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Thornton in sizzling form

TRIATHLON: Kevin Thornton ended a busy season on a relative high when he finished 16th at the Challenge Bahrain Middle Distance Triathlon where half a million dollars in prize money had guaranteed a stacked field.

In the rough-and-tumble 1.9km swim, Thornton clocked 22 mins 43 secs, putting him just over a minute off the pace set by Dylan McNeice of New Zealand. Next up was the cycle, where Andreas Dreitz was the only competitor to break two hours, with Thornton clocking a respectable 2:08.40. Dreitz was caught on the run by Michael Raelert who finished in 3 hrs 36 mins 4 secs and claimed the $100,000 top prize.

Although temperatures were hitting 35 degrees by mid-morning, Thornton held out to complete the run in 77 mins 52 secs, recording an overall time of 3:53:05.

Locally, Castlepark School in Dalkey hosted the last of this year's juvenile participation triathlons, with more expected in the new year and places on Triathlon Ireand's juvenile academy on offer to the best.

SWIMMING: Antoinette Neamt was named Swimmer of the Meet at the National Short Course Championships in Lisburn after she broke her own Irish senior 1500m freestyle record on the final day of competition. Neamt, aged only 13, knocked almost 8 seconds off her previous best to finish in 16 mins 32.73 secs. That made her the swimmer closest to a world record of the championships. Neamt collected a total of three golds and set two Irish junior records as well as her senior record.

Bethany Carson won all five of her events at the championships - the 100m butterfly, 100m and 200, individual medley and 100m and 200m freestyle. Lydia Kehoe and Ben Griffin won the women and men's 400m individual medley titles, with Kehoe beating Galway's Aoife Shorten, while Griffin held off Andrew Moore, also Galway.

Brendan Gibbons won both the 800m and the 1500m men's titles, with a personal best 8:04.33 in the longer race.

Next up for Irish swimmers is the Dave McCullagh Memorial Meet in March, when the count-down to the World Championships and European Games begins.

SQUASH: Brian Byrne toppled top seed Derek Ryan to win the men's singles title at the Connacht Squash Open in Sligo. Ryan beat Conor O'Shea, Niall Rooney and Keith Moran on his way to the final. On the other side of the draw, Byrne overcame Peter Kenny, Rory Byrne and Steve Richardson, who then beat Moran in the play-off for third place.

BILLIARDS: Wexford's Rodney Goggins, one of the country's top snooker players and the reigning Irish billiards champion, beat local player Larry Drennan to win the fourth round of the national senior billiards series held in the Ivy Rooms, Carlow last weekend. In the semi-finals, Goggins had put out top seed Wayne Doyle of Dun Laoghaire in a repeat of the third round final. On the other side of the draw, Drennan scored the day's high break of 92 on his way to victory over his Ivy Rooms club-mate Aidan Murray in the quarter-finals and then beat Liam O'Brien of Borris-in-Ossary for a place in the final. In the plate final, Joe Doheny beat Cork's Lloyd Myers.

WRESTLING: Members of the Hercules Wrestling Club and their friends will take to the great outdoors on St Stephen's Day for the annual Bull Run - an 5km or 8km jaunt around Bull Island in Clontarf in Dublin, taking in sand dunes and grass as well as roads. All are welcome; register at the Sea Scouts Den on the Bull Island from 11.0am.


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