In brief: Simmons takes heart from loss
IRELAND will be in optimistic mood when they take on the West Indies at the Twenty20 World Cup after only narrowly losing to the hosts in back-to-back meetings in Jamaica over the weekend.
Particularly pleasing for coach Phil Simmons is that his team are now striking the fours and sixes that were missing when Ireland reached the Super Eight of last year's bash in England.
Wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien was the star turn with the bat on Saturday night, smashing 62 from 44 balls -- including six fours and two sixes -- as Ireland finished 18 runs behind the home side's 171-7 at Sabina Park.
Then, in a rematch reduced to 15 overs per side by rain on Sunday, Ireland came up 16 runs short despite clearing the boundary ropes nine times -- four of the maximums coming from the bat of Trent Johnston as the Railway Union all-rounder sped to 39 from 20 balls.
Skipper William Porterfield had set the tone by lifting the first ball of Ireland's reply into the stands, and struck another six on his way to 25 from 18 balls, but, with wickets falling regularly, the West Indies' 152-4 was always just out of reach as Ireland finished on 136-7.
The national squad now relocate to Guyana for practice matches against New Zealand and Afghanistan before attempting to get the better of the West Indies or England in the group stages of the 12-team World event.
Record Boston time for Kenyan Cheruiyot
Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot of Kenya won the 114th Boston Marathon in a record time of 2 hrs, 5 mins and 52 seconds yesterday.
Ethiopia's Teyba Erkesso took the women's title, sprinting to the tape to win by three seconds in the third-closest women's finish in event history.
Cheruiyot was 82 seconds faster than the course record set in 2006 by four-time winner Robert Kipkoech Cheruiyot, who's not related.
The 2010 champions each earned over €110,000 and a golden olive wreath from the city of Marathon, Greece, while Cheruiyot gets an extra €18,000 for the course record.
Niland shocked by teenager Kelly
RISING young Australian ace Dayne Kelly pulled off a shock win over Ireland's Conor Niland in the ATP Challenger Tour event in Florida yesterday.
Playing in qualifying of a Challenger event for the first time since last May in Turkey, Niland romped to two comfortable straight-set wins on Sunday. But in yesterday's final round, with a place in the main draw at stake, the Limerick man came up short against his 19-year-old opponent on a 6-7 (4/7) 2-6 scoreline.
Elsewhere, five-time defending champion Rafael Nadal will miss the Barcelona Open this weekend because of knee problems.