Sunday 25 February 2018

Martin loses out in Poland

CYCLING: Ireland's Daniel Martin saw a second consecutive overall victory at the Tour of Poland snatched from his grasp on the finish line in Krakow after Peter Sagan finished second in the sprint behind final-stage winner Marcel Kittel and took the title by five seconds.

Martin's team-mate Heinrich Haussler took the three-second time bonus intermediate sprint from Sagan late in the stage but the Slovak knew that a place in the top three at the end of the stage would give him overall victory. He followed Kittel in the sprint and cleverly took second.

Overnight leader Martin -- who held a three-second advantage heading into yesterday's final stage -- finished in the peloton and could only watch as Sagan celebrated victory by pulling a wheelie as he rode back to the podium to be crowned Tour winner. Italy's Marco Marcato finished third overall at seven seconds.

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CRICKET: Ireland wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien scored 117 for Northamptonshire against India yesterday. The Dubliner's score, which included 17 fours, came from 172 balls. He was eventually caught behind off the bowling of Amit Mishra.

Meanwhile, Ravi Bopara has replaced the injured Jonathan Trott in England's squad for the third Test against the Indians starting on Wednesday at Edgbaston. Trott, who injured his shoulder while fielding in the second Test, is still undergoing rehabilitation.

The 13-man squad includes Dubliner Eoin Morgan after an important 70 is his last innings, while pace bowler Steven Finn is also included as cover for Chris Tremlett, who missed the second Test with back spasms. Tremlett is expected to be fit but is unlikely to displace all-rounder Tim Bresnan.

England lead the four-match series 2-0 against No 1 ranked Test side India.

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Tillakaratne Dilshan hit a maiden Twenty20 century and Dilruwan Perera took three wickets to lead Sri Lanka to a 35-run win against Australia in the first match in the international series yesterday.

Dilshan hit five sixes and 12 fours for an unbeaten 104 as Sri Lanka ended on 198-3 in 20 overs. In reply Australia could only manage 163-8.

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GAELIC: Cork survived Sligo's second-half revival to take a 0-14 to 0-6 victory and book their place in the All-Ireland JFC final at Croke Park last night.

The Rebels had built up a 0-9 to 0-2 lead by the halfway stage, with two points each from Andrew O'Sullivan, Liam Shorten and skipper Cathrach Keane.

James Hynes smashed home a brilliant goal and Vincent Frizzell landed three points as the Yeats men narrowed the gap to three points. But Cork steadied the ship and finished strongly with scores from Shorten, Andrew O'Brien and Matthew Dilworth.

In the other semi-final Kildare held off a strong challenge from Lancashire in Newbridge to book their place in the final with a 0-16 to 2-6 victory. The Lilywhites held a slender 0-9 to 1-5 advantage at the break but finished strongly and cruised home with scores from substitutes Conor Murphy, Tommy Archibold and Emmet Hyland.

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HURLING: A strong Meath side outclassed a very disappointing Kerry 2-12 to 0-6 in this All-Ireland minor B hurling quarter-final at Austin Stack Park.

The Kingdom were forced to play without their top marksman and best player Padraig Boyle, and goals in either half by Aaron Ennis and Cillian O'Sullivan set up an easy Meath victory.

Meanwhile, in the other quarter-finals Roscommon -- with former Galway star Ollie Canning in their backroom team -- had little difficulty in their 4-15 to 0-6 victory over Donegal at Ballyshannon where they led 1-8 to 0-4 at half-time and pulled away in the second half with Robbie Fallon in top scoring form, hitting two goals. Elsewhere Kildare had a convincing 2-15 to 0-2 win over Carlow.

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LADIES FOOTBALL: Dublin were always in control as they overcame Galway 3-9 to 2-6 to book a place in the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland championship at St Brendan's Park in Birr yesterday.

After an even opening, a goal from a tight angle that looped in by corner-forward Amy Ring set Dublin -- who led 1-6 to 0-2 at the interval -- on their way and they never led by less than three points after that. Corner-forward Lyndsey Davey, who scored two goals, had an excellent game as did her team-mate Lindsay Peat.

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ROWING: Victories by both Irish athletes competing at the World Junior Championships at Eton have raised the possibility of an unprecedented Irish double podium finish ahead of today's finals.

Portora sculler Holly Nixon eased through her race and crossed the line to secure first place in her semi-final of the women's singles. Moments later Skibbereen's Paul O'Donovan repeated the feat in the men's event when he worked his way through the pack, just as he did in the quarter-finals, to win by less than half a second ahead of Andrii Mykhailov of Ukraine.

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HOCKEY: Ireland's outstanding 4-1 win over Argentina in the Five Nations Champions Challenge in Paris in the past fortnight was put in perspective as they lost to the South Americans 3-2, having been outplayed for the majority of the match at Belfield.

Argentina led 2-0 at the break with their star performer Lucas Vila, the diminutive central striker, netting the first two goals and completing his hat trick in the second half.

However, Ireland's ragged display took on a better look in the closing stages via the short corner route, with Eugene Magee and David Ames slotting home.

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