Sunday 18 February 2018

In Brief: Lansdowne edge to title

Lansdowne's quest to be crowned Ulster Bank League Division 1A champions continued in emphatic style on the Aviva Stadium's back pitch yesterday, as the Craig Ronaldson-inspired outfit put reigning holders St Mary's College to the sword 35-6.

Simon Morrissey's try got Mike Ruddock's charges up and running, and even though Ronaldson was off target with the conversion, he made no mistake from his first penalty opportunity moments later.

Gavin Dunne kicked a brace of penalties for the visitors, but a penalty try for Lansdowne gave them a 13-6 half-time cushion.

Lansdowne were able to re-assert their superiority on the tie as Ronaldson once again found his range with two penalties. Powerful duo Charlie Butterworth and Ron Boucher finished off St Mary's with two scores to put them in an almost unassailable position with just four games left to play.

*****

Paul O'Connell played his first 80 minutes since last October when he turned out for Young Munster against Cork Con yesterday in the All-Ireland League at Clifford Park. O'Connell dominated the lineouts but a try in stoppage-time by Alex Ryan gave Cork Con a flattering 10-9 win.

*****

Gaelic Games: St Kieran's College, Kilkenny booked their place in the semi-finals of the All-Ireland colleges senior hurling championship after beating Our Lady's of Templemore 4-11 to 2-8 in Johnstown yesterday.

Goals from Chris Bolger, Vincent Teehan and Michael Kenny helped the winners into a 3-7 to 0-3 half-time lead.

Our Lady's gained some momentum after the break, and with free-taker John McGrath in good form they reduced the deficit from 1-6 to 3-7. But Kieran's upped the tempo again and there was no way back for the Tipperary side.

*****

County minors Shane Caulfield and Jason Flynn were to the fore as Mercy Colleges, Galway, fought back against Ulster Colleges to reach the last four of the All-Ireland senior hurling 'A' post-primary schools championships on a 2-12 to 1-14 scoreline.

Mattie Lennon's accuracy from frees helped the Ulster Colleges into a 0-10 to 0-5 lead at the break and this lead was extended when Domhnaill Nugent found the net. However, Flynn struck two goals to change the game completely, the second from the penalty spot. And then in the final moments, captain Caulfield drilled over a point from half way to secure a dramatic win.

*****

WESTMEATH star Ruth Kearney scored 2-3 as Queen's University, Belfast were crowned O'Connor Cup champions for the very first time.

Queen's, managed by Armagh boss James Daly stunned three-time winners DCU by 4-10 to 1-9 at Waterford IT's sports campus yesterday.

DCU were appearing in their fourth final in five seasons, having won three-in-a-row from 2009-11, but they could not live with first-time finalists Queen's during the second half. Kearney claimed the player of the match award for her sensational individual display as Mairead Cooper and Louise Kelly added the other goals for Queen's.

*****

TENNIS: Colin O'Brien yesterday underlined that he has made a full recovery after a two-year arm injury by reeling off his third singles win in the ITF Futures event in Guimares, Portugal.

Though he struggled in the second set, the 28-year-old Dubliner clinched a semi-final place by edging the host country's Joao Domingues in a three-set battle 7-6 (7/5) 0-6 7-5.

O'Brien and Limerick's Sam Barry also qualified for the doubles final by surprising the No 2 seeds, Portugal's Goncalo Falcao and Brazil's Fabricio Neis, on a 7-6 (7/5) 6-4 margin.

*****

Hockey: Cork C of I crushed the holders Cork Harlequins 6-0 to clinch the men's Munster Cup yesterday. It proved an embarrassing result for the Harlequins outfit, who shipped five goals in the first half. Striker Stephen Sweetnam bagged four goals, with Richard Lynch also getting on the scoresheet.

In the women's competition, Catholic Institute collected their third successive title, beating UCC 2-0. Elaine Bromell's first-half goal gave Institute the upperhand, but had to wait until the final quarter before Katie Campbell made the game safe.

*****

CAMOGIE: Derry claimed their second consecutive victory in their inaugural Division 1 campaign. Katie McAnenly was on fire for John Mullan's side, plundering 3-2 against a beleaguered Tipperary defence, while Grainne McGoldrick registered 1-6.

Aoife Ni Chasadaigh in the Derry defence was the game's outstanding performer.

Also in Group 1, champions Cork made it two out of two with resounding ease, accounting for a pointless Offaly by 1-14 to 0-3 at O'Connor Park.

*****

Basketball: Defending champions UL Huskies are through to the league final after a strong second-quarter against Ulster Rockets at the Neptune Arena yesterday.

UL had led by two points after a tight first-quarter but then went into overdrive, with guard Louise Galvin leading the way.

UL gradually pulled way, with Aoife McDermott and Rachel Van Derwal to the fore in their 78-48 win.

DCU Mercy overcame Glanmire 60-50 in the other semi-final. Mercy successfully marked Grainne Dwyer out of the game and hit three shots from the outside, including one crucial basket from Suzanne Maguire to pull away in the last quarter.

Irish Independent

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