Saturday 21 April 2018

Gregan takes European silver

ATHLETICS: Brian Gregan fulfilled the potential he first displayed two years ago when he won a silver medal in the 400m at the European under 23 Championships in Ostrava, Czech Republic yesterday.

Tallaght-born Gregan, 21, ran the race of his life -- finishing on the heels of Nigel Levine, the British winner in 46.10 -- to claim a place on the podium in a time 46.12 seconds, beating his previous best of 46.21 which he ran last year. This was a victory for Gregan's determination and will power after experiencing some bad form and illness in the last year.

Meanwhile, Jessie Barr from Waterford came fifth in the final of the women's 400m hurdles in Ostrava yesterday, in a career best time of 56.61 while Steven Colvert ran a lifetime best time of 20.76 to qualify for the mens' 200m final but, with a first-lane draw, only managed sixth.

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ROWING: UCD won the blue riband senior eight race at the Irish Rowing Championships to deny NUIG/Gráinne Mhaol a third consecutive title.

It was certainly UCD's day yesterday with their women's senior eight also winning in a tightly fought contest with Muckross of Killarney. The crew from Muckross -- a combination of four seniors and four juniors, were the only crew to hold an overlap with the college boat -- but it was not enough and they had to settle for second with Limerick's St Michael's finished third.

In the men's senior scull, it was a stroke-for-stroke race to the line with the experienced Sean Casey of Muckross coming from behind the clinch victory and just pip 17-year-old Paul O'Donovan of Skibbereen to the post.

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TENNIS: Local favourite Robin Soderling will play David Ferrer of Spain today in the Swedish Open final between former champions.

The fifth-ranked Swede routed Tomas Berdych of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-0, dominating from the back of the clay court and sealing the match with an ace. The second-seeded Ferrer easily defeated defending champion Nicolas Almagro 6-1, 6-3 in an all-Spanish semi-final.

Meanwhile, former Davis Cup player George McGill yesterday advanced to the second round of qualifying in the Green Property Irish Men's Open at Fitzwilliam.

The Limerick man, 34, made his sole Davis Cup appearance in July 1998 but today McGill takes on Britain's Harry Meehan with a place in this week'smain draw of the only adult world ranking event held in Ireland this year as the prize.

Tennis Ireland yesterday announced that wild cards for the main draw have been awarded to James Cluskey, former under 18 ace John Morrissey and Greystones teenager Ciaran Fitzgerald.

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CAMOGIE: Champions Wexford will join Cork, Kilkenny and Galway in the last four of the Senior All-Ireland Championship after Cork's hard-fought 0-13 to 1-7 victory over Tipperary removed the Premier girls from the equation.

Wexford continued their improved form of late with a 16-point victory over Offaly at Wexford Park.

Whereas goals were the key to their success last week, they will have been delighted with their points tally on this occasion as they registered 3-19 to Offaly's 1-9.

Galway and Kilkenny played out an entertaining tie in Ballinasloe with the home side edging it by three points in the end, 0-12 to 0-9. Meanwhile, Clare registered their second victory of the campaign by beating Dublin 3-10 to 1-8.

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HOCKEY: The Irish under 18 girls team were beaten 4-1 by Germany yesterday at the European championships in Utrecht but will play-off today with either England or host nation the Netherlands for the bronze medal.

Germany put the Irish under pressure from the start and scored from a penalty corner in the fourth minute. Though Katie Mullan equalised from open play in the 14th this was always a game that Ireland were chasing and the Germans easily pulled away in the second half to seal victory.

Meanwhile, the Irish under 18 boys were held to a 3-3 draw with France in a very open contest. The Irish, though, may be the more disappointed as they held a 3-1 lead thanks to goals from Ian Sloan, Jamie Wright and Peter Brown.

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CYCLING: Thomas Wrona of the Boston-based Hot Tubes team consolidated his position as race leader of the Junior Tour of Ireland yesterday.

His defence of the yellow jersey was put under pressure on a number of occasions. During the 55-mile stage he was unfortunate to puncture three times, twice at critical times at the start and within two miles of the finish.

With a yellow jersey on his back though, and the support from his Hot Tubes Team Wrona held on to his position at the head of field by finishing the stage in 15th place.

The stage was won by Chris Wilkinston of Team GB with Stenaline Ireland's Conor McIlwaine in second spot.

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Snooker: The Republic of Ireland's Fergal O'Brien and Ken Doherty lost 4-1 to China at the quarter-final stage of Snooker's World Cup in Thailand.

Doherty believed China should have been docked a frame as Liang Wenbo started his singles match against Fergal O'Brien without a bow-tie.

"The referee didn't realise it at first and Liang just gets a letter and fine for a dress code violation but he should have been docked a frame," said Doherty.

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CRICKET: Stuart Broad can expect to be named in England's 12 for the first Npower Test against India on Thursday but will have to work hard to make the final cut at Lord's.

Captain Andrew Strauss is well aware of Broad's match-winning qualities but will need to know that the fast bowler is close to his best.

Otherwise, Tim Bresnan -- Broad's likeliest stalking horse for the third seamer's spot -- may yet get the nod. Meanwhile, Ireland batsman Eoin Morgan is expected to start the Test Series.

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