Fit-again Rankin returns to squad
BOYD RANKIN has been passed fit to return to competitive action and was named yesterday in Ireland's 15-man squad for next week's three T20 internationals against Bangladesh in Belfast.
The big Warwickshire fast bowler has been sidelined since March with a stress fracture of the foot after helping Ireland qualify for the World T20 finals, to be held in Sri Lanka in September.
"These T20s come at the right time for me because four-over spells are ideal as I continue to build up my fitness and strength," Rankin said. "The foot is feeling good -- the initial healing period was 10-12 weeks, but we gave it a further two and I'm benefiting from that."
IRELAND SQUAD -- William Porterfield (cpt) (Warwickshire), Alex Cusack (Clontarf), George Dockrell (Somerset), Trent Johnston (YMCA), Ed Joyce (Sussex), John Mooney (North County), Tim Murtagh (Middlesex), Kevin O'Brien (Railway Union), Niall O'Brien (Northants), Andrew Poynter (Clontarf), Boyd Rankin (Warwickshire), Max Sorensen (The Hills), Paul Stirling (Middlesex), Andrew White (Instonians), Gary Wilson (w/k) (Surrey).
Colin Joyce of the Hot Tubes Team took over as race leader despite finishing fourth on stage four of the Junior Tour on the outskirts of Newport yesterday.
Joyce, from Idaho in the US but with great-grandparents from Belmullet, nudged himself into pole position with two stages remaining. His closest challenger is Curtis White, also of Hot Tubes.
Back in third place is Cormac Clarke of the StenaLine Ireland team, who is best placed of the Irish. Ryan Mullen, a team-mate of Clarke, bounced back with a magnificent stage win after his misfortunes on day two.
Tyson Gay prepared for the anticipated chilly Olympics by winning the 100m at the London Grand Prix in dreary conditions yesterday. The former world champion won in 10.03 seconds, ahead of US compatriot Ryan Bailey and Nesta Carter of Jamaica.
"I'm in pretty good shape, I just need to work on some things with my physio and I should be good to go," Gay said. "I feel I know how to mentally prepare for this type of weather and this was the best place to prepare."
Gay's main rivals for the Olympics were absent. Asafa Powell was forced to withdraw with a groin strain to ensure he is fit for the Games, and Olympic champion Usain Bolt sidestepped the event for tax reasons.
RORY McNamara staged a stunning houdini act to clinch the North of Ireland Open Amateur Championship at Royal Portrush yesterday.
The 23-year-old from Headfort, who spent the winter honing his game in Spain, came back from being three down at the turn to Knock's Michael Sinclair to snatch victory on the home green.
"I am absolutely thrilled, but am looking forward to a bit of a rest right now," said the new champion. "After that, I will be playing in the inter-provincials followed by the European individual championship and then, hopefully, the Home Internationals."