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McIlroy ready to play on PGA Tour Reduced Council funds hit sporting bodies hard

GOLF: Rory McIlroy's back problem is just a slight nerve impingement and will not prevent him taking part in next week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship in Arizona.

The 20-year-old Irishman saw a specialist on his return from Dubai, where he finished sixth on Sunday in defence of his Desert Classic title, and McIlroy has been working with South African physio Cornell Driesson to try to manage the discomfort he occasionally feels .

"He just needs to rest for a day," said management spokesman Martin Hardy.

Now world number seven -- three places ahead of fellow Irishman Padraig Harrington -- McIlroy has been told the problem could be linked to the hip movement in his swing.

"They go backwards and then forwards and that puts strain on the lower back," McIlroy said.

"It is a matter of resting and managing my schedule so I am not playing too many weeks in a row."

McIlroy has taken up PGA Tour membership this season and next week is the first of five events there before the Masters.

Loss sees Ireland stare Twenty20 exit in face

CRICKET: Ireland must win four games on the bounce to be sure of reaching the Twenty20 World Cup finals -- starting with today's Group A clash against the USA -- after losing to bogey team Afghanistan by 13 runs on the first day of qualifiers in Dubai.

Captain William Porterfield counted six missed chances in the field that allowed the Afghans to reach 139-8 from 20 overs and, while Ireland were up with the required run rate, the national side simply ran out of wickets.

Reduced Council funds hit sporting bodies hard

FUNDING: Special Olympics Ireland and Horse Sport Ireland have been hit hard in the reduced funding announced by the Irish Sports Council.

This year's funding to 59 national governing bodies totals €11,855,377, compared to last year's €12,739,839, with nearly everyone taking a hit due to the economic circumstances.

BOXING: Dubliner Anthony Fitzgerald has a late change of opponent for next weekend's Irish super-middleweight clash at Dublin's National Stadium. Fitzgerald was due to meet Lee Murtagh, but the Leeds-based Irishman has withdrawn because of injury and been replaced by former Irish champ Ciaran Healy.

NBA: Charlotte 94 Washington 92, Cleveland 104 New Jersey 97, Chicago 109 Indiana 101, Philadelphia 119 Minnesota 97, Miami 99 Houston 66, Sacramento 118 New York 114 (final OT), Atlanta 108 Memphis 94, Detroit 93 Milwaukee 81, Denver 127 Dallas 91, Oklahoma City 89 Portland 77, Utah 109 LA Clippers 99