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Irish cricketers hold no fear

CRICKET: Phil Simmons expects Ireland to meet Afghanistan in tomorrow's World League Division 1 final in Amsterdam -- but after four straight victories in the qualifiers, the national coach fears no one.

"The way we are playing, it doesn't really matter who we have to beat," said Simmons.

"The bowlers have been tight all week and there have been signs in the last couple of games that the batters are coming to the party too."

Ireland's last qualifying game today, against the Netherlands, is a dead rubber, while Afghanistan's clash with Scotland will decide who Ireland, the defending champions, will play next.

Ireland are likely to leave out veteran Trent Johnston today, not only to give him an extra day's rest before the final but also with next week's important one-day internationals against Bangladesh in mind.



Irish riders make strides in Sweden

EQUESTRIAN: Irish riders came out of the starting blocks in flying form in Falsterbo, Sweden, where Captain David O'Brien won the Grand Prix qualifier and Dermott Lennon was just pipped for the honours in the qualifier for tomorrow's Swedish Derby.

O'Brien's mare Mo Chroi came out with all guns blazing again yesterday to pin German star Philipp Weishaupt and Leoville into second, while America's Rich Fellers had to settle for third with the Irish-bred Flexible.

Lennon was just over a second slower when slotting into fifth with his top ride, Hallmark Elite, and earlier in the day, riding Tolett, the Co Down rider was only narrowly beaten in the Derby trial by Spain's Pascal Levy, while America's McLain Ward finished third.



Eckmann wins with Wright in yellow

Cycling: Robin Eckmann of the Hot Tubes Team won the third stage of the Junior Tour from Castlebar to Ballycastle, and his team-mate Stuart Wright held on to the yellow jersey.

BASKETBALL: Angered and betrayed by LeBron James' decision to leave for the Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert accused the NBA's MVP of quitting during the play-offs.

"People have covered up for (James) for too long. Tonight we saw who he really is," Gilbert said after James made it known he had quit the Cavaliers.

MLB: Chicago White Sox 1 LA Angels 0, Houston 2 Pittsburgh 0, Milwaukee 3 San Francisco 9, Colorado 4 St Louis 2, Washington 1 San Diego 7, Philadelphia 4 Cincinnati 3 (12 innings), Toronto 8 Minnesota 1, Tampa Bay 5 Cleveland 2, Texas 4 Baltimore 6.


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