Faultless Butler lands top prize
Newly-crowned Irish national champion Alexander Butler won the second leg of the Gain/Alltech Grand Prix League series at Kernan's Equestrian Centre in Crossmaglen yesterday.
There were 26 starters vying for the €3,000 prize fund, but only three managed to stay clear over Tom Holden's first-round course. Butler -- who opened the competition with a foot-perfect run from Raymond Donohoe's Carton Free -- was fault-free again second time out.
Kilkenny rider Eddie Moloney, the 2010 national champion, was next into the decider with Tom McGurk's Macushla. They put in a fast time but left one on the floor. And when Peter Smyth and Alan Campbell's Willem also collected four faults, it was 23- year-old Butler from Kells who claimed the bulk of the prize-money.
Smyth however heads the leaderboard going into the third round of the eight-leg series at Eglinton in Derry next Sunday, having finished runner-up behind Gabriel Slattery and Captain's Magic Touch at the opener in Cavan two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, Shane Breen finished fifth in the three-star Grand Prix at Moorsele in Belgium yesterday. Riding Luikka, he had a fence down in the 10-horse second-round jump-off dominated by Spain's Pilar Cordon and Corlana van Klapscheut.
And at Osberton International Horse Trials in England yesterday, Mark Kyle finished 10th in the CCI one-star with Loughton Pearl.
Lethal Killester begin title defence in style
CHAMPIONS Killester got their title defence -- and the reign of coach Darren O'Neill -- off to an impressive start with a huge 90-63 victory over Belfast Star, who were without their incoming American Tyson Johnson.
Fellow US native Ron Thompson scored 28 points on his debut as new Neptune coach Mark Scannell also got off to the perfect start as his charges comfortably disposed of UL Eagles courtesy of a 78-62 win at the Neptune Stadium.
Shawn Atupem repaid the faith UCC Demons showed in him by contributing 30 points in their 83-60 win at home to Moycullen, while DCU Saints edged out UCD Marian 68-61 in an entertaining clash at the DCU Sports Centre.
In the Women's Superleague, UL enjoyed a comfortable start to the season as Aoife McDermott netted 20 points in a 74-44 defeat of Meteors.
Niamh Dwyer marked her competitive return for Glanmire with 20 points to help her team to a 59-40 win over Dynamos.