Thursday 14 November 2019

In Brief: Lowry closes in on leaders

GOLF: Austria's Bernt Wiesberger reeled in England's Ross Fisher at the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura, carding a third-round 65 to move a shot clear at 13-under-par.

Three clear at halfway on 10-under-par, Fisher picked up two more shots en route to a third-round 69.

Shane Lowry moved to within four shots of the lead after a 67, while Damien McGrane carded a 72. Peter Lawrie (72) is a shot behind McGrane at one-under-par.

Lowry is tied third with New Zealand's former US Open champion Michael Campbell and England's Richard Finch, with Miguel Angel Jimenez and Mark Foster one shot further back.

The surprise of the day was that Padraig Harrington fell back. Joint fourth overnight, the Dubliner carded a disappointing 71 and is well off the pace on six-under.

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HORSERACING: Fingal Bay made a winning debut over fences in the Robert Mottram Memorial Novices' Chase at Chepstow yesterday.

Trained by Philip Hobbs, the six-year-old met defeat only once over hurdles, in a Grade One event at Aintree, and was always expected to be a better chaser.

The race lost much of its lustre when Poungach, trained by Paul Nicholls and ridden by Ruby Walsh, fell at the first fence.

That left Fingal Bay out on his own in front and while he jumped well, if a little big, he appeared to be idling after the last, which enabled Tiger O'Toole to throw down a challenge.

However, once Richard Johnson got stuck into him, the 8/13 favourite Fingal Bay managed to respond to win by a length and a half.

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CYCLING: Germany's Tony Martin defended his Tour of Beijing title yesterday as Britain's Steven Cummings won a sprint finish to take the final stage in the Pinggu District of Beijing. Ireland's Daniel Martin finished fourth in the general classification but could only muster 23rd position in the final stage.

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EQUESTRIAN: Kilkenny-born Marion Hughes, who is now based in Dubai, finished second against all the odds in a nail-biting FEI World Cup qualifier in China yesterday.

After her Chinese horse was declared lame just before the event, fellow equestrian Miguel Bravo (Portugal), who was unable to compete, offered Hughes his own horse to ride instead, with the permission of the FEI officials.

Competing ninth in a field of 14 international riders, Hughes, who had never ridden this horse before, steered him to a magnificent clear round.

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BADMINTON: Top seed Mattias Wigardt of Sweden will play second seed Maxime Michel of France in the men's singles final at the Fyffes Irish Futures Badminton Series in Baldoyle today.

Wigardt beat English player Jamie Bonsels in yesterday's semi-finals, while Michel put out Marius Myhre of Sweden. Ireland's Tony Stephenson reached the quarter-finals before losing to Myhre. In the women's singles, Ireland's Sinead Chambers will face the top seed Perrine le Buhanic of France in today's final.

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HANDBALL: Reigning champion Paul Brady is safely through to the last 16 of the World Handball Championships at Citywest but admitted he "will need to improve" is he is to win the title for a record fourth time.

The Cavan man defeated New Yorker Cesar Sala 21-9, 21-1 in his round of 32 clash yesterday in front of 1,500 spectators. The match got off to a bizarre start when the American arrived on court eight minutes late -- tournament rules dictated that Brady would thus begin the match 8-0 ahead and he admitted that the unusual turn of events threw him off his game to an extent. Today, Brady takes on Cork teenager Killian Carroll, the Irish and American U-19 champion.

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HOCKEY: Leinster's sides came out on top in yesterday's Irish Senior Cup first-round ties with Three Rock Rovers, Pembroke, UCD and Fingal advancing, along with Cork Harlequins and Kilkeel.

Three Rock made it in the dying seconds, Mitch Darling scoring the winner to beat Glenanne in the all-Leinster derby, while YMCA were given a stiffer route to their win over Corinthian ending 3-3 in normal time before sealing 3-1 on penalty strokes.

All four top teams in the women's premier Division 1 league kept up their winning run with Railway Union, Loreto and Old Alex all tied on 12 points apiece following the action.

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MOTORSPORT: Australia's Mark Webber seized pole position for the South Korean Formula One Grand Prix yesterday.

Red Bull team-mate Sebastian Vettel had to settle for second place on the starting grid. Ferrari's championship leader Fernando Alonso qualified fourth and shares the second row with McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.

Alonso leads double world champion Vettel by four points with five races, including today's, remaining. Webber is 60 points off the lead.

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TENNIS: Andy Murray dismantled world No 1 Roger Federer in straight sets in yesterday's semi-final to continue his remarkable winning run at the Shanghai Masters after a thrilling 6-4 6-4 game.

The in-form Scot set up a title match with Novak Djokovic, who cruised into the final with a 6-3 6-4 win over Tomas Berdych.

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SOCCER: Ireland's U-19's yesterday beat Macedonia 1-0 to sweep into the elite stage of the UEFA qualification series by claiming one of the two qualifying berths available from their four-nation first-phase pool.

Aston Villa's Mikey Drennan, fresh from his hat-trick in the 5-2 win against Luxembourg, gave a superb individual showing capped by the winning goal.

Gjoko Zajkov's mistimed challenge on Manchester United striker Sam Byrne nine minutes from full-time inside the box allowed Drennan to smash home the penalty.

Ireland are now assured of a place in the elite phase to be played next May. They will need to top another four-nation group to qualify for the Lithuania-hosted finals in July.

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BASKETBALL: Eagles maintained their 100 per cent record heading into next weekends big clash with Demons, with a 78-62 win over Moycullen at the UL Arena last night.

Moycullen, who were missing key starter Cian Nihill, opted for youth once more and matched UL in the early stages.

But baskets from Robert Taylor and Jason Killeen saw UL start to pull away near the end of the first quarter and with Scott Kinevane and Stephen King also prominent they had opened up a 15-point lead at the break.

Elsewhere, Killester lost 54-67 at home to local rivals DCU Saints.

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