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Fight goes on for McCartan Roche in Tour woe Niland bags victory

GAELIC FOOTBALL: Down will have to take Daniel McCartan's eight-week suspension for 'stamping' on Armagh's Aaron Kernan to the second stage of the appeal process if they are to have any hope of having him for the Ulster championship.

The Central Hearings Committee (CHC) have thrown out his first appeal, confirming yesterday that they "did not find the video evidence submitted sufficiently compelling to contradict the referee's report".

Unless the Burren clubman can get it overturned at the next appeal stage, McCartan will miss Down's Ulster SFC opener against Donegal on May 30 and a possible semi-final against Tyrone or Antrim.

Pádraig eyes glory

GOLF: Rory McIlroy is the Irishman the golf world is talking about, but Pádraig Harrington will be happy to change that this week.

Runner-up in the Players' Championship in 2003 and 2004, the Dubliner started his bid to go one better at Sawgrass today, but he is all too aware, though, that since Oakland Hills 21 months ago, he has not had a Tour victory.

"Every time I tee off I'm kind of desperate for a win," admits Harrington.

Elsewhere, the start of the first round of the BMW Italian Open was delayed by at least two hours as course workers attempted to repair damage caused by five days of heavy rain near Turin.

Roche in Tour woe

cycling: Nicolas Roche is facing a race against time to recover from a knee injury in time for this year's Tour de France.

The 25-year-old Irish road race champion was forced to pull out before the fourth stage of the Tour de Romandie last Saturday due to swelling on his knee, and he has been ordered to rest for three weeks after a scan revealed he'd torn his left hamstring.

Niland bags victory

TENNIS: Ireland's Conor Niland was celebrating the biggest win of his professional career.

Niland earned a quarter-final place in the ATP Challenger Tour event in Israel after the Limerick man dumped out Germany's ex-Grand Slam finalist Rainer Schuettler in a 7-5, 4-6, 6-4 win.

Today, Niland was due to face No6 seed Harel Levy of Israel.

NBA playoffs: Phoenix 110 San Antonio 102 (Phoenix leads best-of-seven series 2-0)

MLB: Cleveland 4 Toronto 5, Cincinnati 5 NY Mets 4 (10 innings), NY Yankees 7 Baltimore 5, Minnesota 5 Detroit 4, Oakland 4 Texas 1, Pittsburgh 4 Chicago Cubs 2, Washington 6 Atlanta 7 (10 innings), Philadelphia 4 St Louis 0, Boston 3 LA Angels 1, Florida 2 San Francisco 3, Houston 4 Arizona 2, Chicago White Sox 9 Kansas City 2