Cricket: Rankin receives England call-up
BOYD RANKIN has been called into the England squad for the remaining two matches in the series against New Zealand.
Rankin (28) played 37 one-day internationals for Ireland before announcing his retirement last year to pursue an ambition to play for England and concentrate on his county career with Warwickshire.
Ireland fans had retained hopes that Rankin would return for the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, but if he plays just one game for England he will be ruled out of action for four years.
Rankin could make his debut at the Ageas Bowl tomorrow. New Zealand lead 1-0 in the three-match series.
Meanwhile, Leinster Lightning's second one-day RSA inter-provincial of the season dominates the weekend programme with North West Warriors the visitors to Malahide today (10.45).
Although Lightning coach Trent Johnston will not be involved in a playing role, because of an Achilles injury, the return of John Mooney to representative action is more than ample compensation for the tournament favourites.
Irish men's coach Andrew Meredith has not been afraid to ring the changes as he chases World Cup 2014 qualification in Rotterdam later this month.
He has drafted in five players not included in the squad which secured bronze medals at the Champions Challenge in Buenos Aires last year.
They include Phelie Maguire, Jonathan Bell (Lisnagarvey), teenager Peter Brown (Banbridge), Kyle Good (Monkstown) and Alan Sothern (Pembroke Wanderers).
MARIA McCambridge (DSD) and Belfast doctor Paul Pollock (Annadale) will be Ireland's marathon representatives at the World Championships in Moscow in August.
Athletics Ireland controversially hardened the IAAF's flat marathon qualifying times in favour of their own tougher 'A' and 'B' standards, but no one met their 'A' standards of 2:13 (men) and 2:32 (women).
Pollock's 2:16.30 met the IAAF flat standard of 2:17, which was also AAI's men's 'B' standard, and McCambridge's 2:35.28 met their B standard (2:36) and was well inside the IAAF's barometer of 2:43.
THE only Irish boxer to have won a European medal in Minsk is backing the current Irish Elite squad to make an impact in the Belarusian capital.
Lisburn southpaw Brian Magee, a former European champion and WBA World title challenger in the pro ranks, secured silver for Ireland at the 1998 European Championships in Minsk and is optimistic.
"Ireland are one of the top boxing nations in the world and they have that medal-winning experience in major tournaments. I'd be confident they will do well in Minsk," Magee said.