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Fresh titles in the frame as cross-border rivals hit Carlow after one-year hiatus

SNOOKER: After last season's year off, the revived All-Ireland Championships between the snooker champions of the Republic and Northern Ireland take place at the Ivy Rooms, Carlow, this weekend.

In total nine titles are up for grabs, with intermediate and masters added to the mix this year.

Making up the Republic team are Aaron Tobin (U14), Sean Conway (U18), Ryan Cronin (U16), Jason Devaney (U19 and U21), Brendan Cooney (masters), Phil Arnold (intermediate), Eugene Hughes (billiards) and national senior champion Martin McCrudden. He will face Northern Ireland champion Jordan Brown in the final match of the series on Saturday (10.0). Also scheduled for the Ivy Rooms is the sixth RIBSA senior ranking even of the season, with opening rounds on Saturday. Rodney Goggins currently tops the rankings with two wins so far this season.

Ulster trio start quest for Croatian Open glory

BADMINTON: While Irish No1 Scott Evans was in action at the German Badminton Open in the northwestern city of Mulheim an der Ruhr this week, three Ulster players are in Zabreb for the Croatian Open, where the first round of the main draw got under way today.

Irish women's No1 Chloe Magee will play in the main draw of the singles and she will team up with brother Sam for the mixed doubles. Sam also plays with Tony Stephenson in the men's doubles.

Closer to home, Leinster travel to England to play their final two group matches of this year's English Inter-County Championships. They face Wiltshire, the only other unbeaten team this season.

At stake is qualification for a play-off weekend on May 1/2, where the winners of the four groups battle it out for promotion to the Premier B Division. Good news for Leinster is the return of the injured Will O'Neill. Leading the women's squad are Keelin Fox and Karen Bing in the absence of the injured Pauline Glennon.

Women: Karen Bing, Keelin Fox, Kirsty Kelly, Jennie King, Norma McIntyre. Men: David Gannon, Joe Ledwidge, Owen Marron, Will O'Neill, Niall Tierney, Mark Topping.

Brave Ryan claims seventh place finish in Lille

squash: Sutton's David Ryan proved the star of the Irish junior squash team at the French Junior Open in Lille after he finished seventh in the U15 boys' competition.

In the play-offs for fifth to eighth places, Ryan lost to top seed Ahmad Sarrajj, of Jordan, in a match that went to 12-10 in the fourth game. He then beat Saif Braikat, another player from Jordan, to nail down seventh place of the 64 who were entered in the event. Also playing was Shaun Hennessy.

In the U13 girls competition, David's sister Stephanie finished 14th. David Conroy finished 29th in the U13 boys and Breanne Flynn made the 12/32 play-offs in the U15 girls.

In the boys' U17 section, Sean Conroy finished a fighting 25th after some good wins. Also in action were Daniel L'Estrange and Cathal Hennessy.

Wanderers head North for top-of-table clash

HOCKEY: After mixed recent results, Pembroke Wanderers travel to the North to face Instonians in Saturday's Irish Hockey League Pool A, with Wanderers currently top of the table and Instonians in second place.

Leading Pool B is Lisnagarvey, who will play hosts to Three Rock Rovers. Glenanne face a long journey to Cork for a tricky assignment against Cork COI, having lost to Cookstown and beaten Three Rock Rovers in previous rounds; COI had a narrow win over Annadale and drew with Rovers.

In the pick of this weekend's Leinster Women's League division 1 matches Loreto are at home to Railway Union. Having lost 3-1 to Hermes a fortnight ago, Loreto can't afford another defeat if they want to keep their league ambitions alive.

Hermes currently top the table and have a game in hand. Railway are second with one loss so far this season, while Loreto are third with two losses.