Monday 27 January 2020

Nolan claims gold in Turkey

BOXING: Adam Nolan claimed gold in the 69kg division at the AIBA European Olympic qualifying tournament in Trabzon, Turkey yesterday.

The Wexford southpaw came from behind to edge out talented German welterweight Patrick Wojcicki on a countback. Wojcicki and Nolan both qualified for London 2012 by virtue of reaching yesterday's final as there were two Olympic places available.

The German took a tactical second frame 6-5 to establish a 9-8 lead but Nolan stepped up a gear to take the final round 6-5 before having his hand raised in triumph.

Nolan and Paddy Barnes qualified for the Olympics this week and will join Michael Conlan, John Joe Nevin and Darren O'Neill, who qualified at the 2011 World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan.

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CYCLING: Some of the country's top cyclists have signed up for the inaugural Visit Nenagh Classic which takes place today.

The Visit Classic will see three races, which will take the riders out over some of the most gruelling hills and challenging terrain in the area, as well as some of the most scenic around Lough Derg, and will see them pass through Nenagh twice before they finish on Pearse Street.

Among the 200 riders coming for the event is the cream of young cyclists in the Irish junior development squad. These cyclists, who are aged 16-18, are being lined up for the 2020 Olympics.

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RUGBY: Highfield gained promotion to Division 2A of the All-Ireland League from which Thomond were relegated after they won this Division 2A play-off 20-13 at Fitzgerald Park.

John O'Hea was the star for the Cork side with a try which he converted and he also converted a penalty try and kicked two penalties. John Stack scored their other try. Mike Russell scored Thomond's try which Dean O'Brien converted and also kicked two penalties.

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Ards remain in next season's AIL following a late flurry which gave them a 30-17 victory over Connacht junior team Monivea in the Division 2B play-off.

The Newtonards team finished in the penultimate position in Division 2B, while their opponents were second in the AIL qualifying competition and were expected to win.

Ards trailed 17-8 after the third quarter, but realising that they were destined for a future in junior rugby, they started to play their best rugby and ran in three vital tries for a warranted success.

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Leicester made a devastating statement of intent ahead of the Aviva Premiership play-offs by coming from 13 points down to beat current leaders Harlequins 43-33 with an attacking bonus point.

The victory sees the Tigers leapfrog Saracens back into second place, with a win against Bath in two weeks' time guaranteeing a home semi-final although they might be without England flanker Tom Croft, who went off injured in the first half at the Twickenham Stoop.

Wasps claimed a vital losing bonus point against Bath in their bid to avoid relegation. The result sets up a final day clash with Newcastle in which the Falcons must score four tries and win by a margin of seven points.

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SNOOKER: Dubliner Ken Doherty is trailing Australian Neil Robertson, champion two years ago, 7-2 after yesterday's opening session of their first-round match at the World Championship.

In the second frame, Doherty threatened a 147 but missed the 14th red after taking 13 reds and blacks, breaking down on 104. Doherty was 3-2 behind at one stage, but Robertson stepped up the pace and surged clear with centuries in each of the final three frames.

Meanwhile, Stephen Hendry made the 10th maximum break in the history of the Championship.

It was the third 147 he has managed at the Sheffield venue, and came as the seven-time world champion dominated his first-round match against Stuart Bingham. It came in the seventh frame and the 43-year-old Scot went on to establish an 8-1 lead.

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TENNIS: World number one Novak Djokovic reached the Monte Carlo Masters final when he battled back from a set down to defeat sixth-seeded Czech Tomas Berdych 4-6 6-3 6-2 yesterday.

The Serbian will face seven-times champion Rafael Nadal, who beat France's Gilles Simon in the second semi-final of the season's first big clay-court event.

Djokovic has been overcome by emotion at times since the death of his grandfather on Thursday and had to work hard to see off Berdych. He wowed the packed crowd when he hit a backhand winner to wrap up the victory and advance to his 45th ATP Tour final.

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The Irish team lost out to Tunisia yesterday in the play-off stages of the Group III Fed Cup event.

Sinead Lohan of Waterford was defeated by Nour Abbes in the deciding third set of their match, and Amy Bowtell of Greystones went down in two sets to Ons Jabeur, winner of last year's Junior Roland Garros, which secured promotion for Tunisia to Europe/Africa Zone Group II.

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afl: Martin Clarke celebrated his 50th AFL appearance in style as Collingwood secured their first win of the season in their round 4 clash with Port Adelaide at Etihad Stadium yesterday on a 97-73 scoreline.

Jim Stynes, Sean Wight, Tadhg Kennelly and Setanta O hAilpin are the only other players recruited from the GAA to have reached the landmark.

Clarke gave another solid performance as he continues to become attuned to Aussie Rules once again after his two-year sabbatical in Ireland.

The Down man racked up 20 disposals, including six marks, and contributed five rebound 50s. He did waste one goal opportunity, managing only a one-pointer for a behind, but made up for that miss by providing assists for two crucial goals.

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CAMOGIE: There was All-Ireland glory for Galway and Derry yesterday, with the westerners claiming the minor 'A' title after a thrilling second-half comeback against Kilkenny, while Derry had a comfortable victory over Wexford in the 'B' decider.

In the 'A' final, Kilkenny led at the interval by 1-6 to 1-2, but it was Galway, with Rachel Monaghan taking a total tally of 2-8, who took command after the break and went on to secure a 2-12 to 1-10 victory.

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pentathlon: Ireland's Natalya Coyle finished 10th in the final of Modern Pentathlon's World Cup 4 yesterday at Rostov, Russia. Coyle, who began the day in 17th place after the fencing, climbed steadily up the leaderboard to finish in the top 10; her best result to date.

After yesterday's performance, Coyle will have secured her place in the World Cup Final in China at the end of May, which is the last opportunity for athletes to gain Olympic ranking points.

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