Friday 23 March 2018

In Brief: Clarke's costly error in Seville

GOLF: Darren Clarke had to fly back overnight by private jet to make his tee-off time at the Spanish Open yesterday after a miscalculation cost him a five-figure sum and most of a night's sleep.

Clarke had flown home on Friday expecting his halfway score to be one stroke too many to play the weekend but as the scoring deteriorated he was forced into a costly rethink. The 12-time tour winner from Northern Ireland landed back in Malaga early yesterday morning, made it to bed in Seville two hours later and managed just one hour of sleep before hauling himself up to card a level-par 72, leaving him tied for 46th.

England's Mark Foster sits atop of the leaderboard in Seville on 12-under par with Damien McGrane and Shane Lowry the best of the Irish, five shots back, after both carding 70s.

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Two English players lead the Turkish Airlines Challenge after round three with Charlie Ford carding a 66 and Stuart Davis a 67 for two way share of lead on nine under. The over night leader Jamie McCleary signed for a 77 and dropped to 19th place after yesterday's round.

The Team Ireland quarter had mixed fortunes on day three with Colm Moriarty producing the best round of the day with a 71 to remain four shots off the leaders.

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SNOOKER: Australia's Neil Robertson held off an Ali Carter comeback to earn a place in his first World Cha-mpionship final with a 17-12 semi-final win at The Crucible yesterday.

Restarting 15-9 up after controlling the first three sessions, the Melbourne man saw Carter take the opening two frames. Robertson, however, fought back and restored a five-frame cushion despite a Carter fluke, but the Englishman remained competitive and kept the match alive.

Robertson held his nerve though to become the first Australian since Eddie Charlton in 1975 to reach the final.

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Hockey: Ireland's ladies produced a rousing first- half performance, bouncing back from a difficult opening two fixtures in Santiago, beating hosts Chile 3-0 yesterday in the World Cup qualifiers to keep alive hopes of taking a bronze medal.

After a nervy opening five minutes, Ireland hit the front in the 11th minute when Megan Frazer bagged her first international goal before Cliodhna Sargent and Nikki Symmon goals sealed victory

Meanwhile, three teams from Leinster, and one from Ulster, will contest the men's Irish Hockey League play-offs in a fortnight's time at Belfield, with the winner representing Ireland in next season's European League competition.

Pembroke Wanderers and Lisnagarvey topped their respective pools after yesterday's concluding series, and will be joined by the two runners-up, Corinthian and Glenanne. Pembroke's place of top spot in Pool A was already assured before their 0-0 draw with Monkstown yesterday.

The battle for the runner-up spot was the main focus and it was Corinthian who came through with a 4-2 win over better placed Instonians. Their other challenger Banbridge lost 3-2 in Cork.

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CYCLING: David McCann added another outright stage win to his CV yesterday. The Belfast cyclist continued his fantastic run of success when he won the five-day Jelajah Malaysia overall. McCann took over the race lead on stage two and, with the aid of his Giant Asia team over the remaining days, successfully defended the race lead.

McCann finished the five-day, 2.2-ranked event 20 seconds ahead of Takumi Beppu.

In the last six weeks McCann has won the Tour de Taiwan, the Tour of the Phillipines and the Mallacca Governors Cup in Malaysia which is a unique feat in cycling.

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GAELIC GAMES: Wicklow crushed 12-man Louth 3-18 to 2-9 to claim the NHL Division 3B title at Parnell Park yesterday. Ace attacker Jonathan O'Neill inspired the Garden County with a 13-point tally, bringing his total for the league campaign to 1-57.

Don Hyland slotted home the opening goal in the ninth minute, and Andy O'Brien added a second on 32 minutes. Eight Jonathan O'Neill points, mostly from frees, followed and Wicklow built up a comfortable lead.

Shane Callan pulled back a Louth goal direct from a sideline puck on 35 minutes, but Wicklow still led by 2-12 to 1-4 at the break. Down referee Declan Magee flashed four red cards in the second half. Wicklow sub Sean Kinsella, and Louth trio Wesley Morrissey, Mark Wallace and Shane Callan were sent off.

Collins Connolly pulled back a Louth goal, but O'Brien slotted home his second to end the contest.

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AINE Tighe scored 2-9 as Leitrim defeated Limerick 2-17 to 2-11 and were crowned Bord Gáis Energy Ladies National Football League Division 4 champions at Cavan's Breffni Park yesterday.

Tighe hit 1-4 before half-time and added 1-5 in the second half as the Westerners captured the coveted silverware. Leitrim came from six points down in the first half as Limerick's search for elusive national silverware continues.

With 19 minutes on the watch, Limerick led by 2-4 to 1-1 but Leitrim hit back to remain in contention at half-time, trailing by 2-7 to 1-8. The second half belonged to Leitrim as they outscored the Shannonsiders by 1-9 to 0-4 and it was Tighe's haul that proved key in the end.

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Equestrian: Twenty-year-old first-timer Camilla Speirs with the Irish-bred Portersize Just A Jiff was best of the Irish at Badminton's Three Day Event after the dressage phase completed yesterday in Gloucestershire, England.

With a score of 48.3, the Kildare native is in 37th place of the 83 starters, even though she is one of the youngest competitors, and is riding the smallest horse in the competition.

Sunday Independent

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