Thursday 26 April 2018

In Brief: Britton cruises to title victory

ATHLETICS: Fionnuala Britton successfully defended her title at the Great Edinburgh International Cross-Country competition yesterday.

The 29-year-old Wicklow woman finished 16 seconds ahead of second-placed Adrienne Herzog in a winning time of 20:20.

"I didn't think the race would go like that, no one went with me so I had to push it on," Britton said.

Although Britton slipped late in the race, she recovered quickly, losing little ground to cruise to a deserved victory. Third place went to America's Mattie Suver in 21:00 while her arch rival Ana Dulce Felix only managed to finish fifth.

Also in action was European team gold medallist Linda Byrne who came home in sixth place. The world cross-country championships are scheduled for the end of March and Britton hopes that an Irish team will be there to compete.

"It would be good if we could have a team at world cross, when you have a team behind you it boosts you as an individual as well," Britton added.

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GAELIC GAMES: The GAA will host its annual games development conference at Croke Park next Saturday,

The event kicks off at 9.30 and, following an address from president Liam O'Neill, will feature the cream of Irish coaching, conditioning, tactical and athletic talent.

One case study during the day will be a lecture centred on the kingpins of club football entitled 'What We Can Learn From Crossmaglen', which will be delivered by club chairman Tony Brady. Paralympic cyclist Mark Rohan, who holds an impressive GAA background, will speak on drawing on the mind and body for inspiration, while other keynote speakers include Eugene McGee, Pat Gilroy and Glen Whelan, who will all discuss the recommendations of the recent Gaelic football review.

Cork hurling manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy will lead the hurling section with an address, while there will be medical and nutritional segments too. The conference will round up at 4.15pm with an address entitled 'Bringing It All Together', to be given by Irish boxing coach Billy Walsh.

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Willie Sunderland has resumed his role as Kildare hurling manager. The county board announced his return along with that of his back-room team.

"Agreement has been reached on all the concerns raised by the management team," a statement said. "Players and management are now looking forward to returning to training with immediate effect and focusing on the year ahead." Sunderland and his team resigned before Christmas.

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CRICKET: England play the first warm-up match of their one-day tour of India tomorrow, hopeful that the most of their preparation for the series has already been done.

Although England only touched down in Delhi on Thursday following a Christmas break, most of the squad have spent plenty of time in India already this winter.

Seven of England's 15-man one-day squad played a part in the famous 2-1 Test series win, and six more featured in the drawn Twenty20 series.

Eoin Morgan, who captained the T20 side in Stuart Broad's absence, believes attention to detail will stand the 50-over side in good stead against India 'A' tomorrow and when the five-match series starst on January 11. "It's the start of a new year after the successful year we had in 2012. There are a lot of foundations already set so it's a matter of building on that," the Dubliner said.

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Australia were on the verge of a 3-0 series sweep after reducing Sri Lanka to 225 for seven with a slim lead of 87 at close of play on a dramatic third day of the third Test yesterday.

The hosts dominated the morning courtesy of a sparkling unbeaten century from Matthew Wade before declaring at 432-9 with a first-innings lead of 138 just before lunch.

The tourists stormed back in the second session on the back of a century partnership between Dimuth Karunaratne (85) and skipper Mahela Jayawardene (60) to fleetingly raise the prospect of a first ever Sri Lanka Test win in Australia.

Karunaratne fell short of his maiden Test century soon after

tea with his country still six runs in arrears, however, and Sri Lanka then crumbled to lose six wickets for just 93 runs.

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GOLF: The official start of the 2013 PGA Tour was postponed for a second consecutive day because of strong winds at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions in Hawaii yesterday.

First-round play in the PGA Tour's season-opening event had been scrapped on Friday because of similar conditions and hopes of playing 36 holes yesterday had to be abandoned.

Winds gusted up to 40mph (64.4 kph) across the Kapalua

Resort's Plantation Course, making the layout unplayable. On some of the more exposed holes on the back nine, golf balls rolled uphill when dropped on the greens as a test by officials. Organisers said they planned to complete 36 holes today and 18 tomorrow in a tournament cut to 54 holes.

While 24 players in the elite, winners-only field of 30 were able to tee off on Friday before the first-round scores were wiped out, not a single shot was struck yesterday.

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TENNIS: Spain secured a surprise victory in the Hopman Cup against Serbia in the final of the mixed teams event in Perth yesterday. Fernando Verdasco and Anabel Medina Garrigues beat the more fancied pairing of Novak Djokovic and Ana Ivanovic 6-4 7-5 in the deciding mixed doubles for a 2-1 win.

Meanwhile, Serena Williams has won the Brisbane International after breezing past Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-2 6-1 in the final. She has now won her past eight finals since losing the 2011 US Open to Sam Stosur, with her latest win sending an ominous warning ahead of the Australian Open.

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BASKETBALL: Off the back of two consecutive defeats to Dublin opposition, UL returned to winning ways with a 91-73 win over Moycullen at the NUIG gym last night.

An 11-2 run in the last quarter which included outside shots from Patrick O'Sullivan and Cian Nihill brought Moycullen back into the game with three minutes to go before UL pulled away once more.

Meanwhile there were wins for the two Cork teams ahead of their derby cup clash, with Ger Noonan registering eight of Neptune's last 10 points as they overcame a resilient Dublin Inter side on a 77-65 scoreline.

Up in Belfield Demons overcame Marian 78-77 with a three-point play from Ciaran O'Sullivan with 10 seconds left sealing victory.

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