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Breen boosts title hopes at Rally GB

Craig Breen got his Super World Rally Championship (SWRC) challenge back on track as he won the S2000 category of Rally GB yesterday.

The Waterford driver put in a steady performance to win by over two minutes from Tom Cave, with Yaz Al Rajhi in third.

Breen and co-driver Paul Nagle kept it steady across the six stages yesterday in their Ford Fiesta S2000 and despite a near miss with a deer on Stage 17, Breen went on to win by two minutes and 37 seconds.

The reigning WRC Academy champion has now pushed himself back into contention for a second world rally title in two years. Breen's main rivals, PG Andersson and Hayden Paddon, finished in sixth and seventh respectively.

Hockey

Leinster champions Glenanne were served notice of how difficult it will be to retain their crown as former Glens star Joe Brennan masterminded Three Rock Rovers' 3-1 victory in Tallaght on the opening day of the new season.

Another former Glens team-mate Brendan Parsons unlocked the home defence to create the goal that put Three Rock 2-1 up.

Parsons threaded a precision pass into the danger area for Craig Moore to deflect the ball into the top of the net for a brilliant goal.

Elsewhere, there were first day wins for Monkstown, Corinthians and Pembroke Wanderers.

Cycling

Mark Cavendish won a bunch sprint at the end of stage eight yesterday as John Tiernan-Locke of Endura Racing became the first home rider to win the Tour of Britain since its relaunch in 2004.

Cavendish outsprinted green jersey winner Boy Van Poppel and Fabio Sabatini of Liguigas for possibly his last victory in the rainbow jersey this year, as Tiernan-Locke and his team kept an 18-second race lead over Aussie rider Nathan Haas of Garmin Sharp, with Damiano Caruso third.

An Post's Ronan McLaughlin's aggressive riding earned him a call-up to the Irish team for the World Championships in Holland, where he will line up alongside Nicolas Roche and Dan Martin.

Roche's final race for the Ag2r La Mondiale team before his move to Saxo Bank next season saw the French World Tour team finish 15th in the world team time-trial championship yesterday.

Cricket

GEORGE DOCKRELL became the second Ireland player to be voted ICC Associate Player of the Year when the 2012 awards were announced in Colombo.

The 20-year-old Leinster and Somerset left-arm spinner follows his captain William Porterfield, who accepted the honour in 2009.

In the voting period, Dockrell took 52 wickets at 15.8 for Ireland, including 14 in T20 internationals -- more than any other bowler in the world.

Ireland continue their build-up to the World T20 tournament by facing Bangladesh in a final practice match today ahead of Wednesday's opening group game against Australia.

Irish Independent