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In brief: Botha hangs up Irish pads

Andre Botha has retired from the international scene after 141 games for Ireland -- scoring 3,606 runs and taking 176 wickets.

The departure of the 35-year-old all-rounder -- who has also given great service to North County -- will leave a huge gap in the Ireland line-up, although his appearances had been restricted by injury lately.

"We achieved dreams many thought impossible," said Botha, who made his debut in 2001. "Retiring isn't a matter I have taken lightly, but sometimes your body makes up your mind. I would like to give a special mention to (former coach) Adi Birrell, who was there at start of my career."

Undoubtedly, Botha's greatest performance was in taking two for five from eight overs as Ireland shocked cricket with a three-wicket victory over Pakistan in Jamaica in the 2007 World Cup.


Leinster full-back Isa Nacewa was awarded the ninth Bord Gáis Energy IRUPA Players' Player of the Year in Dublin last night.

It is the first time an overseas player has won the top accolade.

Connacht's Fionn Carr bagged the IRUPA Volkswagen Try of the Year for his 70-yard effort away to the Scarlets. Nevin Spence of Ulster picked up the IRUPA Nature Valley Young Player of the Year and Leinster's Richardt Strauss collected the IRUPA Nokia Unsung Hero Award.


The Irish women's team are destined to play in Group 3 of the Fed Cup for at least another year after blowing their chances of promotion in Cairo yesterday.

Pat Crowe's side suffered their second defeat on the trot, succumbing 2-1 to Egypt in their third tie in the Europe-Africa Zone. Greystones' Amy Bowtell disposed of Magui Aziz on a 6-4 6-1 scoreline, but Julia Moriarty was edged out by Menna El Nagdy 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-4.

And, in the deciding doubles, the host nation's pairing of Aziz and Mayar Sherif, who is 15 today, proved too strong for Moriarty and Lynsey McCullough 6-3 6-4. The Irish play for pride only in today's clash with Tunisia.

Irish Independent