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Judge key in Q Club's win

SNOOKER: Q Club, Wicklow, led by ex-pro Michael Judge and Irish international Robert Murphy, have retained the Leinster Club Snooker title at the Ivy Rooms, Carlow.

With a team that could also call on Wayne Doyle, Keith Sheldrick and Jason Watson, Q Club got the better of a strong Kilkenny side in the final. A highlight of their performance was a 145 break by Judge, who is the current Irish champion.

In total, eight Leinster clubs qualified for the All Ireland A and B Club Championships to be held in Killarney from January 30 to February 2. These are Q Club and Kilkenny, along with defending champions Celbridge, Potters A, Drogheda, 147 Wexford A and Potters Carlow in the A Championships. Edenderry, Newbridge CYMS and Potters B Drogheda compete in the B Championship.

Meanwhile, the fourth senior ranking tournament of the season takes place in Carlow next Sunday, January 19.

BADMINTON: The Irish men's badminton team has drawn defending champions Denmark in the group stages of the European Team Championships in Basel, Switzerland, next month. Playing in Group 1, Ireland will begin their campaign with a match against Slovakia and then play the Czech Republic before facing Denmark. Leading a strong Irish team is Irish No 1 Scott Evans, with top doubles player Sam Magee, who teams up with Jonathan Dolan and Tony Stephenson also selected.

Chloe Magee leads a women's team that will play number three seeds Bulgaria in their opening Group 3 match. They then face France and finally the Netherlands. Jennie King, Alannah Stephenson and Sinead Chambers make up the team.

TENNIS: A team of Sam Barry, James Cluskey, Daniel Glancy and John Morrissey travel to Minsk to play Belarus in the Davis Cup Euro/Africa Zone Group II first round tie from January 31 to February 2.

The winners of the match will face either Egypt or Moldova at home in early April.

Amy Bowtell, Rachael Dillon and Jane Fennelly lead the Irish women's team at the opening round of the Fed Cup Euro/ Africa Zone Group III in Estonia next month. Sinead Lohan, Grainne O'Neill and Lynsey McCullough are unavailable.

HOCKEY: With Rio 2016 just two years away, the Irish men's hockey squad is in Terrassa, Spain, this week for three matches against the Spaniards, who are world ranked No 8. Nine uncapped players picked for the squad will have a chance to impress interim coach Mick McKinnon before the final selection for April's Champions League Challenge in Malaysia.

Among them are Three Rock's Stephen West, who has played in the Celtic Cup, along with the UCD trio of Nick Burns, Jeremy Duncan and Ross Canning, and Mark Loughrey of Pembroke, who have all played at either U18 or U21 level. Senior players John Jackson and Alan Sothern lead the squad.

Locally, current table-toppers UCD face Hermes in a Leinster women's Division 1 match today. UCD are unbeaten so far this season, while Hermes are second in the table.

VOLLEYBALL: With quarter-finals looming, NUIG Alliance are already through to the women's Association Cup after beating Tallaght Rockets 3-1 last month. Also through are UCD, who beat Garda Sirens, and Munster Thunder, who got the better of the Dalkey Devils.

Santry, with a bye into the quarter-finals, will play the winner of next Thursday's match between TCD and Ballymum Patriots. In the bottom half of the draw, DVC, currently top of the Premiership table, are scheduled to face UCD, while Munster Thunder look likely to play Naas Cobras.

In the men's cup, Munster Thunder, Garda and DVC are through to the quarter-finals with champions Ballymun Patriots X and last year's runners-up Aer Lingus both having byes.

Santry face Naas Cobras tomorrow in the pick of this weekend's women's league matches.

SKIING: Kilternan is the venue on Sunday, January 20, (1.30-6.0) for a World Snow Day celebration by the Ski Club of Ireland. Budding Alpine skiers of all ages can also take advantage of half-price beginner lessons.

OLYMPIC HANDBALL: Irish handball players based in Sweden, Austria, Germany and the UK travelled to Dublin last week for a four-day training camp with locally-based squad members at St Columba's College, Whitechurch. Supervising the session and two challenge matches with Dublin International and Astra HC was Irish men's coach Alex Markovic.


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