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In Brief: Cork Con take Bateman Cup

rugby Union: First-half tries from Robert Clune and Scott Deasy proved decisive as Cork Constitution held off a second-half fightback from St Mary's College to take the Ulster Bank Bateman Cup with a 24-19 victory at Templeville Road.

Con outhalf Johnny Holland and fullback Gavin Dunne had swapped early penalties, but a 21st-minute try from right-wing Clune followed a second three-pointer from Holland. Dunne chipped in with a brace of place kicks either side of Holland's third of the contest, before a converted effort from Deasy gave Con a 12-point cushion (21-9) at the break.

A powerful drive over the Con whitewash eight minutes after the restart from flanker Gareth Austin helped to re-invigorate Mary's challenge. Dunne was on target with the bonus kick that followed, before a superb 40-metre effort from the influential No 15 reduced the deficit to two.

Con's composure in defence eventually curbed the threat offered by Mary's after the restart, and an outstanding drop-goal by the excellent Holland helped the Temple Hill outfit to record their fourth All-Ireland Cup triumph and their first since 2010.

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Tries in the final quarter from flanker Michael McGroarty and Barry Daly were crucial at Stradbrook as UCD secured their place in the All-Ireland League promotion/relegation play-off in fine style with a 40-24 victory over near rivals Blackrock College.

'Rock opened the scoring on six minutes when they were awarded a penalty-try following a collapsed scrum by the visitors, and Rob Keogh calmly slotted over the conversion. The Students hit back with McGroarty's first try just two minutes later.

Outhalf Niall Earls was on target with his bonus kick before the Belfield men increased their advantage with three penalties from their reliable place kicker.

A breakaway try by right-wing Paddy Dix gave the Students a 21-7 interval lead but the home side came out for the second period will all guns blazing and two converted scores levelled matters just before the hour mark.

A seven-point salvo from replacement James Thornton re-affirmed UCD's superiority. Keogh did narrow the gap with a successful three-point attempt, but UCD made sure of their 14th league triumph with a further five-pointer from McGroarty, before winger Daly concluded the scoring.

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There was little between the teams in the first half at Gibson Park but Trinity gradually gained the upper hand towards the close to beat Malone 20-10. Josh Pentland was the star of the home team as he contributed all their points but David Joyce once again showed his match-winning capabilities with a try, both conversions and two penalties. The visitors only deprived Malone of a losing bonus point in the final two minutes.

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GOLF: Des Smyth and his better-ball partner, Mark James, failed narrowly when bidding for a record-equalling third successive triumph at the Westin Resort, Savannah, yesterday, writes Dermot Gilleece. Each earned $33,333 for a share of third place on 12-under-par (67, 65), two strokes outside a play-off for the Raphael Division in the Mutual Legends of Golf.

The same margin behind overnight, they were made to rue Friday's lapses when the third brought their first three-putts in 75 holes in this event. And they also three-putted the 18th. "We never really fired this time," said Smyth afterwards. "But we'll be back for another go next year."

Victory went to Ian Baker-Finch, and American Brad Bryant, when the 1991 British Open champion birdied the third tie hole from six feet.

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ATHLETICS: Ireland finished in fifth place in the Distance Medley Relay at the famous Penn Relays in Philadelphia yesterday with Ethiopia defeating Kenya for overall victory.

The Irish lead-off man, Paul Robinson, brought home the baton in third place in the 1,200m 'leg' before handing over to Brian Gregan for the 400 metres.

Gregan then handed over to Mark English for the 800 metres but the Donegal runner lost a little ground on the home straight. Then it was the turn of Ciaran O Lionaird for the mile but he was unable to make up the deficit and came home in a time of 9:24.0, with Ethiopia taking the victory in 9:16.34.

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SWIMMING: Fiona Doyle set a new Irish record and qualified for the World Championships at the Irish Long Course Championships last night when taking gold in the 100m breaststroke in a time of 1:08.23.

But Barry Murphy missed out on qualification for Barcelona despite winning the men's 100m breaststroke in 1:01.35.

The men's 100m freestyle final produced the race of the championships with Co Down's Curtis Coulter winning by just one hundredth of a second, clocking 51.00 ahead of Egypt's Adhem Abdelmeged (51.01) and Edinburgh's Jack Thorpe (51.77).

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CYCLING: endorsement and decided to convene an emergency general meeting to ''consider matters which have arisen following the decision'' to nominate McQuaid, said Company secretary Geoff Liffey.

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BOXING: Tony Byrne, who won a bronze medal at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, has died in Canada at the age of 82. Known as 'socks' Byrne, the Drogheda boxer narrowly missed out on a lightweight gold medal fight when losing to Germany's Harry Kurschat on a split decision.

Irish Independent