In Brief: Twomey round helps Irish effort
The Irish show jumping team contributed €4,000 to Goal's Haiti Disaster Fun when finishing seventh in the €100,000 Nations Cup in Abu Dhabi yesterday, writes louise parkes.
On Tuesday the riders pledged their winnings from this competition to the charity, but while the British claimed the €30,000 top prize the Irish lined up behind six other nations when Billy Twomey and J'Taime Flamenco produced the only first-round clear. Dermott Lennon (Hallmark Elite) and Cameron Hanley (Southwind VDL) picked up four faults while Cian O'Connor (Rancorrado) collected five.
Lennon returned a 13-fault result second time out, Twomey picked up nine, Hanley had a single time fault and O'Connor didn't return to the ring. Lennon won Thursday's opener with Tolett and placed seventh in yesterday's Dubai Racing Speed Cup in which Hanley and SIEC Caro Ass finished fourth. The €300,000 Grand Prix takes place today.
Reigning Olympic and World super-heavyweight champion Roberto Cammarelle has been named on a star-studded Italian team to meet Ireland in Dublin and Belfast next month.
Current World lightweight champion Domenico Valentino has also been included on the Italian team, along with 2007 World heavyweight champion Clemente Russo to face Ireland on March 12/14.
The Irish squad for the double-header will be named after the Elite National Senior Championships conclude on the weekend of March 5/6.
Niko Eeckhout is flying the flag on behalf of the An Post/Sean Kelly Team in the Etoile de Besseges five-day stage race in France.
Yesterday Eeckhout finished fourth on stage three over 148kms into Ceze behind Samuel Dumoulin (Cofidis) who held off the challenge of race leader Borut Bozic (Vacansoleil) who has already banked two stage wins.
Eeckhout is now second in the overall standings behind Bozic, who has a 16-second advantage. The Irish contingent of Nicolas Roche, Connor McConvey and Paidi O'Brien all finished in the main group yesterday. Today is the penultimate stage over 148km stage to Ales.
Conor Niland followed up his two wins in the Australian Open qualifying with his third victory in the ATP Challenger Tour event in Kazan, Russia.
Unseeded Niland meets Julian Reister of Germany in the singles semi-final after the No 7 seed, Russia's Konstantin Kravchuk, retired injured when trailing the Davis Cup ace 2-6 and 0-1.
Meanwhile, Barry King and Colin O'Brien clinched a doubles semi-final place in the ITF Futures event in Nussloch, Germany after they beat Luxembourg's Gilles Muller and Mike Scheidweiler 6-4 1-6 10-6.