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Leinster survive to keep buzzing in 'b'

BADMINTON: Leinster's badminton team have retained their place in the Premier "B" division of the English Intercounty league -- just one rung off the top division. After the final round of matches in Guildford, Surrey, Leinster were ranked fifth in the group of 10 teams, with the top two promoted and bottom two relegated.

Leinster had beaten Norfolk 8-2, narrowly lost 4-6 to Lanarkshire and drew 5-5 with Leicestershire. Making up the team were (men) Niall Tierney, Eddie Cousins, David Gannon, Dan Magee and Mark Cobbe, and (women) Fiona Glennon, Pauline Glennon, Keelin Hogan, Jennie King and Claire Flood.

Meanwhile, at the annual Interpro finals in Baldoyle, Leinster took titles in the U13 and U15 classes and finished second behind a powerful Ulster squad in the junior, over-40 and over-50 grades.

HOCKEY: Glasnevin club Botanic is celebrating after beating Kilkenny 4-2 in the final of the Electric Ireland Irish Hockey Challenge.

Botanic got the perfect start after just four minutes when the pacey Aoife Nolan scored after a Kilkenny defensive error. Kilkenny's Ciara Lawler equalised in the 12th minute but it was Botanic who went into the break as 2-1 leaders thanks to a Rhona Quirke goal. In the second half Botanic took control, with Cliona McCullough, also a Dublin junior camogie player, scoring twice for her side. Kilkenny captain Lyn Darling got one back midway through the half, but her tiring side couldn't break through the resolute Botanic defence. The victory rounded off a wonderful season for Botanic, with their first team winning division 5 in the Leinster League -- the Dublin northside hockey revival begins here!

TAEKWONDO: Members of the Irish Tae Kwon Mudo Academy clearly believe in keeping it in the family. Successfully passing a recent grading were Mark Byrne (3rd dan), son Carl Byrne (2nd dan), and daughter Kayleigh from the Fettercairn club; Dylan O'Brien (2nd dan), his mother Anita and gran Doreen (both 1st dan) and all from Kilbarrack; cousins Leon Beveridge Connolly and Jordan Beveridge Murphy (both 2nd dan); the Banks sisters Megan and Helen; and the Franklin brothers Jake and Luke also from Fettercairn. For details on the ITMA, visit www.facebook.com/mudoireland or www.irish-mudo-academy.com.

SURFING: Ollie O'Flaherty, a surfer from Lahinch, Co Clare, will take on the legends of big wave surfing at next month's Billabong XXL Global Big Wave Awards in California. O'Flaherty's successful ride of a monster wave off Mullaghmeen, Co Sligo last month won him his place.

He will take on, among others, Garrett McNamara who rode a gigantic 30m wave at Nazaré, Portugal last November -- the biggest wave ever surfed in Europe.

SQUASH: Both Michael Craig and Sean Conroy made the second round in the individual draw at the European U19 Squash Championships in Porto, Portugal. Craig beat local player Diogo Paiva in the opening round but had the misfortune to come up against eventual winner Declan James of England in the second round.

Conroy went out after a tightly fought second round match with Rui Soares of Portugal. The squad of Conroy, Craig, Griffin Gillanders, Breanne Flynn and Conor O'Shea is currently playing in the team competition, with finals tomorrow.

•World-ranked English squash player Eddie Charlton was in Dublin earlier this week. After a day giving workshops, he played a match against the up-and-coming Rory Byrne to an appreciative crowd at Sutton LTC.

TRIATHLON: Triathlete Aileen Morrison finished a gutsy second at the opening European Cup triathlon in Quarteira, Portugal. A superb run saw Morrison move from seventh after the cycle into the runners-up place, just 26 seconds behind Ainhoa Murua of Spain.

Her result should see Morrison improve on her current Olympic qualification ranking of eleventh, with her place at London 2012 almost assured.