Monday 19 March 2018

Breen blitz seals €500,000 prize


Waterford driver Craig Breen scored a tremendous victory in the FIA World Rally Championship Academy at the weekend, clinching a prize valued at €500,000 on the final stage of the final rally of the series, Wales Rally GB, and ensuring him a place at next year's WRC events.

At the end of three days of high-speed driving through the Welsh forests, the 21-year-old was the clear winner of the Academy section of the final WRC event of the year, leaving him tied on points with his Estonian rival Egon Kaur.

The tie-deciding mechanism was the number of fastest stage times scored in all of the year's rallies, and Breen triumphed in style.

As they set out on the final day, Breen was more than four minutes clear of Kaur, but the Estonian began the weekend with a 20-point lead.

With a seven-point difference between first and second places, the Waterford man needed bonus points for best time on each stage, and after the first two days, he had picked up nine of the 11 possible stage wins against none for Kaur.

However, the Baltic driver opened the final day with a bang, upping his pace to take the opening stage, and leaving Breen with the demanding target of needing every one of the remaining five points available, which he managed to achieve.

After his title was confirmed, Breen said: "I can't find words to describe this moment. For sure it's the most amazing feeling to finally get here after all the effort we've put in."


UL coach Mark Keenan enjoyed his first win against former side Killester with a 80-68 triumph in the SuperLeague.

Keenan's task with the Eagles is to figure out a way of dethroning the reigning champions and this win will certainly have made that goal seem more attainable.

"For UL to beat Killester is a bit of a monkey off the back. Personally, I'm just really happy that we won. It doesn't really matter who it is against," Keenan said.

UCC Demons pulled off an impressive 76-65 win at DCU Saints, Neptune hammered Belfast Star 99-80 and UCD Marian beat Moycullen 84-65 on Saturday.


The Ireland Women's team arrived in Bangladesh over the weekend ahead of their opening match in the World Cup qualifying competition.

Captained by Isobel Joyce, Ireland are in Group B alongside West Indies, whom they meet today, Pakistan (tomorrow), Japan (Thursday) and the hosts (Friday), bidding for one of four places in the finals in India in 2013.

The squad is coached by former Ireland opener Jeremy Bray, with Trent Johnston as his assistant.

Apart from the captain, big things are expected from her sister Cecelia, Clare Shillington, Jill Whelan, 15-year-old Kim Garth and 13-year-old leg-spinner Elena Tice.

Squad -- Isobel Joyce (capt), Laura Cullen, Laura Delany, Kimberley Garth, Cecelia Joyce, Shauna Kavanagh, Amy Kenealy, Louise McCarthy, Eimear Richardson, Melissa Scott Hayward, Clare Shillington, Elena Tice, Mary Waldron, Jill Whelan.

Irish Independent

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