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McIlroy takes lead in Florida

GOLF Rory McIlroy holds a two-stroke lead as he heads into the round which could see him crowned world number one for the first time.

The 22-year-old Northern Irishman's joint best-of-the-day 66 at the Honda Classic in Florida took him to 11 under par - and his two closest challengers entering the final day are players ranked 269th and 216th - Americans Tom Gillis and Harris English, the former a 43-year-old self-confessed journeyman and the other a 22-year-old rookie professional.

England's Justin Rose had shared the halfway lead with Gillis, but had to scramble for all he was worth for a one over 71 that left him in joint fourth place and four behind.

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rugby: St Mary's moved to within a point of Clontarf at the top of the All-Ireland League Division 1A table after an entertaining 27-22 victory over Lansdowne.andowne got the only try of the first half when Cian Aherne went over in the corner after a great crossfield kick from Craig Ronaldson.

Mary's opened the second half with three tries in 23 minutes. Philip Brophy crossed under the posts after concerted Mary's pressure. Conor Hogan then touched down in the corner, before Steven Toal-Lennon broke through and ran in unopposed from 10 yards for the third.

Lansdowne fought back with two tries in the last 15 minutes to gain a losing bonus point. Mark Roche scored after a great off-load by Ronaldson before Charlie Butterwoth scored with the last play of an exciting game.

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Young Munster survived a frantic last five minutes as they held on to beat Old Belvedere 19-18 in Division 1A at Anglesea Road yesterday.

Belvedere looked like they had sealed their first victory of the season in the final five minutes as Aiden Wynne slotted over a penalty, but a fine drop-goal by Willie Staunton gave Munsters the victory.

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Ireland's women ran in six tries to beat Wales 36-0 at Ashbourne and keep alive their hopes of a Six Nations title.

Ireland dominated and were on the scoreboard after five minutes when Joy Neville emerged from beneath a maul that had driven the Welsh back 15 metres and over their line.

The first half ended with further tries from Sophie Spence and Niamh Kavanagh.

Alison Miller touched down by the posts after the restart and on 53 minutes hooker Gillian Bourke added another try.

Head coach Philip Doyle rang the changes with 20 minutes remaining but there was still time for fullback Ashleigh Baxter to dive over in the corner. Niamh Briggs added a fine conversion from the touchline.

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gaelic games: A more physical and skilful Meath swept aside London to win 2-8 to 0-7 in the NHL Division 2B in Ruislip. Smarting from last week's defeat to Kildare, the Royals scored 1-1 in the opening minutes and remained on the front foot throughout.

London stayed in touch through the accuracy of Pat Sloane but Meath were always comfortable.

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Second-half goals from Cormac Wafer and Thomas O'Hanrahan helped St Kieran's College, Kilkenny retain the Leinster Colleges SHC 'A' title with a 2-9 to 1-10 victory over Kilkenny CBS at Nowlan Park.

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swimming: On the final day of the Carlton Long Course National Championship and Olympic Trials, speedster Bethany Carson broke the women's 100m butterfly record for the second time this week.

Improving on her time from Friday in the semi-final, Carson beat her own Irish record by 0.05secs with a finishing time of 1:00.53.

Kilkenny's Shani Stallard won the women's 200m breaststroke final inside the Senior European Championships qualifying time, resulting in a place in the team heading to Hungary next May.

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athletics: Joanne Cuddihy continued her impressive sequence of victories in the women's 400m when she scored another success at the Melbourne Track Classic in Australia yesterday.

The 27-year-old Kilkenny athlete mastered the rain-soaked track to win a close race in 52.37 seconds, her third win on Aussie soil over the last few weeks. Cuddihy's prime target is to get the 51.55 seconds which would qualify her for her second Olympic Games.

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Ciaran O Lionaird gave his World Indoor Championship prospects a timely boost at a meeting at Notre Dame Universary in the USA last night when he ran a lifetime best for the 800m in a time of 1:48.40.

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RACING: Two very worthy charities, the Irish Horse Welfare Trust and the National Rehabilitation Hospital, will be the beneficiaries of a Cheltenham Preview Night to be held in the Stillorgan Park Hotel at 7.45 tonight.

On hand to give you their thoughts on the Festival will be Barry Geraghty, Davy Russell, Jessie Harrington, Henry de Bromhead, Tony Mullins, Leo Powell, Noel O'Brien, Barry Orr (Betfair) and Matt Chapman (MC).

Tickets at €20, including racecard and finger food, are available from Paul on 087 249 6074, Stillorgan Park (01) 288 1621 or online at www.ihwt.ie

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basketball: The final weekend of games in the regular season of the Men's Superleague saw Neptune secure a home draw in the quarter-finals against UCD after they defeated Moycullen 82-56 last night.

After losing out narrowly to neighbours Demons in Friday's Cork Derby, Neptune needed a win to be sure of securing second spot in the conference.

And with 17-year-old Leaving Cert student Roy Downey again impressing for Neptune, the home side were never troubled in a game which saw Michael Bonaparte top score on 19 points.

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EQUESTRIAN: Ireland's first Nations' Cup team of 2012 produced a dazzling second-place finish of 11 teams on a sultry Friday night in Florida with four clear rounds and with none of the riders dislodging more than one fence. Germany won the Cup with just four faults..

Sunday Indo Sport