Thursday 26 April 2018

McKeon seals Lansdowne win

RUGBY: Replacement Conor McKeon was the hero on the Aviva Stadium's main pitch yesterday as his injury-time penalty helped Lansdowne beat Clontarf 9-6 in an AIL Division 1A clash.

The hosts opened the scoring five minutes in with a 30-metre Scott Deasy penalty. Lansdowne caused a number of problems for the 'Tarf defence in the early exchanges, but the visitors weathered the storm and No 10 David Joyce restored parity from a routine close-range kick.

Four minutes later, Clontarf had to withdraw left-winger Michael Brown through injury, but brought a 6-3 cushion into the second period. In the finale, Joyce had a brace of opportunities, but he failed to add to his haul, and this let McKeon snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

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Tries in either half proved key for St Mary's College at Anglesea Road yesterday, as the 2011/12 champions registered their opening victory of the new campaign.

Old Belvedere broke the deadlock with a penalty from Josh Glynn, but thanks to a try by right-wing Conor Toolan, Mary's held a slender 7-3 interval advantage.

Full-back Gavin Dunne provided the extras to Toolan's contribution, and when Mary's forced a penalty try after the restart, the dependable No 15 added another conversion.

A Peter Robb touchdown for Belvo made matters tense, but after letting their last two games slip from their grasp, St Mary's held out to win 14-10.

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Rising Leinster star Adam Byrne was in fine form at Belfield yesterday as UCD returned to winning ways with a 32-12 bonus-point success over Dolphin.

Byrne has already featured at provincial level and his brace of tries, in addition to five-pointers by Sam Coghlan-Murray, James Harrison and Ross Byrne, ensured College were emphatic victors.

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TWO tries in the final 10 minutes from captain Jean de Villiers earned South Africa an untidy 28-10 bonus-point victory over Australia in their Rugby Championship match at Newlands.

The Boks were below par but kept scrapping and incessant pressure in the closing stages paid off as De Villiers grabbed a double and flyhalf Pat Lambie another try to punish a tiring Australia to the relief of the crowd in a stadium where the Wallabies have not won since 1992.

Marcell Coetzee got the opening try for the home side with fly-half Handre Pollard adding a penalty and his replacement Lambie a drop-goal and a conversion to go with his try. Australia, who were the better side for 60 minutes, scored a try through winger Adam Ashley-Cooper and a conversion and penalty from fly-half Bernard Foley.

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Hockey: Reigning champions Monkstown along with Three Rock Rovers and Pembroke Wanderers have set their markers as this season's principal contenders in the Men's Leinster League campaign. The trio all won yesterday, but it was Monkstown who came through the toughest of struggles against visitors Railway Union with a 3-2 victory. Rathgar and Avoca, both looking for their first league point, came close to achieving that aim, losing by just the odd goal in their 2-1 and 4-3 defeats to Glenanne and YMCA respectively.

In the Leinster women's campaign Trinity chalked up a highly creditable scoreless draw away to Railway Union, while North Kildare nearly matched it against Pembroke who eventually won 1-0 with a second-half goal, while Hermes got back to winning ways with a 3-1 win over Old Alex.

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Tennis: Rafael Nadal will return to action at the China Open this week for the first time since his shock Wimbledon loss to Nick Kyrgios.

Nadal was forced to take an extended break due to a wrist injury but is eager to return with the ATP Tour Finals in London fast approaching.Nadal will start his Beijing campaign against Richard Gasquet.

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Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova became the fourth player to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore after beating Eugenie Bouchard 6-3 6-4 to win the Wuhan Open yesterday.

The winner of the re-match of this year's Wimbledon final was assured of a place in Singapore, and Kvitova prevailed again, breaking early in both sets and hanging onto those breaks to win in straight sets.

The Czech world No3 took 80 minutes to tame her Canadian opponent and join Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep, who have already booked their places in Singapore.

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Andy Murray claimed an impressive victory over Juan Monaco at the Shenzhen Open in China to reach his first final since becoming the 2013 Wimbledon champion.

The 27-year-old Scot was made to work hard, losing the first set before a turnaround saw him take charge of the second and win nine games in a row for a 2-6 6-3 6-0 win over his Argentinian opponent. The victory for Murray, who is seeded second, boosts his bid to qualify for the ATP World Tour Finals as he chases points as well as his 29th career title. He plays Tommy Robredo in today's final.

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Australian RULES: The Hawthorn Hawks ploughed their way to a 63-point upset win over heavy favourites Sydney in the Australian Football League Grand Final in Melbourne yesterday.

Hawks captain Luke Hodge won the Norm Smith medal as best on ground, and forward Jarryd Roughead kicked five goals as the Hawks marched to a third title in seven years.

The 137-74 victory was among the sweetest of the Melbourne team's 12 premierships in top-flight Australian Rules football, coming after a year in which key players spent long spells injured and the head coach Alastair Clarkson missed five matches after falling ill.

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Racing: Elm Park relished every yard of the mile trip to claim the Group Two Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket.

The colt looked to be one of the first of the market principals to be feeling the pinch as Andrea Atzeni was at work quite a way from home.

Up front, Salateen had taken them along, with 5-4 favourite Nafaqa in close attendance. The latter finally mastered the Jamie Spencer-ridden leader as they began to meet the rising ground, but just as it looked like he would go on to take the Group Two prize, the 11-4 winner finished with a real rattle.

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