Tuesday 20 March 2018

Martin denied in uphill battle

CYCLING: Dan Martin's late sprint came up short as Alexis Vuillermoz earned France its first victory on this year's Tour de France, his final kick proving too hot to handle for the big guns in the eighth stage

The AG2r-La Mondiale rider attacked twice in the final climb, a brutal two-kilometre ascent at an average gradient of 6.9 per cent, and countered overall leader Chris Froome less than one kilometre from the line.

The 27-year-old Vuillermoz beat Ireland's Martin (Cannondale-Garmin) by five seconds as Spain's Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) led the top names 10 seconds behind to take third place after a 181.5-km ride from Rennes. Froome still leads Slovakian Peter Sagan (Tinkoff-Saxo) by 11 seconds and American Tejay van Garderen (BMC Racing) by 13.

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CRICKET: Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali led England's charge to a 169-run victory over Australia with a day to spare in the first Test yesterday to make a flying start in their bid to regain the Ashes.

Broad and Moeen took three wickets apiece as Australia, set an improbable target of 412, were shot out for 242 on the fourth day at Sophia Gardens.

Australia collapsed from 97 for one in their second innings on Saturday as wickets tumbled after lunch. Big-hitting Mitchell Johnson bludgeoned 77 to hold Cook's men up but they sealed victory when Josh Hazlewood holed out to long-off.

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IRELAND go into today's World T20 qualifier against the USA in good heart after a win over Namibia on Friday, writes Ger Siggins.

Ireland coach John Bracewell sprang a surprise when promoting Niall O'Brien to open the batting where he scored three centuries early in his career.

It also meant William Porterfield could bat where he does for his county, at No 3, allowing him space between the chores of captaincy and starting his innings.

The Ireland skipper has sometimes been found out early on, including five first-ball ducks over 2011-'12.

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Ireland under 19s got their own World Cup qualifying tournament off to a winning start against hosts Jersey yesterday. Lorcan Tucker made five dismissals in the six-wicket win.

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TRIATHLON: Bryan Keane battled to a 21st place finish at the European Championships in Geneva finishing in a time of 1:57:27 in a race won by Frenchman David Hauss.

Keane produced one of the fastest runs of the day in 33:03, a time which would have been good enough for a top 10 finish if the Cork man could have bridged the gap to the leaders on the bike.

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ATHLETICS: Marcus Lawler finished a disappointing seventh in the final of the men's 200m at the European U23 Track and Field Championships in Tallinn, Estonia. Starting from the third lane, Lawler had defending champion and race favourite Karol Zalewski of Poland in his sights in lane four. He ran a good bend, but was caught for speed in the final metres of the race and finished in 20.94 - well off his best of 20.74 this season.

In the 5,000m, Ireland's Brandon Hargreaves finished 12th in 14:14.76. Winner Ali Kaya, a Kenyan who runs for Turkey, set a championship record of 13:20.16.

Meanwhile, Mark English just about made it through to the 800m final after finishing third in his semi-final in 1:49.94. Karl Griffin qualified from the other semi-final as a fastest loser.

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RACING: Birchwood produced a smart performance to take the bet365 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket.

Always to the fore in the hands of the in-form James Doyle, the Godolphin-owned colt led heading into the final two furlongs and despite drifting to his left, he had enough in the tank to hold market leader Air Vice Marshal.

The Richard Fahey-trained winner (7/1) was bouncing back after being beaten at odds-on last month, scoring in a two-year-old course record.

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SOCCER: Adam Hanlon came off the bench to score the winner as Bray ended their seven-year hoodoo against Derry to register a third SSE Airtricity League Premier Division 1-0 win in a row.

The winger was only on the pitch four minutes when he cut inside from the left flank to fire a blistering 16-yard shot past Ger Doherty in the 76th minute at the Carlisle Grounds last night.

With no win in their last ten League games since last April, the defeat heaped more pressure on under-fire City boss Peter Hutton as they fell five points behind Wanderers.

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Dean Kelly almost inspired an unlikely Longford Town comeback on his debut at the Showgrounds last night.

But despite goals from the half-time substitute and a Mark Salmon penalty, Sligo Rovers' three-goal half-time advantage was just about enough to see them claim a badly-needed three points

The home side, despite missing eight players through injury, produced their best 45 minutes of football to lead 3-0 at the break with goals from David Cawley, Keith Ward and Dinny Corcoran.

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A HAT-trick from Jake Keegan helped Galway United to a 4-2 victory over Limerick FC at the Markets Field yesterday evening.

The American put the visitors ahead on 12 minutes after he began a move which ended with Gary Shanahan crossing to him for a close-range finish. Vinny Faherty equalised against his former club in the 33rd minute, heading home to draw Limerick level.

A succession of excellent saves from 17-year-old Tommy Holland kept the Tribesmen at bay until just after the hour when Padraic Cunningham supplied Keegan with a tap-in to put Tommy Dunne's men back in front. Keegan completed his treble on 73 minutes, slotting past Holland with ease.

Shanahan added a fourth with 10 minutes remaining before Ian Turner's penalty a couple of minutes later made the scoreline more respectable for Limerick.

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GOLF: England's Daniel Brooks battled back from a nightmare start to reclaim the lead in the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open yesterday.

Brooks held a three-shot halfway lead at Gullane after impressive rounds of 64 and 65, but started his round with a double bogey after finding knee-high rough off the tee and needing two attempts to hack his ball back on to the fairway. With France's Raphael Jacquelin six-under for his round after 13 holes Brooks found himself two off the pace, but responded superbly with birdies on the fifth, eight and ninth.

At 12-under par Brooks, who won the Madeira Islands Open in 2014, was one ahead of Jacquelin, who completed a flawless 64 to set the clubhouse target, with Rickie Fowler another shot back.

Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell posted two-over 72s to slip back to six-under par.

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