Sunday 21 January 2018

Harrington in title contention

GOLF: Padraig Harrington remains confident of retaining his title despite the rain-affected Iskandar Johor Open being reduced to 54-holes yesterday.

Organisers decided to reduce the $2 million event to three rounds after another thunderstorm lashed the Horizon Hills course.

Harrington had just played one hole and trailed playing partner Sweden's Daniel Chopra by two strokes when the decision was made. Chopra leads the field at 13-under-par with 17 holes remaining.

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The US increased its lead over the International team on day three of golf's Presidents Cup as Tiger Woods won his first point of the competition.

The States won six of yesterday's 10 matches at Royal Melbourne and lead 13-9 ahead of the final day. The Americans took control by winning four of the five morning foursome games before the Internationals won three of the five afternoon fourballs.

The results left the Americans needing only 4 1/2 points from today's final 12 singles matches to win the biennial competition for the fourth straight time.

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Garth Mulroy has another chance of a first European Tour victory after a remarkable turnaround in the Alfred Dunhill Championship at Leopard Creek, South Africa.

The 33-year-old had five successive birdies from the 13th to move two in front after starting the day six behind.

While Mulroy signed for an eight-under-par 64 and moved onto 15 under, compatriot Jbe Kruger saw his four-stroke overnight lead disappear with a 73.

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GAELIC GAMES: Drom-Inch lived up to their favourites tag yesterday as they beat Douglas 5-08 to 2-13 in the Munster Senior Camogie Club Final.

A brace of goals from Mary Looby, added to by goals from Geraldine Kinnane, Niamh Harkin and Catriona Shortt were too much for the young Douglas side. Douglas fought hard in the first half and two points from Claire Shine, four from Katrina Mackey and one from Julia White were scant reward for their efforts.

But Drom, with a goal in the fifth minute from Kinnane, as well as goals from captain Looby and a sucker punch from Harkin led at the break 3-03 to Douglas's 0-7. Douglas gave themselves a huge boost when Aine O'Donovan goaled immediately after the restart and Claire Shine added a brace of points. But Looby's second goal with 13 minutes remaining along with Rosie Kenneallys point-blank save from Katrina Mackey kept the Douglas challenge at bay.

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CRICKET: Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers were closing in on centuries as they batted South Africa into a strong position at the close of the third day of the second Test against the Australians at Johannesburg.

Amla (89 no) and De Villiers (70 no) shared in an unbroken 139-run stand for the fourth wicket as the Proteas ended the day on 229 for three in their second innings -- a lead of 199 with seven wickets remaining.

Australia were left frustrated as Amla and De Villers took control of events. Their 50 partnership came up off 100 balls in the 44th over and the next 50 runs took 11 overs.

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EQUESTRIAN: Tipperary's Shane Breen kept up his strike rate at the five-star World Cup show in Stuttgart, Germany yesterday, with an equal fifth place in the Knock Out competition on Paul Gill's Irish-bred KEC Alicante.

Breen also won Friday's speed class at Stuttgart with the gelding, outpacing French challenger Modena by almost four seconds. Though one of six to make it to the jump-off, the 34-year-old Irishman stopped the clock just under a second slower than Switzerland's Pius Schwizer, who took the Mercedes GLK 350 first prize with a faultless round on the Dutch-bred gelding Verdi III. Denis Lynch and his stallion Contifex also qualified for the Masters, but a rail down in the first round left the combination in ninth place overall. Breen, Lynch and Twomey will compete in today's €185,000 Rolex World Cup Grand Prix.

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RUGBY: Leinster held off a spirited second-half fightback by Melrose in Donnybrook Stadium yesterday evening to run out 42-20 winners -- scoring five tries in the process.

The win secured back-to-back victories in the British & Irish Cup. The Blues had enjoyed a dream start with a well-worked try from hooker Aaron Dundon just two minutes in.

And even though out-half Scott Wight got Melrose on the scoreboard with a penalty three minutes later, Leinster soon had their second try of the evening through Conor Gilsenan. The subsequent conversion was brilliantly slotted over by Leinster No 10 Noel Reid, who was also on hand to kick over two penalties in the 22nd and 31st minutes.

The home side would go on to finish the half in much the same way as they started, as converted tries from Mark Flanagan and Brendan Macken gave them an insurmountable 32-6 mid-way advantage.

Leinster came out of the traps quickly once more in the second period with a 46th minute try from Macken, and despite two excellent tries from the Scottish outfit via backs Allan Dodds and Fraser Thompson, a 64th minute try from replacement Luke McGrath helped Leinster to ease towards victory.

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MUNSTER 'A' kept their hopes of reaching the knockout stages of the British & Irish Cup alive with a convincing and impressive 23-9 away over Welsh side Neath at the Gnoll yesterday.

Neath, who beat the holders Bristol 27-16 at the Memorial Ground in their opening game of the tournament last weekend, have proved to be one of the successful sides in the Welsh Premiership in recent seasons but the visitors proved to strong for them.

Wings Peter O'Mahoney and Simon Zebo crossed for a try in each half to get their Cup campaign back on track after the disappointment of their last minute 6-10 home defeat to English outfit, the Cornish Pirates, last weekend when a controversial penalty try was awarded against Munster.

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BASKETBALL: Underage star Roy Downey turned in a sensational display at Belfield last night as Neptune turned in a blistering second quarter to defeat UCD Marian 98-84. Marian were still in contention when the St Aidan's Leaving Cert student announced his entrance with a staggering array of scores to notch up fifteen points.

Although UCD managed to get back in touch, Downey' schools coach, Ger Noonan, then shot two shots from the outside to kill off the tie.

Meanwhile in Inchicore, Killester overcame Demons on a 100-86 scoreline. With Jermaine Turner forced to sit out a significant amount of time due to foul trouble, Killester saw their 17-point lead whittled down to six with Demons' Niall O'Reilly shooting six shots from the outside before Mario Gomez eventually killed off the tie for Killester.

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hockey: Pembroke Wanderers coasted to a facile 6-0 win over Three Rock Rovers at Grange Road yesterday to go top of the men's Division 1.

YMCA also made their mark by moving into second spot with a 3-1 home win over Corinthians, the goals coming from Alan Dale, Jonny Bruton, Alan Richardson.

Meanwhile, the UCD women's side followed up Thursday's win over Hermes with a hard-earned win over Corinthians to consolidate their place at the top of the table. Loreto made short work of their 3-0 win against Glenanne at Tallaght wrapping it up in the first 20 minutes with two from Nicci Daly and one from Nikki Keegan.

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TENNIS: Andy Murray vowed to let his tennis do the talking at London's O2 Arena this week as he responded to Roger Federer's apparent slur on his winning run in Asia.

Although Murray was not keen to trade barbs yesterday, after Federer questioned his achievements when winning three tournaments in Asia, he isn't hiding from a showdown.

"Hopefully I will get a chance to play against him and we can let our tennis do the talking," Murray said.

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