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McIlroy faces Dubai battle


Rory McIlroy hits a bunker shot on the 6th hole during the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic

Rory McIlroy hits a bunker shot on the 6th hole during the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic

Rory McIlroy hits a bunker shot on the 6th hole during the third round of the Dubai Desert Classic

GOLF: Rory McIlroy saw his one-shot lead at the halfway mark of the Dubai Desert Classic disappear as defending champion Stephen Gallacher produced a sensational scoring burst to take a two-stroke advantage into the final round at the Emirates Golf Club.

Though McIlroy carded a 69, the 24-year-old was far from the brilliant form which saw him shoot an opening 63 and he said: "It was okay. I bogeyed the first again but birdied two and eagled three which was great but I felt like I left a few out there."

Damien McGrane is seven shots back following a 71.

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GAELIC GAMES: Super sub Paddy O'Connor blasted Athlone CC out of the Leinster post primary schools football A championship with two goals to give Wicklow a 3-9 to 2-3 win in Bray yesterday. Wicklow schools are now through to the last eight at their first attempt. Athlone rocked the home side with two early goals by midfielder Cillian Bannon and centre-forward Cian McManus though Wicklow schools fought back to take a 1-8 to 2-0 lead with six points coming from midfielder Niall Hughes, and a goal by Stephen Cruise.

Wicklow schools mounted a sterling defence in the second half against the wind, before Paddy O'Connor delivered the two killer blows in the last 10 minutes.

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Fuerty from Roscommon deservedly edged out Kerry champions Keel 0-10 to 0-9 in awful conditions in the All-Ireland JFC semi-final.

Fuerty started well but were reliant on Gearoid Ennis who kicked three frees, and Niall Kilroy who posted two points, one from a free, as they led 0-7 to 0-1 at half time, with Gary Sayers kicking Keel's solitary score.

The second half saw Keel take the game to Fuerty. Gary Sayers kicked three points from play and Liam Sheehan who kicked three. Ennis kicked a third free in injury-time and Fuerty held on.

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Connacht champions Kilnadeema/Leitrim held on for a thrilling 2-11 to 0-15 win over Youghal in the All-Ireland Intermediate hurling championship at Limerick Gaelic Grounds despite being reduced to 14 men for the final 12 minutes when Mark Kelly received a second yellow.

Eleven points in front at half time, Kilnadeema had their lead cut to a point with a minute remaining.

Goals by Alvin Mitchell and man of the match Brian Molloy had the Galway side 2-9 to 0-11 in front at the interval. Molloy scored a total of 1-7 with all but two points from play.

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HORSE RACING: Tom Gibney's 2012 Irish National winner Lion Na Bearnai scored for the first time since his biggest success when winning the Family Fun Days At Fairyhouse Rated Chase to spark further National dreams. Now 12, Lion Na Bearnai was sent off at 14/1 in the five-runner field but jumped well for Andrew Lynch and outstayed the 6/5 favourite Competitive Edge to score by four lengths.

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CRICKET: William Porterfield acknowledged Ireland were "rusty" for the first of the West Indies Super50 games, which ended in a heavy defeat to Guyana early yesterday, writes Ger Siggins.

"We let ourselves down – we were rusty after just a couple of days training. It's to be expected, but it's not an excuse," the captain said.

The loss of all-rounder Paul Stirling just before the game with a hamstring injury forced a rethink by Phil Simmons. "We don't know how serious it is, but he will have a scan on it tomorrow," the coach said.

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ATHLETICS: Australian high jumper Liam Zamel-Paez has officially declared for Ireland. His parents hail from the North making him eligible for the switch. He has joined Clonliffe Harriers and is expected to compete in the upcoming national indoor championships, writes Marie Crowe.

Racewalker Alex Wright is also expected to switch to Ireland. Although he has competed for Britain his father comes from Tyrone.

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HOCKEY: Leinster teams hold the majority stake going into tomorrow's semi-final's draw, headed by holders Monkstown with Three Rock Rovers and Pembroke Wanderers in the mix.

Lisnagarvey, however, the lone Ulster side going into the hat are sure to pose a tough assignment for any of the Leinster trio as they ran out easy 7-2 winners over Dublin side Glenanne.

Monkstown had to work for their 3-1 home win over Ulster side Banbridge, with goals from behind Gareth Watkins, Kyle Good and Lee Cole.

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TENNIS: IRELAND came within a whisker of pulling off a sensational victory over Belarus in the doubles rubber of their Davis Cup clash in Minsk, yesterday. Dublin duo James Cluskey and David O'Hare had a match point in the fourth set but doubles former world No 1 Max Mirnyi and Alexsander Bury survived and saw off the challenge on a 6-7 (7/9) 7-6 (8/6) 5-7 7-6 (10/8) 6-3 as Belarus took a 3-0 lead.

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BASKETBALL: With national cup champions Demons not due to take on Dublin Inter in a repeat of last week's final until this afternoon, Killester claimed the overnight lead in the Premier League after beating Vincent's at the IWA last night.

Killester's 84-71 derby win over their northside neighbours was secured early in the quarter, with Alan Casey to the fore as they built up a 21-point lead.

Michael McGinn, who captained the Irish side against an English selection in Birmingham last month, put in another 40-plus score as Neptune recorded a last-gasp three-pointer in over-time to deny Templeogue the bonus point.

Eagles, meanwhile, slipped up unexpectedly to Marian at home, with Conor Meaney on top form as he scored 23 points while Star defeated bottom-of–the-table Moycullen.

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