IRELAND'S young boxers will face Russian opponents in three of today's finals at the European Schoolboy Championships in Grozny, Russia.
Mayo's Matthew Burke joined his Irish team-mates James Cleary and John Joyce in today's deciders following a 3-0 decision over Muhammed Canpolat of Turkey yesterday to set up a 76kg final with Arthur Germanovich.
Olympic BC Galway prospect Cleary will face Gabriel Muzaev, and Joyce, who boxes out of the Moate BC in Westmeath, will meet Moroslav Peshkov.
But there was semi-final disappointment for Craig Bonney, Lewis Crocker, Sean Conroy and Keelan Sexton yesterday.
Bonney lost 13-2 to Bogdan Kraev of Russia, Crocker was edged out 1-0 by Rovshan Musayev of Azerbaijan, Conroy went down 6-4 to Vitaly Bakhmatov of Russia and Keelan lost to Isa Shahmanov, also of Russia.
Yesterday's results confirm that Ireland will be taking home at least three silver and five bronze medals.
Thomas Awrona of Hot Tubes took over as race leader after stage four of the Junior Tour of Ireland in fine style yesterday.
The stage, with a start and finish in Achill over 56.6 miles, got off to dramatic start with 20 cyclists hitting the deck in an early crash.
As a result, the bunch was split, with a number of racers moving ahead on the tough course.
Awrona and Hugh McCarthy of Maxgear Champion Systems stuck to the task, with Awrona making the winning move in the closing stages to land the stage and overall lead.
Andrew Strauss won his first battle of the summer with Zaheer Khan on a rain-interrupted opening day of India's tour match against Somerset at Taunton.
The England captain, making a guest appearance for the county in a bid to find form -- he plays for Middlesex -- hit 78 off 98 balls, including 16 fours, to play himself into form ahead of the first Test at Lord's next week.
Strauss was dropped by wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha off Amit Mishra on 64, but otherwise capitalised on a flat pitch to demonstrate an array of positive shots, looking composed against India's dangerous left-armer Zaheer.
His efforts helped Somerset to 329-2.
SINEAD LOHAN'S dreams of a second successive ITF U-18 title were shattered at the quarter-final stage of the Grade 4 event in Newcastle, England yesterday.
The 16-year-old from Tramore won the Riga Open three weeks ago, and she had dropped only four games in her opening two matches in this week's clay competition.
But the top-seeded Irish player lost 6-2 6-2 to unseeded French opponent Wallis Vitis.