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Slick Irish come up big in Japan

TABLE TENNIS: Wins over Latvia, New Zealand and Kuwait meant that a determined Irish team held their own in the Division 3 group and made it into the play-offs for Division 2 at the World Team Table Championships in Tokyo, Japan.

They will remain in Division 3 after losing to Puerto Rico 3-1 but the heroics of the young Irish teams has had a dramatic effect on their world rankings. Paul McCreery remains the top-ranked Irish player at No 422 in the world, followed by Ashley Robinson who has moved 129 places to No 501, and Gavin Maguire at No 588.

At U21 level, Robinson is ranked No 187, with Ryan Farrell, the youngest member of the Irish team in Tokyo, at No 458. Top-ranked Irish woman Amanda Mogey is at No 362.

SNOOKER: Josh Boileau of Newbridge CYMS looks like Ireland's best chance of a medal at the World U21 Championships in Al Fujairam, UAE today.

Boileau is drawn at No 2 in his group, and should make the knock-out stages. In with a good chance is David O'Regan of the Crucible, Cork, who is No 3 in his group. Also competing are Daniel Dempsey (Newbridge CYMS), Stephen Bateman (Kilkenny), and David Cassidy (Crucible).

BADMINTON: Bray-based club Nomads took two Leinster inter-club titles recently and now represent their province at tomorrow's Badminton Ireland Inter-League Finals in Baldoyle and Terenure.

In Grade G, Nomads face Moyvane from Munster and NUIG from Connacht. In Grade H, they play Kilmacthomas from Munster and Connacht champions Ballina.

ORIENTEERING: An epic race at the Irish Championships around Lough Firrib in Co Wicklow saw defending champion Marcus Pinker of Cork just edging out 3ROC's Colm Moran. On a tough 17.7km course, the title was decided by three seconds after more than two hours of slog in thick mist. Winning the women's 7.7km race was Maeve O'Grady of DFO. Sweden-based David Healy of GEN returned home to win the middle-distance 5.3km race at Camaderry, with Niamh O'Boyle of CNOC first woman.

TAEKWONDO: Rebecca Mooney from Clontarf became the youngest female medal winner at a European Championships when she won bronze with the Irish junior women's patterns team in Riccione, Italy. The Ireland squad finished third overall of the 30 countries competing, winning six gold, four silver and five bronze medals. Irish winners were Adam Shelly, Ellen Ince, Colm Carroll, Dylan Murphy, Ryan Shelly and the junior men's team, all for sparring.

DUATHLON: Peter Kern led out almost 300 starters at the first Runways Duathlon held in Dublin's Phoenix Park on Wednesday. He finished in 38 mins 57 secs for the 2.5km run, 12km cycle and 2.7km run, with Derek McCormack in second.

Gary Crossan was a close third and first over 40. The first woman was Kim Doyle in 43 mins 41 secs, with Bronagh Rogers second and Jennifer O'Connell third. A few days earlier, Crossan had won a 5km run, 20km cycle, 3km run event in Tinahealy, beating Alexander Williams. Maeve Claffey was first woman. Winners of the Liam Ball Triathlon in Derry were Paul Carroll and Caoimhe Ní Mhurchú.