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Athlete faces doping claim

Athletics Ireland confirmed yesterday that it has been advised of an alleged anti-doping rule violation by an Irish athlete following an adverse finding in a test taken in December.

Reports yesterday named marathon runner Martin Fagan as the athlete in question. AI said in an official statement that the matter will now be the subject of a hearing before the Irish Sport Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel. This hearing is expected to take place in Dublin tomorrow with Fagan in attendance.

The Olympic hopeful's A sample returned an adverse finding following an out of competition doping test taken in Arizona where he has been based for training since 2007. Prior to that, Fagan attended Providence College in Rhode Island. In 2006, he finished second in the NCAA 10,000m and then in 2008 he won the 5,000m National title.

Fagan has already competed at an Olympic Games. In January 2008, he qualified for Bejiing after running 2.14.06 in the Dubai marathon. However, at the Games, he was struck down with an Achilles injury and was forced to drop out halfway through the race. Since then, the 28-year-old has failed to finish a marathon.

Last August, the Mullingar man was home to race in the 10,000m at the National Track and Field championships but, once again, he failed to finish the race. In both 2009 and 2010, he received grants from the Irish Sports Council amounting to €24,000.

Despite the series of failures in the last four years, Fagan was still viewed as a potential competitor for the London Olympics and was targeting a qualifying time of 2.15.00.

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GAELIC GAMES: A goalscoring return for Paddy Bradley from a cruciate ligament injury capped a productive night for Derry as they made it two wins from two against Jordanstown with a 1-16 to 0-14 win in Section C of the McKenna Cup last night at Celtic Park.

UUJ opened the scoring before Derry raced into a 0-8 to 0-3 lead, but scores from Paul Devlin and Diarmuid McNulty saw the Poly close the gap to 0-8 to 0-5 at the interval.

After the break the students showed plenty of endeavour and they still only trailed by 0-10 to 0-8, midway through the half.

But Bradley's intervention, in palming home on 52 minutes after an intricate move, proved decisive.

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Kilkenny hurler Eddie Brennan has retired from inter-county hurling.

The forward made his debut in 2000 and, since then, has won eight All-Ireland senior medals, 10 Leinster Championships and four National League titles.

He is ending his career on a high as Kilkenny regained the Liam MacCarthy Cup in September, beating their rivals Tipperary by four points in the All-Ireland final. Brennan's son, Harry, was born the week of last year's final and, since then, retirement has been on his mind.

He is following in the footsteps of county teammate James 'Cha' Fitzpatrick, who decided to call it a day last year.

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John Maughan's NUIG claimed a third victory on the trot in the Connacht FBD League at Ballyforan last night beating London 1-11 to 0-8.

Another success over Sligo IT next Sunday will earn the students a place in the decider and they were never in trouble against London as they went in 0-9 to 0-2 ahead at the interval.

London hit three points in a row after the restart, but NUIG's Ian Galvin crashed a splendid 40th minute goal to seal the deal.

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rugby: A strong second-half showing proved decisive as Belfast Harlequins recorded their sixth victory of the Division 1B league campaign with a comprehensive 39-22 victory over UCD yesterday.

Harlequins started well with a penalty from Stuart Olding, who also converted a Rory Scholes try in the opening quarter.

The Students then responded with a penalty from out-half Niall Earls and a well-taken try from Danny Kenny, but Harlequins struck back with a penalty from Olding to give them a 13-10 half-time lead.

UCD played some good rugby in the second half but further 'Quin tries from Scholes, Michael Allen, Matt Holmes and Ali Heatlie meant that the Northerners secured five valuable points.

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TENNIS: Ireland's Louk Sorensen put in a gallant effort but just came short in the semi-finals of the ITF Futures event in Schwieberdingen, Germany yesterday.

The British No 2 seed Josh Goodall came away with the victory, however he was pushed all the way in the match by unseeded Sorensen before scraping through to the final on a 7-6 (14/12) 7-6 (7/3) scoreline.

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BASKETBALL: It was a good night for the Limerick teams in last night's Superleague Cup semi-finals, which were played at the Neptune Stadium.

In the Men's Superleague semi-final, Eagles overcame Killester in over-time after Robert Taylor had missed the chance to win it for Limerick in normal time, 66-66.

Killester were to move four points ahead but after Scott Kinevane and Jason Killeen had tied the game for Limerick, Matt Hall then offloaded to Taylor who recorded the winning basket from the edge of the key to hand Limerick a 75-73 win.

In the Women's Superleague semi-final played before that game, UL defeated Glanmire 71-59, with baskets from Miriam Liston and Rachel Clancy edging them 49-47 in front heading into the final quarter.

And with Rachel Vanderwal scoring off an impressive assist from Michelle Fahy, UL never looked back in the fourth with Glanmire missing two good chances to close the gap.

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