Sunday 25 February 2018

In brief: Irish fall short in Argentina

Hockey: Ireland will be playing for medals at the Champions Challenge hockey in Buenos Aires today but they will not be gold.

Andrew Meredith's men fell 2-1 to hosts Argentina in last night's semi final though they ran the winners close.

A tense tactical battle in the first half did not produce any goals, though Davy Harte was by far the busier of the two keepers.

Harte was eventually beaten two minutes after the break when Pedro Ibarra took a shot low to his right at a penalty corner.

Veteran forward Guillermo Schickendantz tapped in a second before John Jermyn pulled one back at a corner five minutes from time.

The bronze medal match will be renewal of acquaintance with former coach Paul Revington who departed during the summer, now in charge of Malaysia.

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The top of the Leinster Men's table tightened considerably yesterday after leaders Pembroke Wanderers, Three Rock Rovers and YMCA all lost.

A Ross Canning goal 13 minutes from the end proved sufficient for UCD to claim a surprise 1-0 win at Pembroke, while Three Rock caved in to Railway Union 5-3, with Rob Abbott scoring a hat-trick. Corinthians and Monkstown both notched seven goals each in wins over Glenanne and Avoca.

The Leinster women's campaign also saw movement at the top with UCD – who hit nine against North Kildare – and Railway Union moving in to the top spots, as Loreto were held 1-1 by Old Alex.

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BASKETBALL: A second defeat in the space of a week from Demons allowed UL Eagles to stretch their lead at the top of the Superleague table last night.

Demons travelled to the IWA to play Clontarf with Michael Bonaparte marking his second spell with the club with 12 points while Ciaran Roe also chipped in with some late scores to cement a 85-77 victory.

UL Eagles, although trailing in the first quarter to Moycullen, eventually wore their opponents down with Jason Killeen impressing at both ends of the court in their 88-72 win.

The return of Martin Provizors saw Vincents overcome Dublin Inter in overtime (78-72) with an Eoin Quill three-pointer in the final minute ultimately settling this contest.

And Ian McLoughlin was very much the star performer for Neptune, the forward shooting eight consecutive points for the Cork men as they defeated UCD Marian 77-70 to stay third.

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golf: Martin Kaymer rolled in a tricky 10-foot par putt on the last for a two-under 70 and a one-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Nedbank Challenge.

Europe's Ryder Cup star made three birdies and a bogey to move to five-under on an overcast and breezy day that ensured low scores were again out of reach at Gary Player Country Club. Louis Oosthuizen (69) is second at four-under, while fellow South African Charl Schwartzel (70) is two back from Kaymer.

Oosthuizen and Schwartzel are lined up for a final-day push for a first home win at Sun City since Trevor Immelman in 2007. Oosthuizen's round is only the fourth sub-70 score in three days of tough golf in South Africa. Two-time defending champion Lee Westwood made a late move for an unprecedented third straight Nedbank title by shooting a 70 to sit three off the lead.

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SWIMMING: Barry Murphy warmed up for the World Short Course Championships in Istanbul in two weeks' time with a comfortable victory in the 100m freestyle at the National Championships in Lisburn last night.

Dubliner Murphy, who made a final at the recent European Championships, touched for gold in 49.96 in the 100m free, ahead of David Prendergast (50.42). Galway's Cian Duffy set a new Irish junior record for the 200m individual medley ahead of fellow teenager Brian O'Sullivan in 2:05.95 – but O'Sullivan set his own new Irish junior record when he won the 50m backstroke title in 25.97.

UCD's Shani Stallard won the women's 50m breaststroke in 33.49, while Shauna O'Brien won 100m butterfly gold in 1:00.15.

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GAELIC GAMES: Ciara McGuigan was the star as Thomas Davis (Dublin) captured the All-Ireland Ladies Club JFC crown yesterday, beating Cork's Boherbue 1-12 to 0-7.

McGuigan scored four of her five points from play as they saw off the spirited challenge of Boherbue at St Brendan's Park, Birr. Thomas Davis went in at half time with a 1-5 to 0-1 advantage, but they had to withstand a strong second-half fightback from Boherbue – the lead was whittled down to four points (1-7 to 0-6) when Boherbue's leading scorer Julie Dennehy lofted over a 46th-minute point. But that was as close as the Munster champions got.

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Extra-time proved a step too far for Calry/St Joseph's in a competitive All-Ireland club JFC quarter-final clash in Birmingham, where star forward Robbie Power fired Fullen Gaels into the semis with a 12-point haul in a final scoreline of 0-17 to 0-12.

A late free from Calry midfielder Keith Raymond took the game to extra-time, but the Manchester club pulled away from the Connacht champions, who were unable to find a crucial goal in the closing moments.

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ATHLETICS: A strong challenger has emerged to Fionnuala Britton when she defends her European cross-country championship title near Budapest next Sunday.

African born Almensch Belete – born in Ethiopia but who declared for Belgium during the summer – comes into the event fresh from an impressive victory in Roeselare last Sunday when she defeated Kenya's Cynthia Kosgei by 17 seconds.

Belete recently returned to her native Ethiopia for altitude training in preparation for a crack at Britton's crown and is going to be a handful for the Wicklow star, who defeated some top runners in Slovenia last year, including Portugal's Ana Dulce Felix.

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boxing: The Ireland team are approaching the business end of the AIBA World Youth Championships in Yerevan, Armenia.

Keith Flavin and Chris Nevin recorded impressive wins in the last 32 of the 71-nation tournament yesterday and are just two wins away from at least bronze.

Flavin hammered Russian champion Pavel Gunchenko 23-10, and Nevin (Holy Family BC, Drogheda) beat Chinese Taipei bantamweight Lin Sheng-Ling 19-10. Flavin, who is Irish team captain in Yerevan, is now facing another tough test as he's in against Cuban champion Andy Cruz-Gomez tomorrow. Stephen Mulholland lost to China's Zhidi Zang (16-13), while Hughie Nevin and Kurt Walker are in action today.

Sunday Indo Sport

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