Tuesday 16 January 2018

In brief: Irish form holds up at Nations Cup

equestrian rowing BOXING

Ireland retained the lead in the FEI Nations Cup Superleague with a strong third-place finish at the second leg in Rome yesterday.

Winners of the season-opener at La Baule, France two weeks ago, they added another six points to their tally in Italy and head for round three at St Gallen, Switzerland next week with a two-point lead over Belgium.

The Irish were bidding for a first win in the hallowed Piazza di Siena arena, but the final tally of 21 faults left them trailing the Belgians with 14 and the Dutch winners, who completed with just 10, in the second round.

With Ireland drawn first to go, Shane Sweetnam had the difficult task of pathfinder with Amaretto D'Arco who had eight faults. Shane Carey's Lancero picked up a time fault while Cameron Hanley and Southwind VDL faulted at the bogey water and the penultimate treble to also come home with eight.

Billy Twomey, however, maintained his superb form when producing one of only two double-clear performances on the day with Tinka's Serenade. The defending champions from France had to settle for joint-fourth along with the British and Germans.

Meanwhile, at Tattersalls International Horse Trials at Fairyhouse yesterday, Jayne Doherty and The Only One finished best of the Irish after the dressage phase of the CCI 3-Star in which British riders have the whip hand, filling five of the top six places. As today's cross-country begins, William Fox-Pitt (Oslo) holds the lead.

With four crews making it to the semi-finals at the World Cup regatta in Munich, Ireland's rowers have already signalled a significant step up from last season's performance, writes Robert Treharne Jones.

Mark O'Donovan and Niall Kenny, both members of last year's silver medal U-23 quad scull, took third place in their heat of the lightweight men's doubles to qualify. It was followed by another qualifying place for Sanita Puspure and Lisa Dilleen in the openweight women's double.

Ireland's final qualifying win of the day came with Claire Lambe and Siobhan McCrohan in the lightweight women's double.

MICHAEL McDONAGH will today meet David Oliver Joyce for the lightweight vest on the Irish squad for next month's European Elite Championships following his semi-final win over Eric Donovan at the National Stadium last night.

Irish boxing chiefs are running box-offs in the lightweight and welterweight categories to fill the two remaining places on the 10-man squad for the Europeans, which begin in Turkey on June 14.

McDonagh beat Donovan on a 38-36 countback following a 7-7 tie, and Joyce, also of the St Michael's Athy club, beat McDonagh's St Mary's BC club-mate Ciaran Bates 16-10.

Today's welterweight final is between Willie McLaughlin and Beijing Olympian John Joe Joyce.

Irish Independent

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