Wednesday 22 November 2017

In brief: FitzGibbon keeps up meteoric rise

Equestrian

Nicola FitzGibbon continued her meteoric rise yesterday when producing a faultless performance to finish fifth in the €200,000 Grand Prix at Falsterbo in Sweden.

On Friday she was best of the Irish with just four faults in the Nations Cup. And yesterday the 23-year-old from Kildare steered her gelding Puissance to a double-clear, finishing one place ahead of Niall Talbot, who was unlucky with a fence down at his second attempt.

Riding Mullaghdrin Gold Rain, Shane Breen was just pipped for the honours in Saturday's Derby.

Last night Irish team manager Robert Splaine named Breen, Dermott Lennon, Denis Lynch, Shane Sweetnam and Billy Twomey as his side for Thursday's leg of the FEI Nations Cup Superleague series at Aachen. Ireland are defending champions.

Meanwhile, the Irish foursome of Cormac Hanley, Thomas Harty, Tim MacDonagh and Kerry Taggart won gold at the European Championships for Children in Comporta, Portugal on Saturday.

HOCKEY

Ireland overcame their mid-match nerves to win the Champions Challenge in Lille yesterday, beating France 4-2.

Paul Revington's men appeared to be cruising to the trophy when Ronan Gormley converted a penalty stroke after Chris Cargo was upended on 18 minutes. Eugene Magee added a second on the half-hour at a penalty corner.

However, the Irish defence failed to deal with a bouncy cross just before the break, and Matthieu Catonnet pulled a goal back.

The French continued to press after the break and forced a good save from David Harte before Andy McConnell made it 3-1.

Though Hugo Gestenet hauled Les Bleus back into contention, Gordon Watkins had the final say.

Ireland -- D Harte, D Ames, P Blakeney, J Brennan, C Cargo, P Caruth, P Gleghorne, R Gormley, C Harte, J Jackson, S Loughrey, E Magee, G McCabe, M Watt, A McConnell, G Watkins.

rowing

Ireland's internationals have returned from the weekend's World Cup regatta in Switzerland where they notched up another important stepping stone on their road to recovery.

Pride of place went to Galway-born sculler Siobhan McCrohan, who won bronze in the lightweight single.

MOTOR SPORT

Robert Barrable, with co-driver Damien Connolly, scored his first outright victory in a Dunlop National Rally Championship round in the Sligo Stages Rally, with their Skoda Fabia S2000 holding off a day-long challenge to win by 11 seconds.

Barrable, the reigning Young Rally Driver of the Year, took a two second lead on the opening stage and stayed in front all day, although Cork driver Daragh O'Riordan in his Impreza WRC was never far behind.

Fermanagh driver Garry Jennings won the Group N Production class in his Lancer Evo, taking fourth overall.

Irish Independent

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