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Thousand to descend on 'Liffey'!

CANOEING: Close to 1,000 boats will take to the swollen waters of the Liffey at Straffan today for the annual Liffey Descent - the Grand National of the sport.

Ahead of them lies 17 miles of swirling water including 10 weirs, two sets of rapids, a short portage where the paddlers pick up their boat and run with it, and a treacherous stretch of low-lying branches called 'The Jungle'.

Up front, the K2 team of Peter Egan and Jon Simmons are defending the title they won last year and should make it to the Islandbridge finish in under two hours.

Last weekend, Egan finished 16th at the World Marathon Canoeing Championships in Oklahoma - a best-ever result.

In the women's race in Oklahoma, sister Jenny did even better, finishing seventh, also a best-ever. Last year at the 'Liffey', Jenny won the mixed K2 title paired with Martin Kolanda and she aims to retain the title.

In men's K1, Dermot Hudson (pictured) is the defending champion.

DARTS: David Concannon from Roscommon is Ireland's latest continental champion after winning the men's singles at the European Cup in Romania.

Concannon, who began his career playing in youth tournaments, beat Lithuania's Darius Labanauskas 6-5 in a tense final.

In a great week for the Irish, the men's team of Concannon, captain Benny Grace, Sean McGowan and Jason Cullen took bronze.

An Irish women's team just missed out on a medal, while in the Romanian Open which followed the main competition, Seán McGowan, the veteran of the squad, picked up a medal for reaching the last 16.

RUGBY LEAGUE: Players who took part in the recent schools match between Leinster and Ulster make up the bulk of the Ireland under-19 squad playings its first first international matches at this level.

Matches against Scotland and Wales will be held as curtain-raisers to European Championship fixtures later this month.

The Irish U19 team plays Scotland at home in Tallaght Stadium on Saturday, October 25 before travelling to Wrexham to play Wales on November 2.

BADMINTON: Sian Williams proved best of the Irish at the European Seniors Championships in Portugal when she won a bronze medal in the over-50 women's singles.

In her semi-final, Williams went out to eventual winner Lone Knudsen of Denmark in straight sets.

Williams and Pam Peard, who are the current world champions and were the No 1 seeds, went out in the quarter-finals of the women's doubles to Helle Sjoering and Annette Vollertzen of Denmark.

Peard paired up with Nils Carlson of Sweden in the mixed doubles and they made it as far as the quarter-finals.

TRIATHLON: Irish professional triathlete Eimear Mullan has won Ironman Mallorca for a second time, finishing in 9 hrs 24 mins 17 secs.

While the tough course meant her own Irish Ironman record was untroubled, she pulled off a brilliant run of 3 hrs 10 mins 26 secs for victory.