Sunday 17 December 2017

Morgan picked at IPL auction

CRICKET: Eoin Morgan was selected but Graeme Swann and James Anderson were surprisingly overlooked on the opening day of the Indian Premier League auction yesterday, while Kevin Pietersen had to content himself with a cut-price deal as England's Twenty20 World Cup winners were largely overlooked.

The Deccan Chargers paid US$650,000 for Pietersen's services, although that sum represented a significant drop in his price after the right-hander was purchased for a then record $1.6m in the 2009 auction. Stuart Broad (Kings XI Punjab), Morgan (Kolkota Knight Riders) and Twenty20 skipper Paul Collingwood (Rajasthan Royals) will join Pietersen at the tournament which begins in April.

But the biggest shocks came in the non-selections of Ashes winners Swann and Anderson, who have marked themselves as two of the world's best bowlers in recent years.

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GAELIC GAMES: All six Dr McKenna Cup games scheduled for this weekend have been postponed due to frozen pitches.

And the Ulster Council has decided not to reschedule the games for midweek, deciding instead to play them on the weekend of January 22-23, the dates set aside for the semi-finals. Even the Cavan versus QUB tie -- due to have been played on the new synthetic 3G pitch at Breffni Park last night -- fell victim to the latest spell of severe weather.

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GOLF: Asia seized the upper hand in the Royal Trophy after thrashing Europe in yesterday's four balls to take a 6-2 lead and leave the holders with a mountain to climb on the final day.

Asia wrested control of the competition with some precision putting to earn wins in all four matches against some out-of-sorts European pairings who never found their feet and now face a monumental challenge in the singles.

Europe's player-captain Colin Montgomerie will need wins from six of his eight players in today's singles just to secure a playoff, while Asia can lift the trophy for a second time with two and a half of the eight points available.

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Louis Oosthuizen shares the lead with Markus Brier heading into today's final round of the Africa Open after a four-under-par round of 69 on day three handed him a 13-under total in East London.

The British Open champion recorded four birdies, an eagle and two bogeys to sit alongside Austrian Brier, who managed a 70 yesterday. The pair are a shot clear of a quartet of players on 12-under.

best of the Irish was Gareth Maybin (71) on four-under par followed by Darren Clarke (72) on three-under.

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Basketball: After ending Killester's unbeaten run on Monday, Vincent's came close to claiming their second big scalp against Southern Conference leaders UL Eagles at the DCU gym yesterday.

Vinny O'Keefe's men, although missing both Pat Glover (shoulder) and Eoin Quill, held an 11-point lead at the break. Pat Crean shot five field goals but with two minutes remaining, the sides were level at 71-71 each. However, the Limerick men secured victory with four seconds to go when Ciaran White converted one from the line to hand UL a narrow 80-78 win.

Killester also went down to their second defeat in a week when losing by 11 points at home to Belfast Star. The Northerners trailed for most of the game but Clayton Longmire contribution of 38 points proved decisive.

In the women's Superleague, UL turned around an eight point defecit with six minutes on the clock to beat DCU Mercy 61-51 in Glasnevin, Michelle Fahy and Louise Galvin getting key scores late in the contest.

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CYCLING: Robin Seymour goes for his 17th Irish cyclo-cross Championship in Lurgan today and, by all accounts, his level of fitness has not dimmed over the years as he turns 40 in March.

Last year's winner Joe McCall will defend the title. Another champion of recent years Roger Aiken will carry the expectations of one of the promoting clubs of the event.

The main course today is 1.4 miles in length and should take the lead riders around seven minutes to complete a lap. Entrants for the cross events in the last couple of months have been of good quality according to promoters and the championship organisation have no doubt that this will follow through today.

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EQUESTRIAN: Cian O'Connor yesterday took fifth place in the Arab League World Cup Qualifier Grand Prix in Dubai with his Irish-bred gelding Larkhill Cruiser, and also added a comfortable win in the Accumulator competition with another Irish-bred horse, eight-year-old mare Arabella.

Together with his first place in Friday's Grand Prix Qualifier -- also with Larkhill Cruiser -- the points gave the 31-year-old Meath rider Dubai's Leading Rider Award for the United Arab Emirates show, which finished yesterday.

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ATHLETICS: Joe Sweeney mixed it up with some classy opponents before finishing a very creditable 10th in the high quality IAAF Cross-Country Challenge over the snow-covered Hollyrood course in Edinburgh yesterday.

The imposing Dubliner finished ahead of some reputable runners in the three-way team event, clocking 26.29 behind winner Mo Farah. African-born British runner Farah came away in the second half of the 8.2km course for victory in 25.41. Galen Rupp of the USA was second in 25.50 with Ayad Lamdassam of Spain third in 25.55. Sweeney helped Europe to the team victory yesterday by three points over the USA.

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Hockey: Glenanne have joined YMCA at the top of the Leinster League thanks to a 4-3 win away to Pembroke Wanderers. Pembroke were without their three South Africans whose visas were held up on their return to Dublin after their Christmas break and this was to prove crucial.

Glenanne, for whom Stephen Brownlow scored a hat trick, led 3-1 at half-time, but Pembroke never gave up and nearly came close to an equaliser at the very death.

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