Wednesday 24 January 2018

In Brief: Ireland set up promotion bid

athletics: Ireland's relegation battle from League One of the European Team Championships has turned into a promotion battle in Santry Stadium, Dublin.

The Irish finished day one in sixth place on 139 points behind leaders Czech Republic but trail third-placed Sweden by just 23 points. The first three are promoted to the top tier.

Ireland's star was Brian Gregan who strolled to victory in the 400 metres in 46:32, well clear of Dutchman Bonevacia Liemarvin.

Pole vaulter Tori Pena took second place, clearing 4.30 metres for 11 points while hammer thrower Padraig White, shot putter Colin Quirke and long jumper David Qulligan took just seven points from 36 on offer. Laura Crowe, finished fourth in the 800 metres.

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Soccer: Neymar scored his third goal in three matches and Fred added two others as Brazil defeated Italy 4-2 to finish top of Group A of the Confederations Cup in Valvador last night.

Substitute defender Dante opened the scoring from close range in first-half injury-time, but Italy equalised through Emanuele Giaccherini in a breakaway in the 51st.

Neymar scored in the 55th with a well-placed free kick into the top corner as Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon could only watch, and Fred added to the lead from inside the area in the 66th before Italy pulled closer again with Giorgio Chiellini in the 71st.

Italy almost equalised when an 80th-minute header by Christian Maggio came back off the crossbar, but Fred sealed the victory from a Buffon parry in the 89th minute.

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Rugby Union: Alasdair Strokosch scored a try after the final hooter for Scotland to steal a 30-29 win over Italy in their all-northern hemisphere Test in South Africa.

Strokosch's last-gasp try was converted by captain Greig Laidlaw for the match-winning points at Loftus Versfeld and a final flourish for the Scots to end their season.

Italy edged 29-23 ahead through outhalf Alberto Di Bernardo's boot and appeared to be closing in on its first win of the four-nation tournament until flanker Strokosch burst through near the posts with the final play, giving the Scots its first victory in the mini tournament instead.

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Racing: Lethal Force sprinted to a two-length victory in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, on the fifth and final day of Royal Ascot.

Society Rock held on for second, with Krypton Factor finishing third.

The winner of the Hardwicke Stakes, Thomas Chippendale, ridden by Johnny Murtaggh, died of a suspected heart attack shortly after winning the one and a half mile Group Two race.

"It's heartbreaking for everyone involved – it should have been a great win,'' said Murtagh.

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Hockey: Ireland lost the first of their three internationals against Canada at Belfield yesterday, the 3-2 defeat reflecting badly on the home side's performance considering the higher world ranking they hold over the visitors.

Audrey O'Flynn's penalty-corner goal cancelled out new cap Kaelan Watson's opener for Canada to leave the sides level at the break. Canada took control of the contest on the resumption with goals from Holly Stewart and Sara McManus.

Ireland's response, however, fell short despite a goal from Katie Mullan ten minutes from time.

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Equestrian: The Irish whitewash at the Hickstead Derby meeting continued yesterday with the top four places in the Speed Derby, victory going to National Hunt jockey Robert Power, who is riding at Gowran Park today, aboard the Irish Sport Horse Doonaveeragh O One, which is owned by Bewley's Hotels.

Power was followed into second place by David Simpson on his own gelding Arantos, with third place going to Ger Clarke and Kellswater Crimson. Trevor Allen's No More Talk, piloted by Alexander Butler, took fourth.

Irish riders also accounted for two more top-10 places in the Speed Derby yesterday, Kenneth and Geraldine Graham's Irish Sport Horse Lenamore Donnatella taking sixth place while Shane Breen and his own mare Ominerale Courcelle finished eighth.

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Camogie: Six unanswerted points in the first half proved crucial as Kilkenny beat Galway 1-10 to 1-8 in the Senior Championship at Athenry.

Offaly made light work of a very disappointing Dublin in O'Tole Park, cruising to a 3-13 to 0-5 success. Just a point separated the sides in last year's All-Ireland quarter-final and Dublin certainly had enough possession in the first half. Nine Dublin wides in the first half and goals from Aoife Kelly and Ann-Marie Guinan within a minute of each other towards the end of the first half proved decisive.

Meanwhile, a youthful Tipperary put up a good fight in the first half against Cork but they had no answer to the pace and power of the League champions in the second half where Jenny O'Leary was magnificent in a 2-15 to 1-5 win. Last year's captain, Julia White came off the bench to score 1-2, with the major coming in injury time.

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Motorsport: Danish driver Allan Simonsen has died after crashing at the Le Mans 24 Hours yesterday, the first fatality during the famous race for 27 years.

The 34-year-old, driving an Aston Martin, spun into the barriers at Tertre Rouge on lap three after 10 minutes.

Irish Independent

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