Thursday 22 February 2018

In brief: Irish rookies mix it with the best

Equestrian

A rookie Irish team finished a sensational second behind the USA in the BMO Nations Cup at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Canada, on Saturday night.

US-based Shane Sweetnam was the only team member to have previously competed at this top level of the sport. But Trevor Breen and Nicola FitzGibbon proved that riders from the Irish national circuit can hold their own on any stage, while British-based Dave Quigley also excelled.

And FitzGibbon's star continued in the ascendancy as the 22-year-old produced one of just five first-round clears. The Irish were joint-third with Canada on nine faults at the half-way stage, with the US and Holland sharing the lead with eight. But the final tally of 21 faults left Ireland just three faults behind the Americans.

Motorsport

Daniel Polley was the star of the Leinster Trophy race meeting. Following a double on Saturday, when he won the qualifying race and the final of the Pony Express Formula Vee class, he started the feature Leinster Trophy race yesterday from pole with veteran Ray Moore alongside him.

Moore snatched the early lead and stayed ahead for four of the six laps. However, under huge pressure from the 28-year-old Dubliner, Moore went wide and Polley took the lead.

One lap later, the veteran tried to retake the top position but spun off, leaving Polley to come home four seconds clear of Trevor Delaney and Robert Casey.

Cycling

Derek Cunningham of Bray Wheelers came good yesterday in the TalkTalk 'B' All-Ireland Road Championships in Waterford.

The main group stayed intact throughout, but Youghal's Owen Whyte made a solo effort to gain a lead of 30 seconds. But Cunningham lunged forward in the mass sprint to take the title by a couple of lengths from Anthony Doyle and Brendan McLoughlin. The team prize was won by the recently formed Blarney CC.

Snooker

Ali Carter yesterday won the Shanghai Masters with a hard-fought 10-7 victory over Jamie Burnett. The first session was a tight affair, with the match finely poised at 5-4.

However, Essex man Carter found some rhythm and produced the second major win of his career.

Irish Independent

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