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Monday 11 December 2017

In Brief: Poynter leads Tarf to victory

Cricket: A brilliant century by Andrew Poynter proved the difference between the sides in the final of the RSA Irish Senior Cup last night, writes Ger Siggins. The Clontarf batsman mastered the Merrion attack and a slow wicket to claim the trophy for his club for the first time. His unbeaten 102 made it an easy choice for Phil Simmons's man-of-the-match award.

Merrion lost two early wickets but John Anderson (87) and Brett Thompson (78) staged a strong recovery. The track was difficult for driving and Zander van der Merwe picked up several wickets from balls that held up. It took a typically belligerent 51 not out off 31 balls by Dom Joyce to get Merrion past 250.

Clontarf's in-form Bill Coghlan exacerbated a groin injury but battled through a solid stand with Dom Rigby. But with Merrion's bowlers failing to trouble him, Poynter added 89 with Andre Botha – collecting a record sixth winners' medal – and 97 with Eoghan Delany. The rookie captain emulated his father Gerry, who captained Leinster in the first Irish Senior Cup final in 1982.

With rain beginning to fall Poynter played a gorgeous cover drive to bring up his century and the last rites followed.

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Ladies football: Cork produced a remarkable comeback to clinch a 1-19 to 2-12 victory over Dublin and book their place in the semi-finals of the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC.

Dublin looked on course for a landmark victory in the second half at St Brendan's Park, Birr yesterday as they led 2-12 to 0-9. But after Sinéad Aherne popped over a point to put the Sky Blues nine points in front, they failed to score again for the remainder of the game.

Instead, All-Ireland champions Cork hit 1-10 without reply in the final 20 minutes to clinch a sensational four-point win.

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Kerry needed three late points to snatch a 2-14 to 2-13 victory over Mayo in a gripping All-Ireland Ladies SFC quarter-final at Birr yesterday afternoon.

Cora Staunton scored 1-9 for Mayo, a tally matched by Kerry's Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh.

Mayo looked set for victory as they led 2-13 to 2-11 inside the last 10 minutes but late scores from Ní Mhuircheartaigh, impressive sub Margaret Fitzgerald and Louise Galvin snatched a sensational win for the Munster champions.

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Gaelic football: Cork won the All-Ireland Junior Football Championship for the 17th time when edging out Kildare 0-13 to 1-7 at Limerick last night.

The winners led 0-9 to 0-3 at the break, but the game changed dramatically seven minutes after the restart when midfielder Keith Cribben gave Kildare a lifeline with a goal. That left only three points between the sides, and 10 minutes from time it was all square.

But points by Cathal Vaughan, Ruairi Deane and Kevin O'Driscoll finally sealed the issue.

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Hockey: Ireland slid out of European women's top division for the first time after a 3-1 defeat in their relegation duel with Scotland in Antwerp.

Darren Smith's side began the game brightly with a tap-in goal on 20 minutes by Anna O'Flanagan.

However, Scotland struck back and won a penalty at their first corner, converted from the spot by Catriona Ralph, and Nikki Kidd propelled them into a 2-1 half-time lead at their second corner. Their third, from another set-piece, allowed Holly Cram to make victory secure.

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Athletics: Maria McCambridge put the disappointment of the World Championships in Moscow behind her to claim her third Dublin Race Series title of the summer when she took the honours in yesterday's Airtricity Frank Duffy 10 Mile race in the Phoenix Park. She was followed home by Siobhán O'Doherty who had claimed the Women's Mini-Marathon title earlier in the year.

The men's race was won by Britain's Matt Gunby who had finished second in last year's race. Gunby bettered last year's time by 41 seconds to claim first prize, with a time of 00.49.29. Scottish runner John Lilly finished second with Seán Hehir best of the home runners in third.

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Rugby: New Zealand retained the Bledisloe Cup for an 11th successive year with a comprehensive 27-16 win over Australia in Wellington.

Winger Ben Smith made it five tries in two Tests when adding a brace to his first Test hat-trick, while debutant fly-half Tom Taylor kept the points coming with a conversion and four penalty goals for 14.

The Wallabies' try, scored by winger Israel Folau, came from an intercept, but Australia's forwards were taken to the cleaners by the All Blacks.

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Second-half tries from Ryan Shortland and Andrew Higgins saw Newcastle Falcons inflict a third pre-season defeat on Connacht with a 23-10 victory at Kingston Park.

Pat Lam handed a debut to Super 15 double winner Craig Clarke, but they only managed a first-half penalty from Dan Parks and Willie Faloon's late try.

But Lam will draw plenty of positives from their first 40 minutes as Connacht trailed just 6-3 after a pair of penalties by Joel Hodgson gave the home side the advantage.

And after the restart replacement Phil Godman edged them further in front before Shortland crashed over in the 48th minute and 13 minutes from time Higgins made sure of the victory for Newcastle.

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Andrew Conway limped off seconds after scoring a try on his Munster debut as Rob Penney's side impressed in a 28-17 victory over Gloucester at Thomond Park.

Denis Hurley, JJ Hanrahan and CJ Stander also crossed for the home side, who impressed before all 18 replacements were introduced in the second-half.

Denis Hurley gave Munster a 14-5 lead at the break, and after Steph Reynolds crossed the corner in the 43rd minute, Munster surged to the win with further tries from Hanrahan and Stander.

Sunday Independent

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