Monday 11 December 2017

In brief: Jimenez grabs share of lead

Golf: Spain's Miguel Angel Jimenez produced a flawless front nine to move into a share of the lead with Australian Brett Rumford at the Ballantine's Championship in Seoul before bad weather brought the third round to a halt for the day.

Jimenez was three- under par through nine holes to join overnight leader Rumford on 10-under overall by the time heavy rain and the threat of lightning forced the abandonment of play. Welshman Rhys Davies and Scotland's Richie Ramsey were also handily placed on eight and seven-under respectively, while Lee Westwood was on six-under.

Shane Lowry leads the Irish challenge. With one hole to play this morning to complete his round, the Clara man is at six- under par. First-round leader Damien McGrane is another two shots back with eight to play, having opened his round with bogeys at the first two holes. Northern Ireland's is on two-under par after 16, and Paul McGinley is on three-over after 14. Michael Hoey is some way off the pace, on five-over par after 11 holes


GAELIC GAMES: A Michael McHugh-inspired comeback helped Monaghan secure a 1-17 to 2-12 win over Fingal in their second-round Nicky Rackard game after trailing by five points at half-time.

Murphy's opposite No 14, Davy Byrne, had given Fingal a sound footing with two first-half goals, but the spirit of Trevor Hilliard and Stephen Lambe along with McHugh's accuracy proved too much for the north Dublin outfit as Monaghan won out.

Meanwhile, London were much too strong for Louth in their second round clash in Dundalk. Leading 3-14 to 0-3 at the break, the Exiles secured a 6-20 to 1-10 win with leading scorer Martin Finn hitting the net in the second half before a late double from Jonathan Maher cancelled out Diarmuid O'Sullivan's strike for the hosts.


RUGBY: Old Crescent came from 15-3 behind after 33 minutes to snatch a 16-15 win over Banbridge and preserve their Division 2 status at Rosbrien.

Anthony Barry was the hero as his drop goal after 78 minutes earned them victory. Crescent's only try was scored by Lemeki Viapulo midway through second half, while Banbridge had the man of the match in Robin Thompson, who scored 10 of their points.

Scorers -- Old Crescent: L Viapulo try, F Lawler 2 pens, con, A Barry dg. Banbridge: R Thompson try, pen, con; J Murphy try.


Bruff maintained their Division 1B status with a 25-12 victory over Bective Rangers at Kilballyowen.

Eoin Cahill had Bruff's opening try, which his brother Tony converted before Gearoid O'Grady had the first of four penalties for the visitors. John Malone had a second try for Bruff, who led 15-12 at the interval, with Tony Cahill kicking a second penalty.

Another Cahill penalty was followed by a try by John Shine, which Cahill again converted.

Scorers -- Bruff: E Cahill, J Malone, J Shine, try each, T Cahill 2 pens 2 cons. Bective Rangers: G O'Grady 4 pens.


SNOOKER: John Higgins booked his place in the World Championship final after a gritty 17-14 win over Mark Williams. The Welshman dominated early on with three centuries but too many errors cost him. Higgins clung on, however, and battled ahead for the first time at 12-11 yesterday morning.

Resuming 13-11 behind in the afternoon, Williams fought back, but three-time champion Higgins knocked in a 123 before edging two scrappy frames for victory.

In the other semi-final, Ding Junhui narrowly failed to become the first Chinese player to reach the final when he lost 17-15 to 21-year-old Englishman Judd Trump.


ATHLETICS: Having had his Boston Marathon hopes dashed because of blisters, Alistair Cragg returns to the competitive arena when he runs the 5,000m in the Standford University Invitational at Palo Alto, California this afternoon.

The Irishman made a highly promising start in his debut marathon in Boston two weeks ago, but Cragg's feet started to blister for the first time. "I was so disgusted because I had prepared so well and had not missed a beat in any of my sessions," he said.

On the evidence of my recent form I think I can run under 13:20 which would be good in the circumstances. I just never want to hear of these blisters again."


HOCKEY: In the first of the men's IHL semi-finals, Banbridge ousted Glenanne in extra-time, which ended 3-3 in normal time. Banbridge were kept in toe by Glenanne as the sides were even 1-1 at half-time.

And with the teams scoreless in normal extra-time, the game was finally settled by the method which allows the keeper to advance on the penalty taker and Banbridge won 2-0.

Meanwhile, today's final will be an all-Ulster affair after host club Lisnagarvey beat Dubliner's Pembroke Wanderers 2-1 in teh second semi. It was 1-1 at half-time with Timmy Cockram ('Garvey) and Paddy Good (Pembroke) on target, but it was all decided after the break, with a Cockram penalty

Pegasus will face Hermes in teh women's final after wins over UCD and Railway Union.

Hermes brushed aside Railway Union with three second-half goals inside a six-minute spell. Railway were 1-0 in front at half-time with Alex Speers on target, but two goals from Eimear Horan and one from Lisa Jacob sealed a 3-1 win.

Pegasus ran out easy 4-1 winners over the UCD with Claire McMahon notching a brace.


SWIMMING: Ulster woman Melanie Nocher qualified for the World Championships after holding off Aisling Cooney to win the 200m backstroke at the Irish long course championships in the NAC.

Nocher, who won in 2:12.25 ahead of Dubliner Cooney, 2:17.45, will join Grainne Murphy and Barry Murphy at the World Championships in Shanghai in July.

Teenager Sycerika McMahon managed to edge ahead of Niamh O'Sullivan to claim her sixth gold of the championships in the 400m freestyle final.

At the half-way mark, Nuala Murphy dropped away leaving McMahon and O'Sullivan to dominate. They turned at the last within four hundredths of a second of each other.

O'Sullivan dug in deep, but McMahon powered through on the last 25 metres to touch the wall ahead of the Kerry woman in 4:17.39 -- just over a second faster than O'Sullivan, 4:18.17.

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