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Schools: O'Connor the hero for Ballymahon

A splendid display of point-scoring from Ruairi O'Connor inspired Ballymahon SS to a 2-17 to 1-5 victory over St Ciaran's, Kells in the Leinster VS SFC 'A' yesterday.

O'Connor bagged eight points over the course of this one-sided affair and his side will now face Offaly's Gallen CS in the next round.

Three frees from O'Connor got Ballymahon off to the perfect start, while a goal and a brace of points from Cathal Gunn gave them a comfortable half-time advantage.

After the break, things didn't get any better for St Ciaran's as they struggled to win possession.

Their distress was compounded three minutes after the restart when Ballymahon broke free for their second goal, Brian Finnerty popping up in the full-forward line to get the vital touch to steer the ball over the goal line.

St Ciaran's responded positively, though, and notched up 1-1. But the fightback was short-lived as Ballymahon added eight further points before the final whistle.

Scorers -- Ballymahon SS: R O'Connor 0-8 (5f), C Cunn 1-2, Finnerty 1-0, A Carberry 0-2, J Reed, F Farrell, G Kelly, D Dolan, K McLoughlin 0-1 each. St Ciaran's: M Brogan 1-1, J Tunney 0-2 (2f), O Reilly, R O'Reilly (1f) 0-1 each.

Ballymahon SS -- G Higgins; J Gill, S Higgins, E Dolan; J Reed, N Caserly, F Farrell; K McLoughlin, D Mulvihill; G Kelly, B Finnerty, C Gunn; D Dolan, P Keegan, R O'Connor. Subs: A Carberry for Kelly (46), R Farrell for Gill (56).

St Ciaran's CS -- J Skelly; K Mcguire, R McMahon, J Baugh; S Farrelly, M Brogan, O Reilly; L Beggy, S Clarke; R Lynch, P O'Connell, Colm McDonagh; R O'Reilly, L Ferguson, J Tunney. Subs: Conor Smith for Ferguson (h-t), L Byrne for O'Reilly (48), A Bridge for Tunney (56).

Ref -- T Donoghue (Longford).


Lotus have revealed that former world champion Kimi Raikkonen made an encouraging start in his first test for the team.

The 32-year-old Finn was testing in Valencia yesterday ahead of his return to Formula One this year after two years in rallying.

Trackside operations director Alan Permane said: "From the first run, he was pretty much there."

Raikkonen said: "It was nice to get back into the car. It's quite a few years since I last drove."

He will drive the team's 2012 car for the first time at Jerez in next month's first pre-season test.


Alastair Cook insists England can still rely on his opening partnership with Andrew Strauss as they try to recover from their dismal batting performance in the first Test against Pakistan.

Cook and Strauss scored just 33 runs between them as their side fell to a 10-wicket defeat.

England were bowled out for 192 and 160.

"It's our job to lay the platform. We didn't do that in Dubai," Cook said. "(But) we can put it right."

He added: "We made some poor decisions as a batting unit. To score runs you have to make good decisions over a long period of time and we didn't do that. The beauty of the next game coming so quickly is that we can put it right."

The match in Abu Dhabi will see Cook and Strauss become just the fourth pair in Test history to open in 100 or more innings together.

Elsewhere, Sri Lanka's Tillakaratne Dilshan has resigned as captain, Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) said yesterday.

Irish Independent