Peamount miss out on group stage
PEAMOUNT UNITED cruelly missed out on a second successive UEFA Women's Champions League group stage yesterday on goal difference.
The Irish double holders followed up Monday's 5-0 win over ASA Tel-Aviv by thumping Welsh representatives UWIC 4-0 yesterday in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
An opening-day defeat to mini-group hosts Sarajevo last Saturday, however, ultimately cost them a place in the last 32 of Europe's premier women's competition.
Goals by Stephanie Roche and Denise O'Sullivan inside the opening nine minutes surged Peamount into a commanding lead, and further strikes from Sara Lawlor and Roche early in the second half wrapped up the victory.
With Sarajevo already topping Group Five, Peamount were hoping to claim one of the two best runners-up berths available across the eight groups. In the end, though, they came up short by three goals.
The former club of Olympic gold medallist Katie Taylor became the first Irish team to reach the knock-out stages of the competition last season before losing out to French giants PSG over two legs.
PEAMOUNT UNITED: L Meehan; M Haughton (R Comerford 57), K Duggan, S Byrne C Mustaki (L Quinn 84), J Russell, Vaila Barsley, A McLoughlin, S Roche, D O'Sullivan, S Lawlor (C Kinsella 78).
NIALL O'BRIEN and Boyd Rankin will find out this morning whether their wavering loyalty to the Ireland cause has cost them a place at next month's World T20 finals in Sri Lanka.
While neither of the experienced duo have self-destructed in Kevin Pietersen-like fashion, both will be nervously awaiting the announcement of Ireland's 15-man squad at 9.0.
O'Brien fell out of favour earlier in the year when he chose to play in the Bangladesh T20 instead of touring Kenya, and Rankin says he will quit playing for Ireland at the end of the year to concentrate on his career in England.
Fortunately for both, coach Phil Simmons rarely wavers in his loyalty. O'Brien has already been tentatively taken back, while in Rankin's case it would surely be a waste of resources to overlook your best bowler when he is still under contract to Cricket Ireland.
None of the fringe players were able to make a late bid to impress Simmons yesterday, as the final day of Ireland's four-day match against South Africa A had to be abandoned as a draw when rain seeped under the covers overnight in Coleraine.
Olympic champion Andy Murray was knocked out of the Cincinnati Open in the third round yesterday, losing 6-4 6-4 to Jeremy Chardy.
Murray, the defending champion, never looked himself as he was broken in the seventh game of the first set by Frenchman Chardy, in the draw as a lucky loser.
Neither player could hold serve in the opening five games of the second set, but Chardy held firm to go up 4-2 and never looked back.