Monday 23 October 2017

McDowell just edges through

Graeme McDowell held his nerve in a tense playoff against Sergio Garcia to squeeze into today's semi-finals of the World Matchplay Championship in Casares, Spain.

The Spanish star was favourite when they returned to the same hole, but charged a 15-foot putt for victory four feet past and missed the return after McDowell had holed from five feet.

McDowell will now play another Spaniard after Rafael Cabrera-Bello rallied from three down to win 3&1 against compatriot Alvaro Quiros, who had earlier eliminated champion Ian Poulter.

The other semi-final will see Belgium's Nicolas Colsaerts take on Scotland's Paul Lawrie after both eased to victories in their last-eight matches against American Brandt Snedeker and Retief Goosen of South Africa respectively.

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Cricket: Even West Indies' limpet left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul had bleak prospects of blocking England's victory course in the first Test at Lord's.

The hosts were unable to shift Chanderpaul for the second innings running, yet by stumps on day three they had their opponents 120-4, still 35 behind and up against it to avoid going 1-0 down with two to play.

Ian Bell (61) kept England in control after captain Andrew Strauss could add only a single to his overnight 121. West Indies limited them to 398 all out, with Graeme Swann biffing 30 from only 25 balls.

West Indies therefore faced an hour of afternoon batting, a passage of play which would encapsulate the frustrations of their supporters and well-wishers over the past decade or more. After a promising opening stand, they haplessly lost three wickets for no run just before tea.

Adrian Barath edged behind when Tim Bresnan got one to leave him off the pitch up the slope, and Kieren Powell ran out of patience after mustering one run from his last 25 balls and mis-pulled Stuart Broad to square-leg.

That was bad enough, but the Windies also lost No 3 Kirk Edwards for a duck when he was run-out by a direct hit from cover by Jonny Bairstow following a mis-communication with Darren Bravo over an aborted single.

Bravo was soon bowled by Swann for 21 to make it 65-4, but Chanderpaul and Marlon Samuels rallied as the tourists reached 120-4 by the close.

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Dubliner Ed Joyce hit 108 not out yesterday for Sussex as they drew with Worcestershire in the County Championship. Joyce and Chris Nash (98) took their opening stand to 189 as Sussex declared on 258-4, setting a target of 315 in 60 overs. Worcestershire then reached 174-4 at the close.

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Australian Rules Football: Tommy Walsh celebrated his AFL debut with a two-goal contribution as Sydney ended a two-game losing run with a resounding victory over struggling Melbourne.

The former Kerry All-Ireland winner was an industrious figure in the Swans attack during the 138-37 win, accumulating 14 possessions, 10 of them in contests. He also claimed six marks and made four tackles.

Wearing the No 17 jersey made famous in Sydney by his former Kingdom team-mate Tadhg Kennelly, Walsh kicked his first goal from five yards in the second quarter. His second arrived in the third quarter after a powerful mark under pressure.

The 24-year-old has had to be patient in waiting to make the breakthrough and beleaguered Melbourne provided him with a gentle introduction.

He certainly did more than enough to retain his place for next week's Round 9 trip to St Kilda, where he spent his first two years in Australia before signing for the Swans prior to this campaign.

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ladies football: Westmeath secured promotion to Division 2 of the Bord Gáis Energy National League with a 1-11 to 1-7 victory over Leitrim in last night's Division 3 final replay at Emmet Park, Killoe.

The Westerners were inspired in the first half by Áine Tighe, scorer of eight points in the drawn final at Parnell Park, who registered 1-6 in the rematch at the Longford venue.

But crucially, Tighe was restricted to just a single point in the second half, from a free, after the Kiltubrid attacker helped herself to 1-5 in the opening half and was her side's solitary scorer before the interval.

Westmeath were 1-2 to 0-1 clear with eight minutes on the watch, full-forward Karen Hegarty getting the Lake County goal. But Leitrim responded in kind at the best possible time, when Tighe finished a flowing move to leave Westmeath 1-5 to 1-4 ahead at the break.

Westmeath finished the game with a flourish as Leitrim were held to just two points during the entire second half.

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ATHLETICS: Deirdre Ryan (Dundrum South Dublin) opened her 2012 campaign by clearing 1.80m on her first attempt at the Diamond League Meeting under constant rain in Shanghai yesterday.

Ryan then had three unsuccessful attempts at 1.84m. The competition was won by World Indoor champion Chaunte Lowe (USA), clearing 1.92m.

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TENNIS: Novak Djokovic edged out Roger Federer 6-2, 7-6 (7-4)to set up another meeting with fierce rival Rafael Nadal in today's Italian Open final.

Five-time winner Nadal eliminated fellow Spaniard David Ferrer 7-6 (8-6), 6-0 in the other semi-final.

In the women's event, Maria Sharapova comfortably defeated rising German player Angelique Kerber 6-3, 6-4 and will defend her title against French Open champion Li Na. The Chinese player advanced after Serena Williams withdrew shortly before their semi-final with a lower back injury.

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cycling: Andrey Amador claimed victory on yesterday's stage 14 of the Giro d'Italia with Ryder Hesjedal taking the overall lead from Joaquim Rodriguez.

Costa Rican Amador (Movistar) held off the challenge of Czech Jan Barta in the final sprint to claim victory in a time of five hours, 33 minutes and 36 seconds.

Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) now holds a nine-second lead over Rodriguez.

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The Tour de Conamara takes place in the Galway countryside next Sunday and is the Irish leg of the Celtic Series of cycles, writes Aisling Crowe. This tour includes cycles in each of the four Celtic nations of Brittany, Wales, Ireland and Scotland -- Connemara will play host to the third leg.

The cycle starts and finishes at the Clifden Station House Hotel, and competitors will have the option of two routes, chosen by TG4 commentator and former international cyclist Pádraic Quinn -- a 140km trek and an 80km circuit.

Entrants will also have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride with the legendary Bernard Hinault. The five-time winner of the Tour de France will lead a strong French contingent as he competes in an Irish event for the first time.

On Saturday, a less demanding 14km family cycle will take place around the town, and a host of cycling-themed events will be held over the weekend. Registration is on Saturday evening and Sunday morning at the Clifden Station House. Entry costs €40 with a Cycling Ireland licence and €45 without.

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sailing: Ger Owens and Scott Flanigan completed their involvement in the 470 World Championships in Barcelona with their best result of the championship, a fourth which left them 24th overall.

Meanwhile, Annalise Murphy placed 64th and 33rd yesterday at the penultimate day of racing at the Laser Radial World Championships in Germany. She sits 16th overall. The final day of racing today will decide the podium winners.

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