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Great Scott seeks spoils

BADMINTON: Double Olympian Scott Evans hopes to add to his collection of Irish titles when he plays in the Irish National Badminton Championships in Lisburn this weekend.

Evans is in confident form after winning the men's singles title at the Cyprus International in Nicosia last week. He had a tough match against Leinster champion Owen Marron in his opening match today and, if it went according to the seedings, would face Tony Stephenson in tomorrow's final.

Fellow Olympian Chloe Magee is top seed in the women's singles and seeded to play Jenny King in the semi-finals and young pretender Sinead Chambers in the final. Magee and brother Sam are hot favourites to win the mixed doubles.

WHEELCHAIR RUGBY: Although the Six Nations was set to start today, wheelchair rugby takes centre stage next weekend when Gormanston College in Co Meath host a European Championships qualifier for the first time.

Ireland have qualified for the main draw in the past and, after finishing fifth at the Rugby Mania tournament in Prague a few months ago, hope to finish top of the table.

They take on teams from the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Italy, with the Dutch likely to be their greatest threat. Ireland are ranked 11th in Europe with the Dutch just one place behind.

TABLE TENNIS: After her outstanding performance at the Stiga Munster Championships in Killarney, Hannah Lynch Dawson of Fivemiletown has moved to the top of the Irish women's rankings. Lynch-Dawson, who was the Irish cadet champion last season, beat Sabina Devereaux in the women's singles semi-finals and UCD's Sarah Timlin in the final in Killarney. UCD's John Murphy remains top of the men's table, although he went out in the Munster semi-finals to Gavin Rumgay of Scotland.

SQUASH: The ageless Derek Ryan underlined his fighting spirit when he won a thrilling men's singles final at the Mount Pleasant Open in Ranelagh, Dublin. Ryan, who took his ninth Irish title last December, breezed to an 11-3 victory in the opening game against fellow veteran Steve Richardson.

Richardson came back strongly in the second to force a tie-break. Ryan won, but at a cost. It was all Richardson in the third game, and he then took the fourth in another tie-breaker after saving a match ball. In the deciding fifth game, it was all square at 9-9, with Richardson taking the next point and serving for the match. Ryan saved and went on to win the title. In the women's decider, Laura Mylotte beat Breanne Flynn in straight sets.

RUGBY LEAGUE: Ireland's Rugby League World Cup campaign has begun in earnest with a visit to the University of Central Lancashire in Preston where the squad will train during the competition.

The university is the only Lancashire venue for the 14-nation tournament taking place in England and Wales. Opening matches are scheduled for Cardiff on October 26, with finals at Wembley. Ireland, coached by Mark Aston, face Fiji in their first match on October 28 at Rochdale.