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In brief: Victory sends Munster top

RUGBY: Champions Munster went top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table with another superb display, beating Scarlets 35-12 at Musgrave Park last night.

Tony McGahan's men dominated the opening half and the champions were well worth their 20-9 interval lead. Doug Howlett got the first try after 14 minutes when Peter Stringer and his captain Peter O'Mahony combined to send the former All Black down the right wing.

The dominant Munster pack were awarded a penalty try after a five-metre scrum was reset five times. Scarlets reduced the deficit after the restart with another penalty from Dan Newton, but Munster maintained their composure and replacement scrumhalf Duncan Williams broke for their fourth try after 65 minutes.

Munster continued to dominate and did not panic and eventually the Scarlets cover was again exposed with Tommy O'Donnell getting in for their first bonus point of the new campaign to go clear at the top of the table.

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Glasgow took advantage of Leinster sloppiness to earn a well-deserved 23-19 victory at the RDS last night.

Ahead by six points on two different occasions, the defending Heineken Cup champions were dragged back into this contest by their own mistakes, firstly, and secondly, due to some tidy Glaswegian finishing. Yet each time they went behind, Leinster bounced back, scoring a lovely try through Ian Madigan just before half-time and then laying siege to the Glasgow line in the closing minutes.

In the end, though, honest endeavour proved insufficient and Glasgow's concentration in the face of some serious pressure proved decisive.

Leinster looked the more likely when Isa Nacewa kicked two penalties to put them 6-0 ahead before a Scott White penalty and a converted try from Nick Campbell put Glasgow ahead. They didn't stay there for long, though, as Dave Kearney and Dominic Ryan combined to put Madigan in for a try. Three successful Nacewa kicks kept the scoreboard ticking over and by now, victory seemed Leinster's. But no one told Peter Horne who collected Stuart Hogg's pass to score the winning try.

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Connacht's hopes of making an impression in their first season in the Heineken Cup could depend on the outcome of scans on two of their leading players this weekend.

Inspirational No 8 George Naoupu, Connacht's stand-out signing of the summer as they brought the Kiwi back from Japan to the Sportsground, suffered a knee medial ligament injury in the 19-14 defeat to Edinburgh on Friday night.

And tighthead prop Rodney Ah You, 22, -- who has taken over the No 3 shirt since Jamie Hagan departed for Leinster -- suffered a similar injury at Murrayfield. Coach Eric Elwood is now sweating on the results of scans to determine the extend of the injuries. Connacht face a tough maiden season in the Heineken Cup having been drawn with Toulo-use, Gloucester and Harlequins.

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ATHLETICS: Meath runner Mark Hoey had a surprise for the more fancied runners when he won the Half Marathon road race in the Phoenix Park yesterday and now hopes to make an impact in the Lottery Dublin Marathon in six weeks times.

The 24-year-old from the Star of the Sea club came home in 39 seconds ahead of Sligo's Martin Conway in 68:50, with Patrick Cassidy (Glaslough Harriers) 13 seconds adrift in third, with more fancied runners, including the legendary Seamus Power, further adrift.

Power, who seemed to be running comfortably at seven miles, suffered a stitch and eventually finished sixth in 1:10.44 as Siobhan O'Doherty made the best of her way home to take the women's title in the 13.1 miles course. She finished in a personal best time of 76 minutes 27 seconds with the vastly experienced Annette Kealy of Raheny in second place with Lorraine Manning filling the third spot.

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GAELIC GAMES: Bryansford came out on top 1-15 to 2-11 in a cracking all-Down final against Castlewellan to claim the honours in the Blue September Kilmacud Crokes Sevens tournament for the fifth time at Glenalbyn.

The winners got off to a dream start as they worked the ball forward from the throw-in and Ciaran Brannigan rammed a low shot to the Castlewellan net with just 15 seconds gone. Castlewellan came back strongly though and led at half time by 1-7 to 1-6, with help from Kevin Duffin's well-taken goal.

But Bryansford took control in the second half, with Brannigan (1-2) leading the charge assisted by Johnny Cunningham and Danny Savage kicking vital scores to become the fourth Down side to win the title since Castlewellan's success in 2006.

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CAMOGIE: A Bernie Murray point mid-way through the second half ensured that the All-Ireland junior A camogie final will go to a replay after Armagh drew with Westmeath 1-7 to 1-7.

A brilliant Pamela Greville goal in the 12th minute and four points from play by midfielder Denise McGrath put Westmeath in a strong position in the first half but an injury time goal by Brid O'Hagan left Armagh trailing by just three points at the interval.

The second half was a much tighter affair but two Colette McSorley points reduced the margin to the minimum and it was tit-for-tat from there until the end. The replay is scheduled to be played on October 2.

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HOCKEY: With the Olympic qualifiers due early in the New Year, the top clubs in Leinster opened their home season yesterday without many familiar names as international committments means players will miss Leinster League games.

The four top sides from last year saw results go their way with wins for Pembroke, Glenanne, Monkstown and Corinthians at the expense of Fingal, Clontarf, Railway and Three Rock respectively.

Clontarf, however, gave Glenanne a real fight when leading 2-0 at half time, only for Graham Shaw to win the points for the Glens with a second half hat-trick. Likewise Three Rock led Corinthians 2-1 at the break only to fall to a 3-2 loss with David Carson notching the winner. In the women's league Hermes managed to push Loreto all the way before losing 3-2, while Old Alex's new batch of young signings made a impressive start coming away with a 1-1 draw against Railway Union.

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EQUESTRIAN: Cork's Billy Twomey collected E16,000 for a fourth place in last night's Grand Prix at the five-star show in Madrid.

The Irish rider, 34, piloted Sue Davie's stallion Je t'Aime Flamenco, but in a hotly-contested jump-off was just over a second off the pace of Netherlands winner Mikael van der Vleuten and the Dutch-bred VDL Groep Sapphire B.

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CYCLING: Lithuanian Gediminas Bagdonas of the an Post/Sean Kelly team added to his overall victory of the An Post/Ras last May when he bagged the seventh and penultimate stage of the Tour of Britain yesterday.

Bagdonas along with a group of five made good there escape after 13.8km of the 200km stage from Bury St Edmunds and Sandringham.

Initially their lead went up over six minutes before there was a reaction from the bunch. In the end the time gap narrowed. The final stages a time trial and a criterium take place in London today.

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