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Hundreds ready to take plunge with Liffey swim

SWIMMING: Close to 400 hardy men and women are expected to jump into the water at Watling Street for Saturday's 91st Liffey Swim. This, the biggest event on the Irish open water programme, was first held in 1920 and immortalised in the Jack B Yeats 1923 painting, "The Liffey Swim". Women, who first competed in 1991, are off first at 1.30pm followed by the men at 2.15pm. The finish is at Custom House Quay, with grand stand views from O'Connell Bridge.

Meanwhile, two Irish names have joined the elite list to have swum the Northern Channel from Scotland to Northern Ireland. Stephen Redmond from Ballydehob, Co Cork swam the 22-mile stretch of jellyfish-infested water in 17 hours 17 minutes on September 1. A day later, at her fourth attempt, Anne Marie Ward finally made it in 18:59. Only nine swimmers had ever completed the swim before last week.

Magees make quarters

BADMINTON: Sam and Chloe Magee made the quarter-finals of the mixed doubles at the Bitburger Open in Saarbrucken, Germany before going out to German pair Michael Fuchs and Birgit Overzier in straight sets.

Also making the second round was the men's doubles pairing of Magee and Tony Stephenson who lost to top seeds Mathias Boe and Carsten Mogensen of Denmark. In the singles, Chloe Magee was the only Irish girl to survive the first round, beating Kiwi Michelle Ky Chan before losing to Swiss Jeanine Cicognini. Both Scott Evans and Toby Stephenson went out in their opening matches.

Trio lead Bulgarian bid

PENTATHLON: Sive Brassil from Ballinasloe, Emily Keane from Cork and Sionann O'Reilly Collins from Athlone make up the Irish girls' team competing at this weekend's European Youth B Modern Pentathlon Championships in Varna, Bulgaria.

At the Irish Pony Club Tetrathlon Nationals (1500m cross-country run, swim, shoot and horse riding), O'Relly Collins came second overall and Keane fourth of 180 girls over two days. Brassil took the senior girls' title. Irish boys' tetrathlon champion Brian O'Sullivan from Kerry along with Ian Brady and Chris Coakley from Meath, and triathletes Gavin Doran from Kildare, team up for the boys' competition in Varna.

Richard bags title at last

BOWLS: Richard Leonard of Dublin club St James's Gate ended an 11-year drought for south of Ireland bowlers when he won the men's singles at the Irish Bowls Championships held in the Old Bleach Club, Co Antrim.

Playing Graham McKee in the final, Leonard came from 6-14 down to win 21-15. Earlier that day, St James's Gate won the Irish triples title when Leonard teamed up with his father John Leonard and Stephen Millane to beat Ballymoney 20-16. All three will represent Ireland in the British Isles Championships next year in Scotland.

Two crews up for Euros

ROWING: After finishing sixth at the World Rowing Cup in Slovenia, the Irish women's lightweight double of Claire Lambe from UCD and Siobhan McCrohan from Tribesmen are hoping to make the final at this weekend's European Championships in Montemor-O-Velho, Portugal.

Competing for the first time in the men's lightweight doubles are Mark O'Donovan from NUIG and Skibbereen's Niall Kenny.

Young coaches abound

HOCKEY: League hockey returns in a few weeks time, with a number of young coaches taking over the top women's teams in Leinster. Gareth Evans joins Graham Shaw at Loreto, with Shaw continuing as technical trainer and Evans looking after general coaching duties. Justin Sherriff takes over at Pembroke, while Johnny Harte will look after UCD and Cliff Bailey returns to Bray.

Irish seventh in World

WOMEN'S RUGBY: Ireland ended the Women's Rugby World Cup in seventh place after a 32-8 win over Scotland. In their pool the Irish had finished second behind England with wins against the USA and Kazakhstan, but lost to England. Only on count-back did they miss out on a place in the semi- finals. A depleted team then lost to the USA in the 5th-8th place play-offs before their victory over Scotland.