In brief: Stunned Niland blitzed by Bohli
CONOR NILAND'S hopes of building on his victory over former world No 1 Thomas Muster lay in tatters after the second round of the ATP Challenger Tour event in Braunschweig, Germany yesterday.
The Limerick man found himself on the wrong end of an emphatic 6-1 6-2 scoreline in his clash against Switzerland's Stephane Bohli, which will be his last competitive contest before Ireland's Davis Cup tie against Lithuania in Dublin next weekend.
However, there was Irish joy in the ITF Futures event in Manchester, with Dublin duo James Cluskey and Barry King clinching places in the doubles semi-finals.
Cluskey is partnered by Australian Colin Ebelthite, while King has teamed up with American Ashwin Kumar. Elsewhere, top seed Daniel Glancy shaped impressively in his opening match in theInvestec Irish Close Championships at Donnybrook LTC last night, seeing off the unseeded David Glennon 6-2 6-1.
England manager Martin Johnson yesterday dropped former captain Steve Borthwick from his new elite 32-man squad.
The Saracens lock was skipper for the first 20 Tests of Johnson's tenure before a knee injury forced him to miss the Six Nations finale against France.
Uncapped Dave Attwood of Gloucester, Tom Palmer of Stade Francais, Wasps Simon Shaw and Northampton's Courtney Lawes are the locks included.
Borthwick (30) has to make do with a place in the second-string Saxons squad, along with two Lions -- wing Ugo Monye and hooker Lee Mears -- and six other players demoted from the senior squad. Steffon Armitage, Louis Deacon, Jordan Crane, Mathew Tait, Dan Hipkiss and Paul Hodgson all drop down.
Ireland started their three-match series against France in Cookstown last night with a 3-1 win over Les Bleus.
While they never quite threatened to repeat their 7-0 success on Sunday against the same opposition in the Celtic Cup decider at Le Touquet, the home side held an edge throughout this encounter.
They were ahead at half-time thanks to Timmy Cockram, who sliced through the defence to score from open play.
Midfielder Andy McConnell popped up to grab the second goal in the 52nd minute and, though the visitors pulled one back to keep things competitive for a while, Chris Cargo's late goal put the result beyond their reach.
The two sides meet again at the same Coolnafranky venue tomorrow and again on Sunday.