In Brief: Cusack sends Irish to finals
CRICKET: Ireland will play England and the West Indies in Guyana in the Twenty20 World Cup after again losing to Afghanistan yesterday in the final of the qualifiers in Dubai.
Perhaps tired after a 65-run victory over Holland that earned a place in the showpiece event in April and May, Ireland succumbed to the Afghans for the fourth time in five games by eight wickets only an hour later.
The national side's 142-8 was easily passed with 15 balls to spare, but an invitation to the finals had already been issued thanks to man- of-the-match Alex Cusack's 65 against the Dutch in Ireland's final Super Four game.
The Clontarf all-rounder smashed three sixes in a top score of 65 from only 44 balls as Ireland posted a winning 151-6 in what was effectively a semi-final.
Clarke stays in New Delhi hunt
Golf: Darren Clarke lies two strokes off the lead after a third-round 70 in the Avantha Masters in New Delhi. Clarke is part of a group on nine-under, two behind the group of leaders, which include's England's Richard Bland.
Bland claims he is ready to win his first European Tour title at the age of 37 following a sparkling third-round 66. Afterwards he credited mind coach Jamil Qureshi for making him more mentally resilient.
Cluskey claims Futures event
Tennis: Ireland's James Cluskey yesterday chalked up a notable personal landmark when he claimed his first ITF Men's Futures title.
Cluskey and American Michael Venus came up trumps in the men's doubles in Eilat, Israel, edging out Belarus duo Alexander Bury and Pavel Katliarov 6-7 (3/7) 6-3 15-13 (champions' tie-break).
Murphy grabs 3000m title
athletics: Hazel Murphy, the 25-year-old runner from Dundrum AC, ran a personal best of 9mins 2.06secs, more than three seconds faster than her previous best, to win the 3000m at the British AAA Indoor Championships in Sheffield.
The defending Irish champion, Deirdre Byrne, was back in seventh place in 9mins 22.61secs having led for three-quarters of the race.
Murphy's time was inside the qualifying standard for the World Indoor Championships in Doha next month and she is now likely to be included in the 3000m along with Byrne. Ava Hutchinson had a pb in 6th in 9mins 14.80secs.
Elsewhere, three of the four Irish challengers, Claire Brady, Ailis McSweeney and Niamh Whelan qualified for the final of the women's 60m. In the final Brady was best placed in fourth position with a time of 7.40secs behind Joyce Maduaka (7.29secs).
Irish record holder, Deirdre Ryan, finished third in the high jump with a clearance of 1.81m which left her six centimetres behind the winner, Vickie Hubbard (1.87m).
Steely Leinster boss Chiefs
rugby: Leinster produced an assured display as they defeated the Exeter Chiefs 22-10 in yesterday's Round 3 British & Irish Cup encounter in Sandy Park, Exeter.
A brace of first-half tries from David Kearney, a late Paul O'Donohoe effort and seven points from the boot of Shaun Berne made it three wins out of three in the competition as Leinster retained pole position in Pool A.
Rock leave it late to progress
HOCKEY: Three Rock Rovers and Monkstown left it late before booking their place in the quarter-finals of the men's Irish Senior Cup, ousting their respective Ulster opponents Cookstown and Raphoe. Peter Blakeney sank his penalty stroke to edge Rovers home 7-6.
Monkstown also had to pull out all the stops, Brian Groves finally sealing it for the Dubliners in extra-time with a golden-goal winner.
Arrons' magic drives Demons
Basketball: Hoops recorded the double over Demons at the Arena last night despite a late run from the Cork outfit. Carlton Arrons' rebounding was to ensure a 78-72 win in the end for the home side
Neptune, as a result of their win over 90-83 win over Belfast Star, overtake their neighbours, Demons, to move into second while in the Northern Conference, cup champions Killester stretched their lead at the top by defeating UCD 89-64.
Westmeath battle to title
Gaelic Games: Westmeath overcame the 43rd-minute dismissal of Enda Loughlin to retain the Kehoe Cup in Newbridge yesterday with a 1-15 to 1-11 win over Kildare.
Despite Martin Fitzgerald's 57th-minute goal, Kildare couldn't make their man advantage count and late points from Dan Carthy and Derek McNicholas sealed Westmeath's sixth Kehoe Cup.
Ambrose nets vital brace
A goal in each half from corner-forward Declan Ambrose proved to be the decisive factor as DLS Macroom just edged out Dingle side PB Chorca Dhuibhne, 3-9 to 2-9 at Farranfore.
In the Leinster Colleges SFC, Colaiste Eoin scored a 1-8 to 1-6 win over Ardscoil na Trionoide. But St Pat's of Navan and St Mary's, Edenderry must meet again after Daragh Maguire's extra-time goal secured a 2-11 apiece draw for Pat's.