Dockrell provides some late cheer
GEORGE DOCKRELL struck twice in two balls to give Ireland some late cheer in Sharjah, but the United Arab Emirates will be confident of hanging on for a draw after a frustrating third day of the InterContinental Cup clash.
Ireland went wicketless for two sessions on a pitch that isn't so much dead as buried and, despite five wickets falling after tea, the home side reached stumps on 302-6, still trailing by 287 runs.
Overnight pair Khurram Khan and Arshad Ali proved immovable for more than four hours before Trent Johnston had the former lbw for 115 in the first over with the new ball immediately after tea. It was the big seamer's 249th wicket for Ireland and rarely has he worked harder for one.
Arshad fell five short of his century when he lifted Dockrell to mid-on and the left-arm spinner was on the money again next ball when Shaiman Anwar padded up to a straight one.
The match might have followed a very different course if wicketkeeper Gary Wilson had held on to a diving one-handed chance offered by Ashard off Mooney in the penultimate over before lunch when he was on 42.
TWO-TIME Olympic medallist Paddy Barnes crashed out of the Grand Prix in the Czech Republic with a nose injury.
The Belfast fighter, who had moved up to flyweight for the tournament, was retired by the doctor in the third round of his quarter-final against Kazakhstan's IIyas Sulimenov. Ireland head coach Billy Walsh revealed afterwards that Barnes had escaped with bad bruising.
Darren O'Neill lost 8-5 to another Kazakhstan fighter, Olympic light-heavy silver medallist Adilbek Niyazymbetov.
There was also disappointment for Ross Hickey, who broke his left forearm in the second round of his quarter-final victory, leaving Sean McComb as the sole remaining Irish hope.
World No 1 Judd Trump suffered a shock first-round defeat in the PTC Grand Finals in Galway as Alfie Burden sprung a huge surprise.
Victory saw Burden, a lowly 55 in the rankings, reach the last 16 of a full ranking event for only the second time in his career and the first since 1997.
Trump, who followed world No 2 Mark Selby out of the tournament, mustered a best break of 44 and made a number of mistakes around the table, while 36-year-old Burden impressed with breaks of 76 and, in the deciding seventh, 116. Ken Doherty went down 4-2 to Norwegian Kurt Maflin, while four-time world champion John Higgins was knocked out 4-2 by Ali Carter.
IRELAND moved up to joint-third in the European Nations Cup at Sotogrande thanks largely to Ballymena's Dermot McElroy, who shot an almost flawless three-under-par 69.
Reeve Whitson posted a solid 72, while Rory McNamara shot a 73, which left Ireland discarding the card of reigning British amateur champion Alan Dunbar, who took 75, leaving Ireland six shots behind leaders France.