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O'Leary ups bid for Rio

CANOEING: Patrick O'Leary became the first paracanoeist to represent Ireland internationally when he competed at the European Canoe Sprint Championships in Portugal.

O'Leary finished fourth in his K1 200m heat to qualify for the final, where he finished ninth. His target is the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil.

In other races, the Irish team produced some solid performances. Olympian Andrzej Jezierski finished sixth in the men's C1 200m in 42.631 seconds. He was less than a second behind the winner after losing ground in the middle of the race.

In the women's K1 5000m, Jenny Egan finished fifth, just missing out on a medal in the sprint for the line. Hungary's Renata Csay won in 22 mins 49.7 secs.

Egan also made the 500m semis and lined out in the 200m.

In the men's K1 500m, Barry Watkins finished third in his heat in 1:44.201 and was seventh in the final in 1 min 44.4 secs won by Denmark's Rene Poulsen.

Watkins won his K1 1000m semi-final in 3:47.677 and improved that time to 3:33.420 for eighth in a tough final, again won by Poulsen.

SWIMMING: Fergal Somerville of Eastern Bay SC has become only the 15th person to complete the treacherous 21-mile North Channel swim from Ireland to Scotland making it in 12 hours 51 minutes.

This was Somerville's second attempt at one of the toughest swims in the world, with fickle weather, unpredictable currents and rampant jellyfish among just some of the hazards swimmers face.

In July last year, foul weather meant he was forced to abandon after just 90 minutes in the water. Somerville, who swam the English Channel in September 2011, reckons he has swam about 500km in training so far this year.

The hard work paid off – he started out fast and, at one point, was on target to beat the men's record for the swim of 11 hours 21 minutes, set by Kevin Murphy in 1970. Overall record holder is the great Alison Streeter who, in 1988, made the crossing in 9 hours 54 minutes and has completed the swim three times.

SQUASH: Ireland finished 23rd at the men's World Team Championships in Mulhouse, France, beating Botswana 2-1 in their final match.

Steve Richardson got the team off to a good start with a straight sets win. It was Richardson's seventh game in seven days and his fifth victory in the tournament. The Ballymena man is still going strong at the ripe age of 40.

A tired Arthur Gaskin lost his match to world No 15 Alistair Walker, and so it was left to Brian Byrne to bring Ireland home. He did it in style, winning in straight sets. Making up the Irish team was the veteran Derek Ryan, who suffered an injury early on in the tournament.

TRIATHLON: Kevin Thornton of Dublin club Belpark proved the star of the Irish team when he won the men's 25-29 age group at the European Championships in Antalya, Turkey.

Thornton's overall time of 1 hour 53 minutes put him more than three minutes ahead of the chasers. He led from the start with a strong swim, followed by an exceptional 40km cycle leg which was fastest on the day by five minutes.

Dubai-based Deirdre Casey, originally from Cork, finished second in the women's 30-34 age group, adding to her tally of gold and silver from previous European and world championships.

In the junior men's sprint race, Con Doherty was a fighting 15th with the fastest cycle time of the day.

Closer to home, pro triathlete Eimear Mullan has won the Ironman 70.3 UK for a second year in a row. After finishing her swim in fifth place, she moved up to second on the cycle and then pulled away on the run. In 10th place and first W35 was Irish half-distance champion Jennifer Duffy.

SNOOKER: Carlow is to host the World Team Championship and the World IBSF 6 Red Championship from September 29 to October 6.

Men, women and masters events are schedule for both events, with a prize fund of $10,000 per event. Venue is the Ivy Rooms.

Rodney Goggins from the 147 Club in Wexford is holding a 24-hour Snooker Marathon in aid of Hope Cancer Support Centre.

He started playing last night at 8pm and hopes to keep going until 8pm tonight.

All support and contributions welcome!


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