Saturday 24 March 2018

Cleary inspires Galwegians

John Cleary was the hero as his two tries inspired Galwegians to a 31-26 victory over arch-rivals Corinthians
John Cleary was the hero as his two tries inspired Galwegians to a 31-26 victory over arch-rivals Corinthians

RUGBY: John Cleary was the hero as his two tries inspired Galwegians to a 31-26 victory over arch-rivals Corinthians in Crowley Park yesterday to claim the Connacht Senior Cup for the third year in a row.

The sides were level 14-14 at half-time with Cleary touching down for the home side before Corinthians out-half Conor Murphy grabbed two tries of his own. Rory Parata scored Galwegians' second try just on the stroke of half-time.

Galwegians took control of proceedings in the second-half with Colin Conroy and Brian Murphy crossing for the home side before Cleary grabbed his second of the day with just 15 minutes remaining. Corinthians scored two late tries through Craig Flaherty and Aaron Conneely but Galwegians held on to secure victory in a thrilling game.

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Six-try Northampton reasserted their Aviva Premiership title credentials by fending off Bath 43-25 to maintain second spot with their sixth straight league victory.

George Pisi, Jamie Elliott, Samu Manoa and George North backed up a try brace for lock Christian Day as Saints denied Bath their 12th consecutive win in all competitions. The league's most accurate goalkicker Stephen Myler added 13 points to ensure Bath left Franklin's Gardens without even a losing bonus point.

Bath raced into a 13-0 lead thanks to Kyle Eastmond's try and two penalties and a conversion for George Ford. But the Blue, Black and Whites' best record in a decade came crashing down as Northampton scored twice to turn the game when Bath prop Paul James was in the sin-bin.

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BASKETBALL: Having let slip a sizable lead to Demons last week, Killester returned to winning ways as Limerick's worrying form continued at the UL Gym last night.

UL Eagles had got it back to six points in the third quarter but successive three-pointers from Robbie Clarke saw Killester pull away to win 100-88, with Michael Bonaparte punishing them on the inside.

Killester return to the top, albeit for a few hours with Demons playing Moycullen today, and the Leesiders will hope to avoid a performance turned in by neighbours, Neptune. Neptune turned up at the DCU gym without a set of shorts, which were provided by opponents Vincent's. That however is where Saints' charity ended as they continually out rebounded their opponents.

And by the time Arkadijs Makarenko had dropped a three-pointer right on the buzzer of the three quarter, the game had long ended as a contest, with Neptune's American Darren Townes benched early in the fourth as Saints ran out comfortable 96-50 winners.

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TENNIS: Novak Djokovic successfully defended his Mubadala World Tennis Championship title yesterday with victory over David Ferrer in the final in Abu Dhabi.

Serbian Djokovic claimed a 7-5 6-2 win over Ferrer, who had beaten fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals, to take a third triumph at the event at Zayed Sports City.

Nadal responded from the defeat to beat Frenchman Jo-Wilfred Tsonga 7-6 6-3 in the third-placed contest.

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Hosts Australia were beaten 2-1 by Canada and top seeds Poland defeated Italy on the opening day of the Hopman Cup in Perth.

Milos Raonic beat Bernard Tomic 7-6 (8/6) 6-1 in the men's singles rubber to give Canada a 1-0 lead against Australia. Eugenie Bouchard then gave Canada an unassailable 2-0 lead with a 4-6 6-2 6-3 win over Sam Stosur. The Australians responded by winning the mixed doubles in straight sets, 6-2 6-4.

Poland, led by Agnieszka Radwanska, claimed an impressive opening-round 3-0 victory over the Italians.

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CRICKET: Jacques Kallis edged towards a century in his final Test as South Africa moved into a promising position on day three of the second match against India.

Kallis announced that he would bring down the curtain on his Test career on Christmas Day and was given a guard of honour as he walked to the crease in the morning session.

He then went on to make 78 not out as South Africa reached 299 for five in reply to India's first-innings total of 334 before rain ended play for the day in Durban. The all-rounder put on 127 for the fourth wicket with AB de Villiers as the hosts recovered from three quick wickets to take the initiative.

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PAKISTAN paceman Umar Gul should have been given more time to regain fitness after knee surgery rather than being called back into Test action against Sri Lanka, fast bowling great Waqar Younis has said.

"I don't think Umar should be playing in the Test series, he is not ready as yet for the longer version of the sport," Waqa said. "I am afraid for him because I think he needs more time and he should have played more domestic cricket before being pushed back into Test cricket."

The 29-year-old Gul underwent knee surgery in Melbourne in May after getting injured during Pakistan's tour to South Africa.

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BASEBALL: Texas Rangers have said they signed South Korean outfielder Choo Shin-soo on a hefty contract for his versatility and will use him mostly as their lead-off hitter and in left field.

"My intention is to lead him off... (and) put him in left, but he also brings versatility, so you may see him in centre, you might see him in right. He gives us options," said Texas manager Ron Washington.

Choo signed a seven-year deal worth $130m -- the second-highest contract to a free agent by Rangers behind Alex Rodriguez.

Irish Independent

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