Tuesday 20 February 2018

Ireland suffer European loss

HOCKEY: Ireland's ladies' European hockey championships got off to a bad start as they lost 3-0 to hosts Germany on the opening day at Monchengladbach yesterday.

The prospect of an Irish upset looked remote from just 73 seconds into the contest when veteran home striker Natascha Keller latched on to a loose ball and dispatched it high into Emma Gray's net.

Keller, with 390 caps to her credit, then earned the penalty which earned her captain Fanny Rinne the chance to extend the lead from the penalty spot, duly dispatched on 22 minutes.

With Gray pulling off a great block to thwart Maike Stockel, the score remained 2-0 at the break but the on-form goalie was beaten once more, on 43 minutes.

This time her tormentor was Julia Muller, who hammered home a penalty corner that found the target despite the combined efforts of Gray and Cliodhna Sargent.

Irish efforts at the set pieces were less successful, with Audrey O'Flynn firing wide and Michelle Harvey well closed down at the two corners earned by the side. Ireland will hope to improve when they take on Belgium today.

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CRICKET: England overcame the loss of the afternoon session to rain to put India on the rack again and set themselves up for a series whitewash on the third day of the fourth and final test at the Oval.

At the close of play India were reeling at 103 for five in reply to England's 591 for six declared with Rahul Dravid, the only one of their celebrated batsmen to live up to his reputation this series, unbeaten on 57.

Off-spinnerGraeme Swann, who has endured a unproductive series so far, had taken three for 27 from 10 overs when play finally ended on a sun-bathed evening.

During the morning session, Ian Bell completed his first test double century and overtook team mate Alastair Cook at the top of the year's test runs' table

He was finally lbw to Suresh Raina after more than eight hours at the crease with 23 fours and successive sixes off leg-spinner Amit Mishra. Bell has now compiled 950 runs this year with five centuries at an average of 118.75

"This was not far off a perfect innings. I played as well as I could do but I'd like to think I can do more in the years to come" said Bell afterwards.

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EQUESTRIAN: Tipperary brothers David and Peter Hannigan helped the Irish team to an overnight silver medal position in the European Young Rider Eventing Championships at Blair Castle in Scotland yesterday.

Fethard-born David, the younger of the two brothers, improved to fourth place after dressage by picking up just 2.8 time faults on the cross country phase with the Irish-bred Red Baron, while Peter Hannigan went clear with the cruising gelding First Mate to end in fifth, an improvement of 11 places.

Individual Irish rider Alex Houston and the Irish-bred mare Missey Elliot jumped 22 places up the leaderboard after a zero score on cross country to hold an overnight 12th, while Shane Power and another Irish-bred TLB Interactive are currently in 14th after recording just 2.4 time faults. The British team currently holds the gold medal position at Blair, with the French team in third.

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Athletics: Deirdre Ryan gave herself a winning send-off to South Korea for the World Championships next week when she won the high jump in the final of the Woodies DIY National League at Tullamore yesterday.

However she had to be satisfied with a clearance of 1.85 metres which was short of her recently established 1.92 Irish record but it was the victory she wanted to give her club, Dundrum SD, maximum points. Having won the competition first she failed at 1.87 and then had the bar raised to 1.95 in the hope of snatching the record but knocked the bar down. Ryan has been jumping well of late and has very strong hopes of breaking her record in Daegu where she will have massive competition, led by the great Blanca Vlasic of Croatia.

Ryan was the only member of the Irish team in action yesterday and her points helped to give DSD victory in the Premier Division over Bandon.

Clonliffe won their fifth Premier Men's Team title with 17 points to spare of St Abban's.

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Jose Carlos Hernandez came close to breaking the course record when he won the Frank Duffy Memorial 10 miles road race in the Phoenix Park yesterday, coming home in 48:15 just three seconds outside the best ever time.

Hernandez won by 21 seconds from England's Anthony Ford with Stephen Scullion from Belfast third. Gemma Steel of England won the women's event in 55:37 from a fit again Marie McCambridge, just 11 weeks after giving birth to her first child.

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University Games: The Men's and Women's Golf teams completed Team Ireland's final day of competition for the World University Games at Mission Hills Golf Course in Shenzhen, China.

The Men tallied a final score of 231 while the women's team completed their tournament with a score of 154. John Greene led the Irish in scorching heat by finishing two over par with a score of 74. Neither team will make the medals.

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GAELIC GAMES Kevin Hallissey sealed All-Ireland junior football championship glory for Cork with two extra-time points to sink Kildare 1-12 to 0-13 in Thurles yesterday.

Hallissey kicked the only two points during the second period of extra-time as the Rebels captured a fourth All-Ireland junior crown in seven seasons, and a 16th in all.

Kildare, who had Tommy Moolick to thank for taking the game into extra-time, were contesting a first final since 1970 but the Lilywhites, who have never won an All-Ireland junior crown, left empty handed again.

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