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Illness forces O'Sullivan out

World No 51 Xiao Guodong defied a broken hand to dump Judd Trump out in the second round of the PTC Grand finals in Galway and reach the first quarter-final of his career.

But there was disappointment for Galway snooker fans as Ronnie O'Sullivan withdrew from his scheduled second-round match against Ricky Walden with glandular fever.

Chinese player Guodong stormed to a 4-2 win despite ignoring doctors' advice not to play snooker after breaking a bone in his hand while sleeping awkwardly three weeks ago.

O'Sullivan's withdrawal was accepted by tournament officials and sends Walden through to the quarter-finals where he will play Stephen Maguire, who beat Mark Davis 4-2. Earlier, Mark Selby moved through to the last eight with a 4-1 win over Ding Junhui.

boxing

European champion Joe Ward will meet Russian 2009 AIBA World champion Egor Mekhonstev in today's Chemistry Cup light-heavyweight final in Halle, Germany.

The Moate BC clubman booked his ticket into the battle of the southpaws following a 15-8 win over Carlos Gongora of Ecuador last night. Ward (18) is ranked No 3 in the world going into today's clash, while Mekhonstev is ranked No 4.

Meanwhile, Michael Conlan, David Oliver Joyce, Paddy Barnes and Adam Nolan had to settle for Chemistry Cup bronze following semi-final defeats yesterday.

EQUESTRIAN

St Patrick's weekend kicked off in style for Irish riders, with a win for Shane Sweetnam in Florida on Thursday night and a strong third place for Jessica Kuerten at the stylish 5-Star Saut Hermes event in Paris yesterday, where young Alex Duffy was also in the limelight.

From a field of 46 starters, US-based Corkman Sweetnam was one of 12 into the second-round jump-off for the WEF Challenge Cup and produced the quickest of just two double-clear performances with a great ride on the stalwart Amaretto Darco.

Last to go, the Irish duo pipped America's Tiffany Foster and Viktor by more than a second.

At the Grand Palais in Paris yesterday, Mayo rider Duffy steered Carl Hanley's nine-year-old Antello Z into sixth in the Talents Hermes U-25 Speed competition. And senior team member, Kuerten, followed with a great round from her Amsterdam Grand Prix winner Vincente, to slot into third in the Speed event.

Irish Independent