Farney girls conquer Cork
Ladies football: Monaghan denied Cork the five-in-a-row with an outstanding second-half display in the Bord Gáis Energy Division 1 Ladies Football final at Parnell Park yesterday, winning 1-13 t0 2-7.
Claiming their first league title since 1999, Monaghan dominated Cork throughout the second period, but were kept on the edge of their seats when Nollaig Cleary goaled for Cork with 10 minutes left.
Niamh Kindlon slotted an early free and Monaghan then pushed on with their best spell of the half that produced three points in five minutes. However, Cork began to pull themselves back into the game. Orlagh Farmer started a good run for Cork with a point and further scores from Cleary and Murphy ensured that Monaghan led by just 0-6 to 0-5 at half-time.
Kindlon carried on where she left off after the restart with a score to push Monaghan two points clear, but the key score arrived in the 37th minute when Cathriona McConnell goaled for Monaghan.
A run of points from the outstanding McConnell pushed them into a 1-12 to 0-6 lead.
But when Cleary's goal was quickly followed by Valerie Mulcahy's penalty, the lead was whittled down to three points.
But McConnell stepped forward and her fourth point sealed Monaghan's first Division 1 title for 13 years.
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Cora Staunton destroyed Galway to ensure Mayo made an immediate return to the top flight after the Division 2 league final at Parnell Park yesterday, winning 4-17 to 2-7.
The Carnacon starlet kicked 2-11 as Mayo, who were reduced to 14 players when skipper Claire Egan was dismissed in the 39th minute, eased to the title victory.
Points from Tracy Leonard and Geraldine Conneally gave the Tribesgirls a two-point lead early on and they took control when centre-forward Deirdre Brennan took a goal.
Martha Carter got Mayo's second point from play, which was quickly followed by a brace of frees from Staunton. Leonard added a free for Galway, but three unanswered points for the four-time All-Ireland champions sent the sides in level at half-time, 1-5 to 0-8.
Seven minutes after the restart, Trina McNicholas found the net and midway through the half Staunton ended the contest when she rounded the 'keeper and goaled for a 2-11 to 1-5 lead. With 10 minutes left, Fiona McHale punched to the net for Mayo's third goal and Staunton the added another.
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The Leitrim and Westmeath ladies must do it again after an enthralling Ladies Football Division 3 league final ended all square (Westmeath 2-8 Leitrim 1-11) at Parnell Park yesterday.
In a game littered with frees (56 in all) Leitrim had the chance to pick up their first Division 3 title with the last kick of the game, but the otherwise outstanding Aine Tighe narrowly missed the target from an acute angle.
Substitutes Shauna Clancy and Laura O'Dowd had earlier kicked Leitrim into a two-point lead with just five minutes remaining, only for Fiona Claffey and Laura Walsh to kick the midlanders level late on.
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Canoeing: Irishman Eoin Rheinisch has qualified for the Olympic Games for the third time. Rheinisch came fourth in the K-1 slalom final in Beijing 2008, achieving the highest position ever by an Irish competitor in the event.
He finished 12th at the European Canoe Slalom Championships in Augsburg in Germany yesterday to take the first of two Olympic qualification places available to countries who had not already qualified.
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HURLING: Eight times All-Ireland senior medal winner, Henry Shefflin is on the way back towards the inter-county stage.
The 33-year-old played his first bit of competive hurling in over seven months when he turned out as a sub with his club Ballyhale Shamrocks in the Kilkenny senior hurling league yesterday evening.
Shefflin came on for the closing 17 minutes. Shamrocks beat neighbours, Dunnamaggin by 5-18 to 2-8. Shefflin scored two points and made a what could be classed as a good return.
His return was good news for Kilkenny manager Brian Cody who has a batch of players nursing knocks as they plan for their opening game in the Leinster championship in June.
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GOLF: Belvoir Park's Harry Diamond can claim some bragging rights over best pal and world No 1 Rory McIlroy if he wins the Irish Amateur Open at Royal Dublin today.
The 27-year old reigning West of Ireland champion carded five birdies in a joint best-of-the-day 70 to take a one-stoke lead into the final 36 holes of a tournament that McIlroy never won.
"If only I could keep up with Rory," Diamond beamed after finishing with a birdie from 15 feet at the last. "I'm just playing a lot more this year and I'm starting to play okay, so hopefully I can keep it together tomorrow."
Diamond leads by a shot on one-under-par 143 from The Island's 17-year-old Gavin Moynihan (70), American Mike Miller (73) and the impressive Dutch pair of Daan Huizing (70) and Robin Kind (71).
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Spaniard Carlos Del Moral knocked two strokes off his previous best European Tour round and is in control of the Madeira Islands Open with a round to go.
The 26-year-old charged from five behind to three in front with a sparkling nine-under-par 63 to reach 17-under. Joakim Lagergren is second on 14-under, with his fellow Swedes Mikael Lundberg and Magnus Carlsson, Oliver Wilson and Portugal's Ricardo Santos one further back.
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RUGBY: Connacht retained their Junior Interprovincial title with a 13-9 victory over Munster at Castleisland. Greg Flaherty scored the only try of the game for the holders and Robert O'Beirne converted.
O'Beirne also kicked two penalties for Connacht and Ben Martin replied with three penalties for Munster.
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hockey: The Irish Senior Cup finals at Belfield today feature a Leinster against Munster men's decider between Railway Union and Cork Harlequins, while it's an all-Leinster pairing in the women's between UCD and Loreto.
Cork Harlequins ousted Instonians in a seven-goal encounter in the semis yesterday and Railway Union also shaded it against Lisnagarvey by the odd goal in five.
The women's clash between UCD and Railway Union got off to a flyer for the students, Nicola Gray scoring after two minutes. But Railway were back in business three minutes after half-time, the goal coming from Cecelia Joyce. And it was UCD who finished stronger, Chloe Watkins sinking the winner as UCD came out 2-1 on top.
As expected Loreto overcame Queen's University in the other semi, but the 4-1 scoreline was flattering.
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motorsport: Lewis Hamilton lost his Spanish Grand Prix pole position for breaching Formula One rules yesterday, giving Pastor Maldonado first place on the starting grid for what is shaping up to be another unpredictable race.
Hamilton left it to his final flying lap to edge his Williams rival by more than half a second for what appeared to be his third pole position of the season. But McLaren ordered the British driver to stop his car after crossing the line because of a technical glitch, with the team subsequently claiming their driver had insufficient fuel to return to the pits.
Governing body FIA ruled that Hamilton was "excluded" from qualifying results, but allowed to start from last place.
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CRICKET: Terenure caused a major upset in the first round of the Irish Senior Cup when beating Limavady by six wickets. The northerners were dismissed for 66 runs as Ken Brennan ripped through the innings and returned figures of 6-17. Terenure achieved the ask in 16 overs with the loss of four wickets and will be at home to YMCA in the next round.
Robert Forrest hit the biggest total of the day with 154 not out in Clontarf's comfortable win over Cork Harlequins.
Sunday Indo Sport