In Brief: Irish can raise game - Doyle
FIONA Doyle says she is proof that, with the right mentality, Irish swimmers can compete with the world's best, writes Mark O'Driscoll.
Canada-based Doyle, who leads a six-strong Irish squad at the European short course championships in Denmark tomorrow, took her career to another level in the summer with an 11th overall in the 100m breaststroke at the World long course championships, as well as winning a silver medal at the World University Games.
Irish record holder Doyle, who starts with the 50m breaststroke tomorrow, said: "This year has been amazing for me. I made a lot of small changes and they paid off.
"Most importantly I changed my mindset. I started to believe that I belonged with the best and that I could compete with them and that's what all the Irish swimmers need to do."
Irish referee Alain Rolland's final international before retirement will be a repeat of the infamous 2011 World Cup semi-final between Wales and France when he controversially sent off Sam Warburton.
Rolland, who announced in September he will hang up his whistle at the end of the season, has been given one last Test assignment by the IRB in Cardiff on February 21 when the reigning Six Nations champions host France at the Millennium Stadium.
LONDON 2012 silver medallist John Joe Nevin is backing is new team-mates Tyrone McKenna and Anthony Cacace to improve their unbeaten runs in the USA tonight.
Nevin, Cacace and McKenna are fighting out of Tom Moran's Green Blood stable in Philadelphia. The undefeated Belfast natives meet Josh Beeman and Jeff Combs in Allentown, Philadelphia.
"Tyrone and Anthony are looking very sharp moment," said Nevin. "They'll be looking to finish out the year on a high note and I'd be confident that both of them will win."
Meanwhile, Nevin's fellow London 2012 medallist Paddy Barnes is out of Friday's World Series of Boxing match in the Ukraine with the flu.