McGee steps up to mark for Ireland
JAMES McGEE yesterday rose to the challenge of standing in for Louk Sorensen in the opening singles rubber of the Davis Cup showdown between Hungary and Ireland in Szeged, WRITES PADDY HICKEY .
The 24-year-old Dubliner was a last-minute replacement for Sorensen, who was forced to pull out of the contest against the host country's No 1 player Adam Kellner due to an abdominal strain sustained yesterday morning.
And after a marathon five-setter, 358-ranked McGee provided Garry Cahill's side with the ideal start by scoring a 4-6 6-3 6-4 6-7 6-4 victory over his opponent. The second match of the evening was similarly epic with Marton Fucsovics levelling matters by beating Conor Niland in five sets.
Fucsovics, a former World Junior No.1 and the 2010 Wimbledon Boys singles champion, beat the Irish number 1 7-6 (4), 6-4, 6-7 (3), 2-6, 6-2.
Today's crucial doubles match sees McGee pair up with Sam Barry to face Attila Balazs and Fucsovics.
THREE-TIME champions Ireland will resume their bid to regain the InterContinental Cup tomorrow in the third of seven qualifying matches, against Kenya.
After comfortable home wins over Namibia and Canada last summer, Ireland lead the race to reach the 2013 final. Surrey's Gary Wilson will deputise for first-choice wicketkeeper Niall O'Brien, who will play in the first Bangladesh T20 tournament instead.
Irish riders featured prominently in the hotly-contested $32,000 WEF Challenge Cup at Wellington, Florida on Thursday where Richie Moloney shared the honours with America's Kent Farrington, while Darragh Kenny claimed third place.
With 107 horse-and-rider combinations on the start-list, the competition was divided into two sections, and Moloney headed the 53 runners in Section B with a brilliant jump-off round from Slieveanorra.
Section A was won by Farrington with Uceko, and Offaly man Darragh Kenny slotted into third here with the nine-year-old Wannahave when almost four seconds off the pace against the clock. Tonight's FEI World Cup Grand Prix offers a prize-fund of $125,000 and Irish riders will be in strong contention.
Craig Breen is holding second place after the first full day's racing of Rally Sweden in the SWRC section of the World Rally Championship.
Breen, who won the first round in Monte Carlo in January, trails leader PG Andersson of Sweden by 2 minutes and 7 seconds after yesterday's nine stages.
Breen had been over nine seconds off the pace following a puncture on Thursday's 1.5km superspecial at the Karlstad trotting arena.
However, he got back on track yesterday, finishing third on stages two and three to climb to third overall behind home favourite Andersson and wildcard Pontus Tidemand. The 22-year-old then had his fastest time of the day in winning stage four.