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Quinlan key to Stan clearance

RUGBY: A letter from Alan Quinlan helped Leinster's Stan Wright evade a ban for punching the Munster flanker that would have ruled the Cook Islander out of the Magners League Grand Final.

Wright was cleared, along with Munster's Nick Williams -- his for an alleged stamp on the Blues' Jonathan Sexton -- after yesterday's Belfast hearing into last week's RDS semi-final.

Munster, meanwhile, confirmed Williams, Jean de Villiers, Ciaran O'Boyle, Jeremy Manning and Danny Riordan have left the province.

Joyce waits on rule

CRICKET: Irish cricket bosses are hoping that Bray batsman Ed Joyce may receive special dispensation to play for Ireland in next February's World Cup.

Joyce switched allegiance to England in 2005 and played for them in the 2007 World Cup. By ICC rules he should be unable to switch back until April 2011.

Cycling: Ireland's Daniel Martin finished strongly to move up to 62nd place in the Giro d'Italia after he and 55 others broke away early in stage 11, won by Evgeni Petrov. Australian Richie Porte took the leader's jersey from Alexandre Vinokourov.

athletics: Jamaican triple Olympic champion Usain Bolt opened his 100m season with the year's fastest time, clocking 9.86 seconds in Daegu, South Korea.

BAsketball: The LA Lakers held off a Phoenix Suns rally to extend their Western Conference finals lead with a 124-112 victory.

MLB: NY Yankees 6 Tampa Bay 10, Cleveland 4 Kansas City 8, Washington 5 NY Mets 3, Philadelphia 1 Chicago Cubs 4, Pittsburgh 6 Milwaukee 4, Boston 3 Minnesota 2, Atlanta 5 Cincinnati 4, Houston 7 Colorado 3, Chicago White Sox 2 LA Angels 3