In brief: Olympic sponsor boost for Taylor
Katie Taylor signed a major Olympic sponsorship yesterday but stressed that she still has to qualify for the 2012 Games, writes Cliona Foley.
Such is her status as a world and European champion that Taylor is the first athlete to be signed up as an 'ambassador' by P&G, one of the main sponsors of the Olympic Games.
But the Bray star was keen to stress that she still has to achieve Olympic qualification and that her sport is getting more competitive every season.
"There are only three (women's) weights in the Olympics -- 51kg, 60kg (her weight) and 75kg -- so there will be a lot of us fighting for those places," she said.
To make it to London she will have to finish in the top eight at next year's World Championships, and Taylor said the fact that this tournament does not take place until next May leaves it worryingly close to the Games to qualify.
"Obviously it's not going to be easy, but I'm hoping to be in London 2012 and this sponsorship will be a great help to me," she said.
Niall O'Brien has been forced to withdraw from Ireland's squad for the RSA Series against Pakistan this weekend after suffering a hairline fracture to his left hand.
The wicket-keeper, who scored 72 and was Man of the Match when Ireland beat Pakistan at the 2007 World Cup, was struck on the hand while making his first one-day century for Northamptonshire last week.
"It's a massive disappointment," he said. "I've been in good form this season and I was desperate to play after what happened the last time against Pakistan. Hopefully the injury isn't too bad and I'll be playing again in around three weeks."
O'Brien has been replaced by Clontarf batsman Andrew Poynter for the two one-day internationals against Pakistan in Belfast on Saturday and Monday.
Paul McGinley has been told by doctors that he requires an eighth knee operation, though he's hoping that surgery, this time on his right knee, can be postponed until the end of the season.
McGinley has struggled to get back into his stride on Tour after surgery on his left knee the winter before last.
Though the Dubliner missed the cut for the fifth time in nine events in Mallorca the week before last, he says: "I played well but putted abysmally.
"You probably have to go back 18 months to where I felt I had a really good week, I was on top of my game and was really competing. Yet I'm hitting too many good quality shots, I know it's in there."
This week's BMW PGA at Wentworth, where McGinley feels very much at home, offers the Dubliner an opportunity to rediscover the old champion within.