Tuesday 20 March 2018

In Brief: Australia left to lick wounds

RUGBY: Frederic Michalak triumphed on his home return as he inspired Les Bleus to a 33-6 demolition of Australia to end a five-match losing streak against the Wallabies last night.

Michalak, who had not played on home soil in a French shirt since a Six Nations game against Ireland in 2010, was replaced in the closing stages to a standing ovation after kicking 15 points and brilliantly setting up Wesley Fofana for France's second of three tries.

Philippe Saint-Andre's side relied on an utterly dominant scrum but also the raw power of Louis Picamoles, who scored the first try, to prevail against Australia with also a penalty try and a Morgan Parra penalty.

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Lorenzo Cittadini and Leonardo Ghiraldini scored tries as Italy edged out an aggressive Tonga side 28-23 in Brescia yesterday.

The front-row duo went over in the first half and their efforts, in addition to a penalty try, proved enough for the Azzurri to open their autumn schedule with a battling victory. Tonga fought hard and Fetu'u Vainikolo went over for a score after latching on to a diagonal kick with 13 minutes to go, but Italy held on.

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Brian Du Toit was the hero in College Park yesterday afternoon, as his 74th- minute try helped Dublin University to maintain their winning start to the Ulster Bank League Division 1B with a dramatic victory over an impressive Malone in a nail-biting encounter.

Du Toit broke free for a try that was expertly converted by Marsh and it proved to be the decisive score seven minutes from time to maintain Trinity's 13-month unbeaten league run.

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BASKETBALL: For the second week running, Moycullen required overtime to see off their opponents as the Galway men continued their revival under player coach Salva Camps.

Moycullen looked to have secured victory over Vincent's in normal time before Pat Glover landed a basket with three seconds to go.

But in a game that saw Patrick Sullivan (40 points) in excellent form on the inside, Moycullen pulled away to win 88-79 following late baskets from Cian Nihill and Paul O'Brien. Meanwhile, both Scott Kinevane (UL) and Robbie Clarke (Killester) were ejected from the court at the IWA as UL overcame a home side (89-71) still without the services of Jermaine Turner.

Dublin Inter, having put on the full press in the final quarter, almost pulled off a shock against leaders Demons but baskets from Shane Coughlan were to prove crucial for the visitors in their 74-69 win.

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GAELIC GAMES: Limerick champions St Kieran's were always in control as they qualified for the semi-final of the Munster Junior hurling championship in a game switched from Feenagh to the Gaelic Grounds, running out 0-14 to 1-2 winners over Kilsheelan-Kilcash of Tipperary.

Limerick had the first three points but the game's only goal was scored by Eddie Sweeney for the Tipp side to tie it up after 10 minutes.

St Kieran's went on to lead by 0-9 to 1-1 at the interval and they had the best sharpshooter in Donie Nolan who scored nine of their points, seven from frees, in a one-sided affair.

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Kerry champions Ballyduff came from behind to force extra-time with Limerick champions Ballybrown, before taking over and reaching their second Munster Intermediate Club hurling final in a row at a wet Kilmallock yesterday afternoon.

Ballybrown looked to be coasting to victory when Alan O'Connor gave them a 0-13 to 1-6 lead.

But the Kerry side, and in particular the Boyle brothers -- man of the match Liam, Aiden, Mikey and Padraig -- resurrected their challenge and a storming final five minutes saw Aidan Boyle set up Gary O'Brien for a goal and Bobby O'Sullivan levelled from a free.

Ballyduff added five unanswered points in the opening period of extra-time, two from the precocious Padraig Boyle. Ballybrown could only muster a single second-period point from Andrew Cliffe as Ballyduff completed a magnificent victory. They will face Silvermines (Tipperary) in next Sunday's Munster final.

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Stradbally collected their eighth Waterford football title in twelve years under the Fraher Field floodlights last night as they saw off the challenge of The Nire in the county final replay by a score of 1-8 to 0-10.

After a thrilling final that flowed from end to end, a point from substitute David Grey in injury time ultimately proved decisive. Waterford senior hurler Michael Walsh was named man of the match after producing a big display in midfield.

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CRICKET: Australia's bowlers must make the most of second new ball if they want to get anything out of the rain-disrupted first test against South Africa after disappointing on the opening day in Brisbane, coach Mickey Arthur said yesterday.

The second day of the contest was washed out by the rain and Australia will still need to dislodge seven South African batsmen before they get a chance to bat.

The tourists had reached 255 for two on Friday with Hashim Amla and Jacques Kallis forming an unbeaten third wicket partnership of 136.

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TENNIS: Juan Martin Del Potro joined Roger Federer in the semi-finals of the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals yesterday after ending the defending champion's 12-match winning streak at London's O2 Arena.

Del Potro seized his chance, recovering quickly after dropping the second set to win 7-6 (7/3) 4-6 6-3.

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EQUESTRIAN: Antrim-born Jessica Kurten racked up her second third place at the five-star show in Verona, Italy yesterday, riding the grey gelding API Largo in the small Grand Prix.

Kurten had two rails down in the jump-off, failing to catch Portuguese rider Luciana Diniz and Bluebuster, who took the €14,500 first prize with a double clear round.

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HOCKEY: Cup holders Cork Harlequins have been knocked out of the Irish Senior Cup by Banbridge thanks to a goal in each half from Magowan and Stephen Dowds. It leaves Banbridge carrying Ulster's interest into the semi's with Pembroke Wanderers, Three Rock Rovers and Monkstown going into the draw.

Pembroke beat YMCA 2-1, as Monkstown saw off Railway Union 4-2 while Peter Blakeney blazed the way with a hat-trick in Three Rock's 5-3 win over Kilkeel.

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BOXING: Irish head coach Billy Walsh will follow in the footsteps of former US President John F Kennedy and former Irish President Mary Robinson when he becomes a Freeman of Wexford today.

The accolade comes after he helped to guide Ireland's boxers to gold, silver and two bronze medals at the London 2008 Olympic Games.

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