Friday 23 February 2018

In brief: Political shadow over Irish qualifier


World politics and those of international cricket will loom large in the next 10 days as Ireland take on Zimbabwe in Harare in an InterContinental Cup qualifier followed by three one-day games.

The four Northern Ireland-born players in the squad -- captain William Porterfield, Paul Stirling, Andrew White and Gary Wilson -- have travelled to Zimbabwe against the wishes of the British government that opposes sporting contact with President Robert Mugabe's country.

And while the Irish Government has given the trip its blessing, many critics believe that the long-term ambitions of Cricket Ireland are being exploited by the ICC, as cricket's world governing body desperately tries to bring the Africans out of isolation. Scotland, by contrast, have refused to travel to Zimbabwe.

Ireland need to achieve a first-innings lead and win the game to stay in contention to reach a fourth successive final in November, but with their opponents and Scotland much better placed, even a full-points victory may not be enough.


Just a week ahead of his departure for the World Equestrian Games in Kentucky, show-jumper Billy Twomey scored a sensational hat-trick in Barcelona over the weekend, including victory in Saturday night's Grand Prix, WRITES LOUISE PARKES.

Torrential rain disrupted the programme of events at the 5-Star Spanish fixture, but nothing could throw the Irishman off his stride.

Having clinched the opening Speed class with Cavinem on Thursday, he came back to win Friday's Accumulator with the same horse and then scooped €10,000 and a Seat Exeo car when topping the Grand Prix with the stallion Je T'Aime Flamenco.


Derek Tohill from Kimmage became the first Irish driver to become a European Rallycross champion when he won the Division 2 A Final at Ceska Lipa in the Czech Republic yesterday.

The 34-year-old Dubliner was under severe pressure all the way from double title-holder Knut Ove Borseth of Norway, but his Rathgar Motor Factors Fiesta came through to win the race on the final lap. His rival could only finish fourth, leaving Tohill well clear in the points table.


Newly elevated Weston were given a foretaste of the challenge that lies ahead as they lost 3-1 to Fingal in the Neville Cup, writes David Medcalf.

Enda Tucker converted an equaliser from the penalty spot for the Lucan-based outfit after Gary Sharman slammed home the opener in the season's curtain raiser at Griffeen Valley. However, there was no coming back from a couple of David Bane strikes at penalty corners.

Meanwhile, new look Pembroke Wanderers had every reason to be grateful for the return of Ronan Flannery from his stint with UCD as they beat arch rivals Three Rock Rovers after a penalty shoot-out. Pembroke twice trailed to Rovers only for Flannery to tee up Paddy Good for one goal and then hit another off his own stick.

Also through to the second round are Railway Union, who triumphed in a penalty shoot-out against Corinthians, and Clontarf, who defeated Avoca.


Novak Djokovic defied injury to keep Serbia in the Davis Cup before Janko Tipsarevic powered them into the final against France.

The world No 2 looked down and out when he suffered a serious-looking knee problem midway through the second set against the Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych, having lost the first.

However, he battled through and went from strength to strength to win 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 as Berdych struggled to find anything left in the tank.

And Tipsarevic then withstood a second-set resurgence from Radek Stepanek to complete a straight-sets win and a 3-2 victory in the tie.


THERE were two Irish top-10 finishers in yesterday's prestigious 30th Bupa Great North Run in Newcastle, England, where Haile Gebrselassie was the only man to break 60 minutes, writes Cliona Foley.

The 37-year-old Ethiopian legend won the men's race in 59 minutes and 33 seconds ahead of Kenya's Kiplimo Kimutai (61:23) and Morocco's Jaouad Gharib (62:00), while US-based Mullingar Olympian Martin Fagan took seventh among the elite men in 63:24.

Maria McCambridge (Letterkenny) came ninth in the elite women's event in 74 minutes and 32 seconds, which shaved two-and-a-half minutes off her previous personal best in a half-marathon.

The women's race was won by another Ethiopian veteran, Berhane Adere (68:49), ahead of Portuguese pair Ana Dulce Felix (69:01) and Marisa Barros (69:09).

Table Tennis

Zhao Li, Club Donic's Chinese star, suffered his first defeat at Cadet level in nearly two years when he fell to Eastpoint's Ryan Farrell in a thrilling five-set final of the STIGA Junior Classification.

Farrell's attacking style and lethal backhand proved decisive in taming Li's powerful forehand, as he controlled the fifth set to claim the first national title of the season.

In the Junior Boys, ALSAA's Sam Logue comfortably took the title in four sets over Ashley Robinson, while in the Junior Girls, Ulster's Ashley Givan was in sparkling form as she defeated Mayo's Sarah Timlin in the final.

The Cadet Girl's title was claimed by Balgriffin's Meadhbh Slattery, who beat Ulster's Emma Ludlow 11-9 in the fifth set.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport