Monday 19 March 2018

Marian secure place in semis

BASKETBALL: UCD Marian are through to the semi-finals of the Superleague Cup for the second season running after an emphatic 81-65 win over Vincents at the Greendale Arena last night.

Missing their American centre, Mike Trimmer, Vincents brought in Pat Crean but it was a disappointing night for the former NCAA Division 3 All Star.

Overall Vincents struggled, particularly from the outside where they made just four from 19 attempts.

UCD were inspired by Daniel James, while Cathal Finn's seven points in the final three minutes of the third quarter was enough to open up a 15-point lead from which Vincents never recovered.

Meanwhile, UL Eagles set up a last-four spot with Killester after beating Demons on a 78-70 scoreline. Trailing by seven at the interval, Eagles were level two minutes after the break with Cameron Mitchell and Matt Hall prominent as the home side took a 56-51 lead at the end of the third. And while Demons managed to get it back to four with two minutes to go, Eagles rebounded before eventually running down the clock.

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GOLF: The European Tour qualifying school finals will finish next Friday at the earliest after frost wreaked havoc on the opening day's play in Spain with Ireland's Simon Thornton provisionally tied for the lead.

Just 24 players in the 156-man field managed to complete their first rounds as freezing temperatures delayed play until midday at PGA de Catalunya near Girona.

The finishers were all playing the Stadium Course but just six groups managed to tee off on the shorter Tour Course before officials suspended play due to frozen greens a 1.30pm.

Thornton got to three-under par through 12 holes before the end of play, leaving him tied for the lead with Australia's Rick Kulacz, who fired a three-under 69. Royal Dublin's Niall Kearney carded an eagle, one birdie and four bogeys to be one-over after 12 with Glasson's Colm Moriarty two-over after nine.

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Lee Westwood is on course to win the Nedbank Golf Challenge and will take a five-shot lead into the final round despite an indifferent day three at Sun City. The world number one carded a one-under-par round of 71 to go with his flawless 64 yesterday and 68 on day one -- ending on 13-under overall.

However, most of his closest rivals failed to match his effort yesterday as low scoring was hard to come by on a much more difficult day at the Gary Player Country Club.

Fellow Englishman Ross Fisher, three behind overnight in second place, went around in a 73 that saw him slip back to eight under, alongside Tim Clark -- one of just two players to shoot 68s. Ireland's Padraig Harrington is just off the pace, tied for fifth on six-under.

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CRICKET: Stand-in captain Gautam Gambhir hit a second consecutive unbeaten century to lead India to a nine-wicket win and series victory against New Zealand with two one-day internationals to spare yesterday. The left-handed opener followed up Wednesday's unbeaten 138 with an attacking 126 not out, his ninth century in ODIs, in the third of the five-match series at the Reliance Stadium.

Chasing a below-par 225-run target, the hosts achieved it with more than 10 overs to spare. Virat Kohli (63) swiped the winning runs with a massive six.

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HORSE RACING: Pat Smullen continued his charge for the jockeys' championship as he pulled seven clear of Johnny Murtagh with a winner at Dundalk.

The meeting only got the go-ahead at the last minute after some connections had raised concerns about the state of the track, but Zulu Principle thrived on a chilly day.

Sent off a 3/1 chance in the Crowne Plaza Race & Stay Package Maiden, the Dermot Weld-trained colt held the late charge of favourite Leaves You Baby by a head.

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SQUASH: Australia re-established their authority in women's world squash by beating England in yesterday's final of the Women's World Team Championship in Palmerston North, New Zealand.

The second seeds' 2-1 win over favourites England extends Australia's record to nine titles in the 17 World Squash Federation championships since 1979. The Irish team -- without Madeline Perry who was sidelined due to a shoulder injury -- lost their seventh/eighth play-off with the USA. Zoe Barr lost in straight sets while Aisling Blake went down 3 sets to 2.

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RUGBY UNION: Australia wing Drew Mitchell capped an impressive individual Autumn with two early tries as a strong Barbarians side beat a much-changed South Africa 26-20 at Twickenham yesterday.

The invitational team, who also beat South Africa at Twickenham three years ago, were well-worth their win over a Springbok side who looked a touch weary at the end of a tour that brought wins over Ireland, Wales and England but a defeat by Scotland.

Mitchell's brace of tries saw the Babas lead 19-3 at half-time. South Africa then hit back with a interception try by wing Odwa Ndungane early in the second. However, the Barbarians went over a fourth time thanks to lock Quintin Geldenhuy and that was enough to win despite two late tries from Bakkies Botha and Bandise Maku.

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snooker: Ken Doherty's work week in Telford will be confined to TV duties following his 9-6 first round defeat by Stephen Maguire in the UK Championship last night.

The damage was done in the opening session when Doherty fell 6-2 adrift and the former world champion looked in danger of suffering a heavy defeat when Maguire forged 8-3 ahead.

In typically stubborn fashion, Doherty rallied to 8-6, helped by breaks of 120 and 67 but his fightback stopped there as a relieved Maguire took a scrappy 15th frame to set up a tie with Mark Selby.

Sunday Independent

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