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Pressure on Perry for fourth

SQUASH: Madeline Perry faces a tough challenge if she is to win a fourth women's title at the Cannon Kirk Irish Squash Open, already underway at Fitzwilliam, Dublin.

Perry, whose great victory at the Australian Open means she is now No5 in the world rankings, is seeded to face former world champion Natalie Grainger in Saturday's final.

Grainger missed most of last year through injury, but is starting to show something of her old and very dangerous form.

To make the final, Perry must beat Alana Miller of Canada in today's quarter-finals, and is then likely to face 2008 winner Laura Massaro in the semis.

Two players who might upset the seedings are 2004 winner Vanessa Atkinson, aged 34 and not playing much this season, and Natalie Grinham back playing after a 10-month maternity break.

She plays Irish No2 Aisling Blake later today.

Going out in the men's qualification rounds earlier this week were Arthur Gaskin, Niall Rooney, Keith Moran and Derek Ryan.

* Derek Ryan won the over-40 title at the World Master's Championships in Cologne Germany last week. Another Irish winner was Barbara Sanderson who won the over-70 title.

Masters take over Dundalk

BADMINTON: Dundalk is preparing to go badminton mad in a few weeks' time when almost 600 of Europe's best veteran players from 30 nations descend on the town for the European Masters' Championships.

Local shopping centre Marshes is the title sponsor, with the event getting the full support of the local Chamber of Commerce and Louth Tourism.

Over the week, starting September 27, the Louth town will receive a welcome financial boost, with well over a thousand visitors expected on each day of play.

Venue for the tournament is Dundalk Football Club's brand new Oriel Park Youth Development Centre, large enough to fit 10 badminton courts.

Leading the Irish challenge will be players such as 11-times Irish champion, Michael Watt, doubles specialist Mark Topping, Chippy Peard and local stars Jim Callan, Valerie Martin and Olive Reid.

* With the season just starting, the Beag's Beo club based in Dublin's Terenure Badminton Centre is looking for new members. See www.beagsbeo.com or call Seamus at 083-3156389.

Sothern leads Irish exodus

HOCKEY: Alan Sothern of Pembroke is just one of 13 Irish squad players who have transferred to non-Irish clubs over the summer.

Sothern will play his league hockey with Dutch team Den Bosch where he will team up with Mitch Darling, who is transferring from Belgian team KHC Leuven.

Also moving to the Netherlands are Conor and David Harte who, will play with SCHC, and Andy McConnell, who returns to hurling.

Phelie Maguire remains with Belgian side KHC Leuven, while at Dragons in Antwerp, Geoff McCabe, Eugene Magee and Mikey Watt are joined by Stephen Butler.

Ronan Gormley moves to Club de Campo in Madrid while in England, David Ames will line out with Beeston in Nottingham, Chris Cargo with Reading and Paul Gleghorne and Stu Loughrey with Loughborough.

Bryan bids for Edinburgh

DUATHLON: After his great second place at the Almere Premium European Cup Triathlon, pro triathlete Bryan Keane travels to Scotland to compete in this weekend's World Duathlon Championships in Edinburgh -- an event which should suit him.

At Almere, Keane, a former junior cross-country international, overhauled seven rivals on the final 10km run and finished just one second behind winner Gregor Buchholz from Germany.

He is also an ex-pro cyclist.