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Doyle guides Irish to Fed Cup glory

AFTER five years of campaigning in the basement level of Group Three, Ireland's women's team had cause for celebration when they secured promotion to Group Two of the Fed Cup in Tallinn.

After wins over Iceland and Malta, Yvonne Doyle's charges ensured their participation in the higher level of the Europe-Africa Zone in 2015 by edging Greece on a 2-1 margin in the promotion play-off on Saturday.

Ironically, it was also in the Estonian capital where Ireland suffered relegation back in 2008, and they have since experienced unsuccessful campaigns in Egypt on three occasions, and in Malta and Moldova once apiece.

Initially, the omens looked far from favourable for Doyle, who played in the 2008 Fed Cup series when they lost the first singles and the first set of the second singles.

Despite posting a personal best, Irish snowboarder Seamus O'Connor missed out on qualification for the Winter Olympic final in Sochi.

O'Connor posted scores of 60.75 and 70.25 which put him in ninth position (out of 21) in the battle for the four remaining final places. The 16-year-old from San Diego landed a triple cork on his final jump but came up 15 points shy.

Elsewhere, Britain ended their 90-year wait for an Olympic medal on snow as Jenny Jones won a bronze in the snowboard slopestyle event.

Bord Gais Neptune put a halt to C&S UCC Demons' undefeated run in the Men's Premier League with an 84-78 victory in the much-anticipated Cork derby.

The sides were level at 37 apiece by half-time in the packed out Neptune stadium, with C&S UCC Demons building leads of 17 and 19, but Neptune won thanks in part to Ger Noonan's late deployment.

Dublin Inter returned to winning ways, coming away with a 75-72 away win at UCD Marian while UL Eagles recorded a 65-62 victory over DCU Saints despite 15 turnovers.

LONDON 2012 bronze medallists Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan will help sharpen up London 2012 gold medallist Katie Taylor for her European title defence.

Taylor's coach and dad, Pete Taylor, said that Barnes, who is ranked No 3 in the world at flyweight, is due to train at their club in Bray this week.

Conlan, who is ranked No 2 in the world at bantamweight, is also being lined up to spar with the World No 1 lightweight.

Senior international Chloe Brown knocked in two goals to secure an U-21 inter-provincial double for Ulster in Dublin yesterday.

The men from the north already had their title secured, thanks to Owen Magee's winner against Leinster on Saturday, but Ards striker Brown's brace knocked the stuffing out of the hosts in the women's event to put the icing on the cake.

Irish Independent