Sunday 19 November 2017

Ireland lose out in U18 final

Ireland's James Ryan passes to his team-mate John Molony in their FIRA U18 European Championship final against England
Ireland's James Ryan passes to his team-mate John Molony in their FIRA U18 European Championship final against England

rugby: Ireland's failure to deal with England's physicality was the defining feature of their 30-14 defeat to the holders in the FIRA-AER European Under 18 Championship final at Wronki, Poland yesterday.

There were times in the first half when the Irish were clinical on the front foot, fullback Jack Power wrong-footing the defence and flanker Will Connors dotting down from close range, with flyhalf Matthew Gilsenan converting both.

But England flyhalf Harry Mallinder added the extras to tries from fullback Taylor Prell and an interception by centre Luca Slowik for a 17-14 lead at the interval.

From there, the power game of England was just too much. They ruined Ireland's ruck ball, improved their own lineout and kept coming in waves for Prell to pinch his second try and for openside Josh Bainbridge to touch down at the rear of a maul.

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Edinburgh's European Rugby Champions Cup hopes suffered a major blow as they suffered a surprise 26-13 defeat to Zebre in Italy.

The Scots need to overtake Scarlets and finish in the top six of the RaboDirect Pro12 to qualify for next season's top-tier competition, but missed the chance to make up ground and trail the Welsh region by 10 points with just three games remaining.

Zebre did their chances of qualification no harm at all as the bottom team closed the gap on Italian rivals Benetton Treviso to just four points.

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Instonians, a club formed in 1918 which has produced 29 Irish internationals as well as two Lions captains – Sammy Walker (1938) and Robin Thompson (1955) – have been relegated to the Ulster Junior League after Kanturk gained a warranted 24-13 win in the All-Ireland League Division 2B play-off at Shaw's Bridge yesterday.

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golf: Mourne's Reeve Whitson added a 65 to his opening 69 to top the qualifiers on another day of hot scoring in the Radisson Blu-sponsored West of Ireland at County Sligo Golf Club,Rosses Point, writes Brian Keogh.

The Co Down 22-year-old had six birdies on an immaculate card to finish two strokes ahead of Portmarnock's Geoff Lenehan (70) on eight-under 134 and clinch the silver medal. The cut fell at six-over-par 148 – the lowest mark since 2007 – after another day of brilliant sunshine and low scoring.

Remarkably, there were three albatross twos made over the first two days, including two yesterday.

Stephen McCarthy, of Black Bush, had a two at the 479-yard par-five fifth in a 74 on Friday but missed the cut by four shots.

Yesterday, Tom Gandy, from Mount Murray GC on the Isle of Man, had a two at the 531-yard 12th in a second-round 68 to qualify with ease on 138. Ulsterman Matt Wylie also had a two at the fifth, but a 76 for 150 saw him miss out.

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formula 1: Mercedes motorsport boss Toto Wolff hailed Lewis Hamilton as "mega'' and "in a league of his own'' on the day he made British Formula One history.

On a dank, grey day in Shanghai, Hamilton at least shone by dominating every qualifying session to claim the 34th pole position of his career.

The 29-year-old is now the most successful Briton over one lap in the sport's 64-year-history, moving ahead of legendary three-time champion Jim Clark, as well as France's four-times king Alain Prost.

After clinching back-to-back wins for the first time in four years with his recent successes in Malaysia and Bahrain, Hamilton is now poised to claim three victories in a row for the first time in his career, which would allow him to close the 11-point gap to team-mate and championship leader Nico Rosberg, who starts fourth behind Red Bull duo Ricciardo and reigning four-times champion Vettel.

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Motorsport: Finns Esapekka Lappi and Janne Ferm returned to Belfast yesterday as the clear winners of the Discover Northern Ireland Circuit of Ireland International Rally, with their Skoda Fabia finishing the two-day event almost two minutes ahead of Sepp Wiegand and Frank Christian of Germany, who made it a Skoda 1-2.

Robert Barrable was the highest placed of the home drivers in his Ford Fiesta, taking third with his British co-driver Stuart Loudon just 7.5 seconds behind Weigand.

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cycling: Sean McKenna, of the Cycling Ireland Development, is the new race leader of the Kerry Group Ras Mumhan after stage two in Kenmare yesterday. McKenna, a student at UCD, holds a one-second lead over 2011 winner Sean Lacey of Aqua Blue.

Yesterday's stage, over 144km with a start and finish in Kenmare, was won by Dylan Foley of Cycling Ireland Development. Overnight leader Cathal Moynihan (Tralee Manor West BC) dropped out of contention, coming in over five minutes in arrears of the stage winner.

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snooker: Ken Doherty displayed all of his experience and fighting spirit to battle back from 3-0 down to trail 5-4 in the opening session of his World Championship first-round clash with Stuart Bingham.

The 1997 world champion kissed the Crucible Theatre's carpet on his way into the arena for his tussle.

The session was in the balance until Bingham pinched the eighth frame to guarantee himself a lead. It will be with only a slender advantage that he resumes with today however, after Doherty took frame nine with a flourish.

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