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Students ease past Royals

GAELIC GAMES: It has been a bountiful January for DCU, who took their third inter-county scalp of the month as they saw off Meath by 2-8 to 0-6 at Pairc Tailtean to book a place in the O'Byrne Cup final.

For Meath this result and the drab performance ensures the Royals have plenty of work to do in the next fortnight before commencing their NFL Division Two campaign against Monaghan.

A scrappy first half offered little cheer, with DCU attacker David Kelly providing the only significant glimpses of class. The Sligo forward netted an opportunistic 15th-minute goal after Eoghan O'Gara had flicked a Dean Rock delivery into his path. Meath weren't being allowed spray any quality possession into their forward line and at the opposite end Kelly landed a delightful point as DCU went in 1-3 to 0-3 ahead at the interval.

After the restart Rock slotted a free for DCU and then Kelly somehow manufactured space to slam a splendid 41st-minute goal that nudged the visitors seven clear. DCU closed out the win and they now await the winners of this afternoon's interesting Newbridge tussle between Kildare and Dublin.

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NUI Galway enjoyed a 1-11 to 0-13 Walsh Cup success over an experimental Wexford side at Bellefield, Enniscorthy. Daithi Burke's 29th-minute goal ensured that NUIG only trailed by 0-9 to 1-5 at the interval despite having played into the teeth of a strong wind. After the re-start Niall Burke was effective as the students hit five points in a row before surviving late Wexford pressure.

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Teddy McCarthy got his tenure as Laois manager off to a winning start yesterday, as a couple of late points from Willie Dunphy helped to secure an extra-time 3-13 to 2-14 win over DIT in the Walsh Cup at Rathdowney.

DIT enjoyed wind advantage in the first half and had built up a seven-point lead at the break. But Laois fought back superbly, and a late point from Matthew Whelan brought them level before the final whistle. They were that bit stronger in extra-time with Dunphy capping a fine display with two late clinchers.

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BOXING: Current European light-welterweight champion Ray Moylette crashed out of the Irish Elite Championships at the quarter-final stage at Dublin's National Stadium.

The European No 1 lost 15-11 to Dubliner Martin Wall in three rounds. Moylette, who had his fellow Mayo man, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, supporting him, had an operation on his right hand before Christmas and only had the cast removed this month.

Yesterday's defeat could signal the end of Moylette's dreams of reaching the Olympic Games. The final Olympic qualifier for European male boxers will be held in Turkey in April.

Meanwhile, Ross Hickey had to withstand enormous pressure from Philip Sutcliffe in their 60kg clash before claiming victory.

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athletics: Fionnuala Britton won the IAAF Grand Challenge cross-country over a rain-sodden Greenmount, Co Antrim yesterday. The 27-year-old Kilcoole star beat the British international Gemma Steel for the third time this season with the type of display that won her the European Championship in Slovenia last month.

"I wanted to try and run my own race which is why I went out hard enough and felt strong with a lap to go and was able to push on again," Britton said.

Britton is expected to have two or three more races before the 10,000m in California in May with a view to qualifying for that event in the Olympics rather than the steeplechase.

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RUGBY: Garryowen qualified for the final of the All-Ireland Cup with a 14-3 win over Buccaneers at Dubarry Park. Adam O'Loughlin opened the scoring for the Munster champions with an unconverted try after six minutes, while Jack Carty got the home side's only score of the game with a penalty on the half-hour mark. The only score of the second half came from the boot of Fergal Lawlor midway through the half as Garryowen eased into the final.

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Ballymena ran out 18-15 winners over Old Belvedere in the other semi-final at Anglesea Road yesterday. The wind had a major influence as Ballymena opened the scoring with a ninth-minute try by Ali Fraser.

David O'Hara confidently converted and, with Ballymena asserting, Roger McBurnley added a fantastic try after chasing down his own chip forward. O'Hara dragged the attempted conversion wide, however.

Belvedere eventually woke up when Danny Riordan ran through a dogged Ballymena defence but Andy Dunne's kick went under the crossbar. The home side upped the tempo in the second half, and a Ben Harrison try in the 47th minute and a David Mongan try in the 70th brought them within three points, although both tries went unconverted. However, Ballymena stood strong and held on for the win.

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BASKETBALL: UL Eagles produced a strong final quarter against UCD Marian last night with Scott Kinevane hitting back-to-back three pointers in their 75-68 win at the UL Arena.

The Limerick side, who play Demons in the Superleague Cup final on Friday week, had trailed by seven points heading into the final period with Conor Meaney and Daniel James prominent for UCD.

However, Limerick then upped their intensity with Kinevane tying the game with an outside shot before repeating the feat a few moments later.

Limerick were never troubled after that, but for coach Mark Keenan's former team, Killester, it was another bad defeat with Spain's Salva Camps inspiring Moycullen to a 64-58 win in the other Men's Superleague game played last night.

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