Sunday 25 March 2018

In Brief: Offaly hold off battling Derry

CAMOGIE: Offaly booked their place in a third successive All-Ireland final with a hard-fought 2-12 to 1-13 victory over Derry in the Gala All-Ireland intermediate semi-final at Clones yesterday.

Last year's junior champions were in fine fettle in the first half and Siobhan Flannery's goal gave them a 1-6 to 0-3 lead at the change of ends.

Offaly maintained that advantage for most of the second half, despite the efforts of Karen Kielt, who slotted 0-4 from frees. Katie McCauley halved the deficit with a goal, but Elaine Dermody responded in kind and the Faithful county held on despite a late surge from Derry.

Meanwhile, a goal in the first minute by the outstanding Ciara O'Connor proved the difference as Wexford kept their double dreams alive to win by 1-9 to 0-10 against Limerick.

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GAELIC GAMES: Kerry powered their way into the All-Ireland under 21 football B championship final with a facile 3-25 to 1-9 victory over Fermanagh in Pearse Stadium yesterday.

The Kingdom led by 1-11 to 1-6 at the break and cantered to victory in the second half, thanks to two goals from 16-year-old substitute Padraig Boyle. Boyle crashed to the net with his first touch in the 34th minute; six points without reply followed soon after to all but end the contest.

Elsewhere, a 52nd-minute goal from substitute Noel Fagan helped Meath to run out easy 3-17 to 1-9 winners over a dogged Roscommon in their All-Ireland under 21 hurling B semi-final in Mullingar.

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CRICKET: Alex Cusack has been ruled out of Ireland's touring squad for their forthcoming Intercontinental Cup and one-day internationals against Canada. Cusack requires surgery to cure a long-standing muscle problem. He will be out for at least six weeks.

Andre Botha, however, has recovered from his stress fracture and Phil Eaglestone from his side strain, and both are included in the squad. Niall O'Brien is also recovering well from an operation on his finger.

William Porterfield, Boyd Rankin and Gary Wilson are all required by their respective counties.

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Pakistan beat England by four wickets in the third Test at the Oval yesterday but not before some nervous moments as they lost three quick wickets in their pursuit of a modest winning target of 148.

The Pakistanis were cruising at 124 for three after ending England's second innings for 222 in the first over of the day. But in a spell that revived English hopes, Azhar Ali ran himself out for five, Mohammad Yousuf was yorked by James Anderson for 33 and Kamran Akmal was dismissed lbw for a duck without playing a shot.

With rain in the air and a capacity crowd cheering England on, Pakistan eventually survived the assault to win with more than a day to spare.

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TENNIS: Irish duo James Cluskey and Colin O'Brien yesterday captured their second ITF Futures doubles title in the space of four weeks.

The top-seeded north Dubliners came up trumps in Jurmala, Latvia, edging unseeded Czech Republic opponents Jakub Lustyk and David Novak in the final after a marathon 26-point champions' tie-break to win 2-6 6-3 14-12.

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CYCLING: Ireland clinched their first gold medal yesterday when Mark Rohan won the Hand Cycling Road Race at the World Para Cycling Championships in Canada. Rohan blasted off from the front and landed the spoils in style.

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ATHLETICS: Kate Veale, the 16-year-old from West Waterford AC, just missed out on a medal when she finished fourth in the women's 5km walk at the inaugural Youth Olympic Games in Singapore yesterday.

Veale broke her own Irish junior record by a full 16 seconds in 22:36.97, which left her less than a second behind the Russian bronze medallist.

Elsewhere, Catherina McKiernan made a surprise return to competitive athletics in the Frank Duffy Memorial 10 mile road race in the Phoenix Park yesterday. The former world cross-country silver medallist (four times in all) finished third behind winner Maria McCambridge. Andy Douglas from Scotland won the men's event.

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GOLF: Ireland's Des Smyth is one round away from joining a very select group of golfers to have won a tournament in each of the last five decades after moving just two strokes from the lead heading to the final round of the Scottish Seniors Open at St Andrews Bay.

Smyth carded a second-round 70 to finish at three under par, with defending champion Glen Ralph of America (71) leading at five under par.

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Sweden's Peter Hanson leads the Czech Open by four shots with a round to go -- and victory for the 32-year-old in Celadna today will knock Paul Casey out of a Ryder Cup qualifying place with a week to go.

To add to Casey's problems, England's Simon Dyson has moved into joint second place and he too can oust him from the all-important top nine with a win. It is a nightmare scenario for Casey, Padraig Harrington, Justin Rose and Luke Donald, who all miss next week's race-ending Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles, preferring instead the FedEx Cup play-offs in the USA.

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Hockey: The Irish men's team had to surrender their hopes of going into today's final match against Malaysia all square as the visitors sealed the four-match series with a 3-2 victory yesterday, grabbing a late winner after a gallant Irish comeback.

Malaysia led 1-0 at half time with a goal from Baljit Singh and added another through Saari Faizal four minutes after the break. Timmy Cockram pulled one back on 53 minutes and Alan Sothern levelled from a penalty corner with seven minutes to go. But Malaysia clinched the win with a penalty corner goal by Hafifihafiz.

Sunday Independent

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