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Prior confident of England win

CRICKET: Wicketkeeper Matt Prior has backed England to complete their first victory of 2012 and hold on to their world number one spot.

Having lost all four Tests since the turn of the year, an ominous fifth-wicket stand of 90 between Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera looked to be taking the second Test against Sri Lanka away from them too.

But Graeme Swann took two wickets in a sensational penultimate over, finding big turn to bowl Samaraweera and then Suraj Randiv for a duck. That left the hosts 218 for six -- a lead of 33 -- with England in the ascendancy.

Jayawardene remains in place on 55, with dangerous all-rounder Angelo Mathews also at the crease, but Prior is confident of wrapping up the win.

"Whatever they set us tomorrow, whether it's a small total or a big total, we back ourselves to get it," said Prior.



Irvine steers to London

CYCLING: Ireland's Martyn Irvine secured a Track qualification slot for the London Olympics with a seventh-place finish in the Omnium event at the Track World Championships at Melbourne.

Of key importance was his finishing position relative to the riders from Denmark (fourth) and Poland (12th) who were closest to Ireland in the combined rankings from the 12 qualification events.

However, Irvine had enough of a lead going into this event to ensure Ireland held on to seventh and thus inside the top eight required to secure a slot for the London Games.



Aironi pull out of Pro12

RUGBY: Italian side Aironi will not take part in next season's RaboDirect Pro12 competition.

The Italian Rugby Federation has announced that it has revoked Aironi's participation licence due to financial pressure.

Aironi are currently bottom of the Pro12. Fixtures in place until the end of this term will be honoured, and Italian rugby chiefs have already started the procedure to form a new franchise for next season.



Heartbreak for Ireland

SOCCER: Ireland lost their vital Euro 2013 Women's European Championship qualifier against Scotland, conceding two goals in the final 10 minutes at Tynecastle.

Ireland led through an early Denise O'Sullivan headed goal, But Scotland scored late goals through Rhonda Jones and Christie Murray to claim all three points.



Mikkelsen out in front

RALLYING: Andreas Mikkelsen moved into the lead of the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally by going fastest on the rain-hit 12.96km Drummond run, stage two of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge race. Driving a Škoda UK Motorsport Fabia Super 2000, Mikkelsen completed the test in eight minutes 14.6 seconds to open up a lead of 5.5 seconds over fellow Fabia driver Juho Hänninen.


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