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NO rink, no play Irish told

ICE HOCKEY: A homeless Irish ice hockey team is about to lose the right to play at international competitions because it doesn't have its own full-size rink.

Under International Ice Hockey Federation rules, a national hockey team must have a permanent rink measuring 60 metres by 30 metres where they play and practise.

After the closure of the Dundalk rink and problems with a proposed rink in Swords, the country has no full-size ice hockey rink, although the Point Village on Ice is home to the Dublin Ducks and Dublin Flyers junior teams as well as the Celtic Clovers and Latvia Hawks senior teams. Ireland hosted the 2007 Division 3 World Championships in Dundalk and won the competition three years later in Luxembourg. "Losing our international status is the ultimate blow but we are not giving up. We are determined to get a permanent ice rink for Ireland," says Mark Bowes of the Irish Ice Hockey Association.

BADMINTON: Olympians Scott Evans and Chloe Magee will lead the Irish team at the European Mixed Team Championships in Leuven, Belgium next weekend - the first time an Irish team has ever made the finals.

Members of the team warmed up for the championships at last weekend's National Championships dominated by the Magee family. Chloe Magee beat niece Rachael Darragh for the women's singles title, Chloe and brother Sam won the mixed doubles and brothers Sam and Josh took the men's doubles. Absent was Scott Evans, who was resting a minor injury.  Ireland face host nation Belgium and England in their opening matches next week.

HOCKEY: An 18-man Irish hockey squad travels to San Diego, USA, for the World League 2 tournament on February 20. Ireland, ranked No 2 for the tournament, play Chile, Austria and Italy in the group stages. The Irish play three matches against France in Dublin from February 12.

SWIMMING: Take the plunge with the 'Swim for a Mile Challenge' - a scheme to get water babiies of all ages and standards to swim a mile at a series of events from May 18-22. Swim Ireland is providing free training at swimming pools all over the country. Details www.swimforamile.com.

WHEELCHAIR RUGBY: As well as the opening round of the Six Nations, Rome plays host to international wheelchair rugby this weekend with Italy playing Ireland in the Stella Azzura, only thee miles from Stadio Olimpico, today. Two years, ago the Italians beat the Wheels 'n Green and the Irish are out for revenge.