

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BASKETBALL: Killester put a dent in Demons' Southern Conference title hopes as they ran out convincing 103-75 winners at the IWA last night.

Demons needed to beat Mark Keenan's men to keep the pressure up on UL Eagles, and a 10-point run in the first quarter augured well for the Leesiders. However, with guard Daniel O'Sullivan popping his shoulder in the second quarter, Demons faded as Killester went into a 55-47 at the break and from there they were never headed.

Vincents clinched second spot in the Northern Conference with a 74-70 win over Star, who need two wins from their last three games to claim a play-off spot.

Eagles, having defeated Ulster Elks, can claim the conference for a second year running if they beat the same opposition away next Friday.

Meanwhile, in the Women's Superleague, UL clinched the regular-season crown with a 95-47 win over a depleted Killester team.

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GOLF: Luke Donald will walk onto the course at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club in Tucson today looking to win the WGC-Accenture Match Play and move to No 3 in the world.

The 33-year-old Englishman demolished quarter-final opponent Ryan Moore and last-four rival Martin Kuchar on his way to today's final.

The Hertfordshire man had already impressed with a 5&4 win over Moore, before going on get the better of Kuchar 6&5.

He was six-up at the turn having birdied all but two of the first nine holes and, after going seven-up on the 10th, could even afford to drop two straight holes before an excellent approach shot on the 13th allowed him to pick up another birdie and take the match.

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AFL: Tommy Walsh started for St Kilda yesterday as the Saints booked a place in next weekend's NAB Cup semi-final with a 106-51 victory over Geelong.

Head coach Ross Lyon said he was pleased with the Kerryman's efforts.

Another Irish rookie, Zach Tuohy, impressed in his first game for Carlton as they trounced Greater Western Sydney 183-26. Setanta Ó hAilpín did not play as he is recovering from an ankle injury.

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GAELIC GAMES: The Johnston brothers, Ryan and Jerome, scored the goals that booked a place in the MacRory Cup final for holders St Colman's Newry, as they defeated St Mary's Magherafelt by 2-11 to 1-11 at the Athletic Grounds yesterday.

A 1-5 tally from Jerome helped St Colman's build up a seven-point lead, and though St Mary's finished the first half strongly with scores from Aaron Devlin and Conor Kearns, they trailed by 1-8 to 0-6 at the interval. A spectacular volleyed goal by Niall Higgins helped Magherafelt go in front, despite the straight red card dismissal of corner-back Paul O'Kane.

The game appeared to be heading for extra-time when Ryan Johnston blasted home the winning goal in stoppage-time.

SCORERS -- St Colman's: J Johnston 1-7 (5fs), R Johnston 1-1, C Mooney 0-3 (1f). St Mary's: N Higgins 1-1, C Kearns (4f), A Devlin (3f) 0-4 each, S Cassidy, A McElhone 0-1 each.

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CRICKET: Shahid Afridi picked up four wickets as Pakistan defeated Sri Lanka by 11 runs in their World Cup Group A match in Colombo yesterday. The skipper's spell of 4-34 came on the back of fine batting efforts by Misbah-ul-Haq (83 not out) and Younus Khan (72), who helped Pakistan to 277-7 in 50 overs.

Sri Lanka were undone by four quick wickets midway through the innings and ended on 266-9.

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HOCKEY: Monkstown had to rely on a golden goal winner to reach a semi-final tilt away to Banbridge in yesterday's quarter-final ties. Cookstown and Anndale, who came through their tests against Fingal and Lisnagarvey, meet in the all-Ulster semi-final pairing.

Glenanne kept up their push for the men's Leinster League title with a 3-2 win over Three Rock Rovers.

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RUGBY: Two tries from centre Lynne Cantwell and additional touchdowns from Geraldine Rea and full-back Niamh Briggs secured a comfortable 22-5 win for the Irish women against Scotland in Edinburgh.

It was their second away win in this year's Championship and follows a two-point defeat to France a fortnight ago.

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