Monday 19 February 2018

Irish pair in pole position

GOLF: Ireland's Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell moved two strokes clear at the World Cup yesterday on 21-under-par ahead of today's final round in China.

The pair gelled superbly to record eight birdies, including three in succession from the fifth hole, to record an eight-under-par 64.

Matt Kuchar and Gary Woodland of the United States, South African pair Charl Schwartzel and Louis Oosthuizen and the German duo of Martin Kaymer and Alex Cejka all share second on 19-under-par.

Ireland, who have won the Cup twice before, led by a stroke with a round to play two years ago but were beaten into second place by Italy.

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GAELIC GAMES: Mickey Moran has stepped down as Leitrim manager after three years in charge.

The Leitrim county board issued a statement last night explaining that his decision came about because of health reasons. Moran took over the role in August 2008 and was reappointed last August for another year.

His side reached the Connacht semi-final this year after surprisingly beating Sligo in the first round of the championship and went on to lose to Down in the qualifiers.

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RUGBY: Willie Staunton was the toast of table-toppers Young Munster after he landed a last minute penalty to defeat Lansdowne 15-13 at Clifford Park.

It was Staunton's fifth successful goal kick in a game which produced only one try with winger Matt Healy getting in for Lansdowne who led 10-9 at the interval.

Staunton landed his first two kicks in the opening five minutes and he was unlucky with two efforts from inside his own half before the final chance came just at the end.

Craig Ronaldson converted Healy's try and also landed two penalties for the visitors.

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A sterling second-half display saw Clontarf record their fifth victory of the Ulster Bank Division 1B campaign 29-8 against a spirited Shannon.

A penalty from Richie Lane gave Clontarf a narrow 10-8 mid-way advantage and they were far stronger in the second period as Simon Crawford broke free for a try on 45 minutes. Lane missed the kick at goal, but struck with 13 minutes left after Crawford broke through for a second try. Killian Lett converted a try just three minutes later to ease Clontarf over the line.

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Last year's beaten finalists Cork Constitution fought back from a seven point half-time deficit to record a narrow 17-14 away victory against Blackrock College yesterday. Blackrock had a star performer in out-half Darragh Fitzpatrick, He got 14 points in the first 40 minutes, with three well-taken penalties being added to by an instinctive try from the Rock No. 10.

Cork Con were finding it hard to contain Fitzpatrick, but they were still in touch at 14-7 heading into the second period thanks to a try from Brian O'Shea's and a conversion from Gerry Hurley.

Hurley was also on hand later to secure a conversion after O'Shea bagged his second try of the game. The South Dublin men did their best to force the proceedings back into their direction, but Cork Con held firm.

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HORSE RACING: Smart hurdler Call The Police made the perfect start to life over fences with a smooth win in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders' Fund Beginners Chase at Gowran Park.

Runner-up in the MCR Hurdle and a beaten favourite in the Coral Cup at Cheltenham last season, the Willie Mullins-trained Call The Police was sent off the 4/5 market leader on his first appearance for 203 days.

He travelled strongly for Paul Townend and after landing over three out in a share of the lead, he cruised three and a half lengths clear of Headford Flyer at the line.

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HOCKEY: Pembroke Wanderers' three-point lead at the top was halted yesterday when held to a 3-3 by visitors Railway Union. Pembroke led 3-0 at half-time with Kirk Shimmings twice on target and Alan Sothern converting a penalty stroke.

But Railway hit back, Rob Abbot reducing the lead and Peter English sinking two drag penalty corner goals to leave it all square.

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tennis: Roger Federer is one win away from a record sixth title at the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals after seeing off Spain's David Ferrer 7-5 6-3 in the semi-finals at London's O2 Arena yesterday.

The defending champion extended his winning streak to 16 matches.

It was not a vintage display from Federer, who was edgy in the first set in particular despite having won all his previous 11 meetings with Ferrer, but once he had secured the crucial break in the 11th game the outcome never seemed in doubt.

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FORMULA ONE: Red Bull's double world champion Sebastian Vettel chalked up a record 15th pole position of the season at the Brazilian Grand Prix yesterday.

The 24-year-old German, who had equalled Nigel Mansell's 1992 record of 14 in a single Formula One season at the previous race in Abu Dhabi, led Australian team mate Mark Webber in a front row sweep for the champions.

McLaren's Jenson Button will start today's race in third place, next to compatriot and team-mate Lewis Hamilton.

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CRICKET: West Indies snatched a thrilling draw with the scores level to deny India a series clean sweep on the final day of the third Test at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday.

Needing two runs off the final ball, the last wicket pair of Ravichandran Ashwin and Varun Aaron could manage only a single when Ashwin was run out attempting an improbable second run.

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BASKETBALL: Belfast Star's new American Josh Johnson made an impressive debut in Galway as the visitors picked up their first win of the season beating Moycullen 75-61. Paul Cummins set the tone for Star with some impressive play on the perimeter and Johnson's 20-point haul saw Star up 44-32 at the interval.

Moycullen upped their defence in the third quarter with Michael Dowd and James Loughnane showing good energy to cut Star's lead to four only for the Belfast side to pull away towards the end.

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Ahead of their cup clash with UL Eagles next weekend, defending champions Marian lost out narrowly on a 79-75 to Demons in last night's Men Superleague tie in Belfield. Demons enjoyed a 43-34 lead at the interval and Ciaran Smith converted two from the line in the final seconds to snatch victory.

Vincent's meanwhile came away from a 79-60 win over UL Eagles, with baskets from Pat Glover and Micheal Chubb midway through the third opening the decisive gap of the game.

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NBA owners and players reached a tentative agreement early yesterday to a dispute that has led to a 149-day lockout. It is now hoped the delayed 2011-2012 season will begin on Christmas Day.

Sunday Indo Sport

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