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Mageean sets 800m record Donald gracious

ATHLETICS: Ciara Mageean set a new Irish 800m junior record at the Irish Indoor Championships at the Odyssey Arena.

City of Lisburn's Mageean ran a 2:07.82 to break Arlene Smith's 1991 record of 2:08.74.

Other highlights at the event were sprint wins for Derval O'Rourke, Paul Hession and Claire Bergin, and the return to the limelight of ex-European Junior 1,500m champion Colin Costello.

Despite a disruptive recent calf tear, O'Rourke, who ran 8.29 seconds in the heats, opened her indoor season by winning the women's 60m hurdles in 8.18 to take her 10th national title.

Unlike O'Rourke, Hession does not intend to compete at next month's World Indoors, but he still retained his 60m title, with a 6.75 time in the semis and won the final in 6.76, ahead of teenager Dean Adams (6.89).

Celbridge's Claire Brady laid down a big early-season marker by winning the women's 60m title in 7.35 ahead of Leevale's defending champion, Ailis McSweeney (7.49), and Ferrybank's Niamh Whelan (7.50).

Deirdre Byrne won the women's 3,000m in 9:03.52, but her bid for the 1,500m title was foiled by City of Lisburn's Kelly McNeice, who won in 4:14.63.

James McIlroy ran a stadium record of 1:48.64 in the 800m heats and went on to comfortably beat David McCarthy in the final in 1:52.23.

Murphy cruises

SWIMMING: Ireland's European junior champion Grainne Murphy smashed the national 200m breaststroke record at the Dave McCullagh memorial meet at the University of Limerick yesterday.

At the prestigious long course meet, Murphy set a new junior and senior best of 2:32.54 in the heats, knocking an impressive 2.32 seconds off Fiona Doyle's junior record and 1.04 seconds off Emma Robinson's seven-year senior record.

Donald gracious

GOLF: Luke Donald hailed Steve Stricker after the American held his nerve to win the Northern Trust Open at Donald's expense.

Englishman Donald shot a final-round 66 at Riviera Country Club near LA but it was not enough to prevent Stricker from holding on for a two-shot win.

The American carded a one-under 70 to get the job done, having led by six shots after 54 holes, and his win was enough to make him the world number two at the expense of Phil Mickelson, who had needed a top-six finish at the event to stay second behind Tiger Woods.

"If you look at his consistency and how much he's won, then I think it's deserved," Donald said of Stricker's new ranking.

NBA: Orlando Magic 96 Boston Celtics 89, Toronto Raptors 115 Sacramento Kings 104.