Tuesday 20 March 2018

In brief: Friend's focus for McDowell

GOLF: Ryder Cup winning hero Graeme McDowell promised to deliver victory in the Singapore Open for a seriously ill friend after recording a three-under par 68 in the sauna-like conditions and end the third round in fourth place on 12-under par.

Australia's Adam Scott was seeking to capture a third Singapore Open title in five years in shooting a 69 to lead at 14 under while defending champion Ian Poulter (68) shared second on 13 under with Korean Kyung-nam Kang (67).

A McDowell win would be his fourth this season but it's thoughts of a close friend fighting for his life in a hospital bed in Orlando that are in the forefront of his mind.

"He's just a really good friend, and he's managed to pick up a freak illness so I'll be thinking of him," said McDowell who also led Race to Dubai rival Martin Kaymer by five shots.


BASKETBALL: The Men's Superleague Cup kicked off last night with reigning champions Killester registering a 107-71 quarter-final win over Moycullen at the Kingfisher gym. Although missing Paddy Kelly (out with a broken collarbone) and Kieran O'Brien, Mark Keenan's men cleaned up on the inside where Jermaine Turner was particularly strong offensively on the rebounds.

Moycullen, who saw Cian Nihill retire with an injured ankle in the third, struggled with Killester's all round athleticism with Turner shooting 20 points in the first half. And with Michael Westbrooks, Killester's MVP from last seasons final shooting 22, Moycullen were never in contention once Killester opened up 29-13 lead early into the second quarter.

In the round two game played in Limerick, UL Eagles out manoeuvred Neptune to avenge last month's league defeat. Nonetheless the scoring was pretty tight until Eagles pulled away in the third when Scott Kinevan hit two deep three-pointers to leave the final score 76-58 to UL.


HOCKEY: Ulster teams did particularly well in both the men's and women's Irish Senior Cup first round ties yesterday with Pembroke men going down to Cookstown 2-0, while in the women's event Pegasus came from behind twice to dump out high-flying Railway Union at Park Ave by 3-2.

The day was sadly marked by the sudden death of Andy Chambers, assistant manager to the senior men's team. As a mark of respect, the afternoon tie between C of I and Kilkeel as well as the draw for the second round ties, both fixed to take place at the C of I Garryduff venue were postponed.


MOTORSPORT: Sebastian Vettel grabbed the most important pole position of his Formula One career ahead of today's season-ending showdown in Abu Dhabi.

The Red Bull star, needing to finish in the top two in the race to have any chance of becoming the youngest world champion in F1 history, pipped McLaren's Lewis Hamilton by just 0.031secs.

It was Red Bull's 15th pole of the year, equalling the F1 record set by Williams in 1992 and 1993 and McLaren in 1988 and 1989.

Behind the front row, championship leader Fernando Alonso starts third, a position good enough for him to clinch a third world title if the grid positions were to remain the same come the end of the 55 laps.

McLaren's Jenson Button starts fourth, with Mark Webber a lowly fifth in his Red Bull and in need of help if he is to close the eight-point gap to Alonso and overhaul the Spaniard.


ATHLETICS: Peter Matthews, a three times former national champion, showed he still has what it takes when winning the individual title at the Home International Masters' Cross-Country at Santry yesterday.

The Dundrum runner, winner of the Irish titles in '94, '98 and '02, won by 36 seconds from England's John Herbert in 26:57 while also taking the prime Over 40 event.

Matthews was one of three Irish individual winners with Ciaran Doherty winning the men's Over 35 by a narrow margin from his Irish team mate Paul McNamara, 27:02 to 27:04, while Carmel Parnell took the women's Over 55 by a convincing margin of a minute and a half.

The Irish men's team won the Over 35, Over 45, Over 55 and Over 70 events, beating England on each occasion. Olympian Jim McNamara finished second in the Over 70 race but had the consolation of leading the team to a thrilling two points win over England.


GAELIC GAMES: A superb display from Naomh Eoin right full forward Brian Murphy laid the foundation for the Carlow Intermediate champions 0-10 to 0-8 win over recently crowned Kilkenny senior champions Muckalee in this cracking Leinster IFC quarter-final at Dr Cullen Park yesterday.

The No 13 kicked seven points, two from play, in a game in which the visitors deservedly led 0-5 to 0-4 at the break.

Two early second-half points from Colin McGrath frees had Muckalee three clear and looking like winners. But the Myshall side finished strongly and were level by the 50th minute.

A wonderful Murphy point from play on 52 minutes put the home side in front and the victory was sealed with a point from Trevor Minchin.


A hat-trick of goals from Offaly's Shane Dooley was vital as Ireland claimed the Shinty-Hurling International honours for 2010, following yesterday's 5-6 to 3-7 second leg at Bught Park, Inverness.

In ideal conditions Joe Dooley's charges were met with strong opposition as a third minute goal from Ronald Ross gave Scotland an early lead.

However, goals from Dooley and Antrim's Neil McManus saw the sides tied at 2-2 to 1-5 at the interval, and although John MacDonald netted on the restart Ireland dug deep for victory.

Sunday Independent

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