Sunday 17 December 2017

Lowry leading Irish challenge

GOLF: Shane Lowry heads the Irish challenge at the Portugal Masters in Vilamoura.

Lowry shot a 69 yesterday but remains seven shots behind Spain's Rafael Cabrera-Bello, who shot a 64 and enjoys a one-stroke-lead on 18-under par from Norway's Christian Nilsson and Chile Felipe Aguilar.

Lowry didn't drop a stroke in his round as he seeks to improve his current 62nd place on the Race to Dubai, to be in the top-60 on December 4th and contest the following week's season-ending Dubai World Championship.

Lowry had to see a doctor after Friday's round as he was struggling with a chest infection but the former Irish Open winner had shaken off much of his illness yesterday.

Triple Major winner Padraig Harrington is a stroke behind Lowry on 11-under par.

Dubliner Peter Lawrie recorded a 71 to be at 11 under par while second and third rounds of 71 and 72 has seen Ballyclare's Gareth Maybin slip well off his front-running perch on day one.

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Colm Moriarty produced one of his best rounds of the season to set up a European Tour card-winning lifeline at the Roma Golf Open.

The Athlone man's third round effort of a six-under-par 65 around the demanding Olgiata Golf Club saw him leap 21 places up the leaderboard.

His best-of-the-day score put him into a share of sixth place -- just three strokes behind leader Gregory Molteni of Italy.

Meanwhile, Denis O'Sullivan endured a turbulent day in the second round of the Benahavis Senior Masters in Spain. He shot three successive bogeys followed directly by three consecutive birdies, as he finished the day in tied 14th place after a level par round of 71.

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hockey: Monkstown were the only Leinster side to triumph in yesterday's All-Ireland League with a 4-0 win over Instonians while Ulster clubs recorded three wins.

Cork Harlequins and C of I both shared the spoils with Glenanne and Pembroke in 2-2 draws. Harlequins led Glenanne 2-0 at half time at Farmers Cross before the Dubliners came back with a goal each from Gary Shaw and Johnathan Kane.

Pegasus, who lifted the women's trophy last season, had to battle hard to hold on to a 2-1 win over Catholic Institute who led with a goal from former Irish captain Eimear Cregan, before current international Suzanne Beaney clinched it for the visitors with a brace.

Leinster stalwarts Hermes, Railway Union, Loreto and UCD all came out on top with decisive winning margins over Old Alex, Lurgan, Cork Harlequins and Armagh.

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RUGBY: Outhalf Garret Quinn-McDonagh was the hero for Shannon who made a winning return to Thomond Park with a deserved 18-11 win over St Mary's College.

The outhalf landed five penalties but the biggest cheer was for winger David O'Donovan who dropped his first-ever goal in a league game.

Prop Robert Sheehan scored the only try 10 minutes from the end for St Mary's who had two penalties by Gavin Dunne.

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Three first-half penalties by Richie Lane gave Clontarf full points from their visit to Dooradoyle in a 9-6 game that failed to produce a try.

Lane had his side 9-0 in front after 30 minutes before Declan Cusack scored a penalty to leave it 9-3 at half-time.

A second-half penalty by Cusack made it close but 'Tarf held on for a precious win.

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Young Munster recorded a comprehensive 37 -- 13 victory over Eric Miller's Blackrock side in Stadbrook.

Blackrock edged into the lead when Andrew Letham got over for a try on 14 minutes, converted by Fitzpatrick. But Young Munster were back on level terms when Matt Costelloe secured a converted try 17 minutes in. They went on from there to register further tries through Ray Moloney and Darragh O'Neill. to lead 14-10 at teh interval.

Fitzpatrick did reduce the margin 11 minutes after the resumption with a close-range penalty, but this was cancelled out two minutes later by a similar effort from Staunton.

The insurance score arrived for Young Munster with 12 minutes left when O'Neill got through once more, and Staunton put the icing on the cake with a drop goal deep into the stoppage time.

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Gaelic Games: Burren claimed back-to-back Down SFC titles thanks to a 2-14 to 2-3 win over Clonduff at Pairc Esler last night.

Irish International Rules player Kevin McKernan and Donal O'Hare were among the scorers as Burren claimed a 0-7 to 0-3 interval lead.

Clonduff netted a goal from Arthur McConville 13 seconds after the restart, but Burren never relinquished their lead adding 2-7 without reply, with Sean Murdock and O'Hare claiming goals.

Clonduff claimed some consolation in injury-time with a late Jason Brown goal.

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FORMULA ONE: Red Bull's perfect run of pole positions in Formula One this season ended yesterday when McLaren's Lewis Hamilton edged out Sebastian Vettel in qualifying for the Korean GP.

Hamilton's time of 1.35.82 was 0.222 seconds faster than Red Bull's Vettel, who clinched his second straight F1 drivers championship at last weekend's Japanese GP.

The Londoner's team-mate Jenson Button was third ahead of Red Bull's Mark Webber.

Red Bull had taken pole in all 15 races this season but couldn't keep the streak going at the Yeongam track.

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basketball: DCU Saints shaded an extremely tight contest at the NUIG grounds last night as David Donnelly's side recorded the double over Moycullen with a 64-62 win.

Moycullen had led for practically the entire game and with 14 seconds to go a jump shot from Cian Nihill had put them up by two points.

However after Emmett Donnelly had tied the game, the ref than called an unsportsmanlike foul on Moycullen with Mike Trimmer duly landing the winning points.

Elsewhere, Killester overturned a six-point half-time deficit to defeat UL Eagles with new signing Mariano Gomez and Jermaine Turner hitting the crucial baskets as Killester won out on a 67-59 scoreline.

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EQUESTRIAN: Three Irish- bred horses are in the top 10 after the cross-country phase of the four-star event in Pau, France yesterday.

Two cruising horses -- Mr Cruise Control and Mr Medicott -- lie in fourth and sixth respectively. Imperial Cavalier is in 10th place under British star Mary King.

The best placed Irish rider is Joseph Murphy with Sportsfield Othello in 29th following a top class cross-country round. The other Irish rider, Peter Hannigan, a member of Irelands U-21 silver medal winning team, is in 40th.

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CYCLING: Ireland's Daniel Martin of Garmin-Cervelo was eight seconds behind Switzerland's Oliver Zaugg of the Leopard-Trek team in the Tour of Lombardy's 241-km ride from Milan to Lecco yesterday.

Spain's Joaquim Rodriguez came home third for Katusha.

Zaugg took off with about 10km left in the demanding ascent to the Salita di Ello and kept a chasing group at bay, winning in 6:20:02 to claim his maiden individual tour win as a professional.

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