Wednesday 17 January 2018

Sailing: O'Leary takes Cruise control

Cork boats dominated the opening day's standings at the Liebherr Cruiser National Championships at Dun Laoghaire yesterday as the early summer fog lifted gradually to reveal perfect racing conditions.

Anthony O'Leary of the Royal Cork Yacht Club (RCYC) took two first places, roundly defeating the Class Zero defending national champion, Dave Dwyer's, which placed outside the podium with two fourths.

A third RCYC entry in the class retired from the day's racing shortly after starting race one. Conor Phelan's Jump Juice returned to Dun Laoghaire after their push-pit safety rail broke and a crew member fell overboard.

Meanwhile, in Class One, Royal Cork's Killian Collins leads his younger brother Mel, but only after the tie-break in what looks set to become a close contest over the course of the weekend series.

The younger sibling is helming Rockabill V, the defending champion from Dun Laoghaire, and won the opening race, while his brother placed second calling tactics on Jelly Baby from Cork.

But in the afternoon, the results reversed and Killian Collins' boat leads the 30-strong class.

Elsewhere, Cobh ex-pat Flor O'Driscoll leads Class Three with a win and a fourth place on J24-footer Hard On Port, which was national champion two years ago.

However, the RCYC's Neil Kennefick on 'Z' hinted at more consistent form with a second and third place, so may yet edge ahead.

In Class Two, Waterford entry Zoom was the surprise overnight leader after three races yesterday with a solid 1-2-4 result for the day. Pre-event favourites and defending champions John Murphy and Richard Colwell on Kinetic from Howth are third going into this morning's racing.

Finally, as an initiative to stimulate interest and additional entries, the Irish Cruiser Racing Association has introduced two Corinthian classes, that were yesterday led by Welsh entry Mojito and local Philip Dilworth on Orna.

TIPPERARY manager Liam Sheedy has admitted that Pat Kerwick needs a miracle if he's to play any part in the Munster SHC quarter-final against Cork tomorrow week, writes Jackie Cahill.

Wing-forward Kerwick has suffered two recent setbacks in his bid to make the Páirc Uí Chaoimh showdown as he was forced off against Dublin and Clare in challenge outings.

The Killenaule star has been dogged by a persistent groin problem and Sheedy admitted: "Pat Kerwick is really struggling.

"At this stage, it doesn't look likely that he will be able to play -- it will be miraculous if he is. He definitely won't be able to train this weekend. He's had broken progression over the last few weeks, so it's highly unlikely."

Sheedy confirmed that Conor O'Mahony, Gearóid Ryan and John O'Brien will be fit to play after sustaining hand injuries against Clare last Wednesday night.

He said: "Gearóid had a knock on the other hand -- he's only back from a broken finger, but thankfully an x-ray on Thursday morning didn't show any break so he should be okay.

"Likewise with Conor -- it was precautionary, a sprain and it's not of a serious nature. John had a bad bleed that took a stitch or two -- he should be back training on Sunday or Monday."

O'Brien is one of the leading contenders for a spot in the Tipperary half-forward line.

UCD, making their first appearance in Europe, made a winning start in the women's EuroHockey Club Champions Challenge in Prague yesterday, scoring a 1-0 win over Swiss side Rotweiss Wettingen.

Lisa Jacob got the all-important goal midway through the first half after some very co-ordinated team build-up.

Mary Logue, the UCD manager, was full of praise for her young team's performance, and regards today's opponents, Belgian side Royal Uccle, as the main challengers in their pool.

Meanwhile, Loreto crashed to a 4-1 defeat by French side La Gantoise, in the EuroHockey Club Champions Trophy in Rome, the scoreline hardly a just reflection on the run of play.

Loreto got off to a flyer. Niamh Small struck early, when scoring in the opening minute of play, but two goals from La Gantoise left Loreto facing a catch-up situation at half-time.

However, it all went downhill for Loreto in the second half, and they conceded two more goals, as their attempts came up short when having to chase scores. At the crucial set-pieces, Loreto failed to turn their final short-corner tally (7-3) to real account.

Just a week after he hoisted the World Twenty20 trophy aloft in Barbados, Paul Collingwood is to be left out of England's squad for the first Test against Bangladesh.

Not that England's Twenty20 captain is being dropped. He and Stuart Broad, who will be another absentee when the 12-man squad is announced tomorrow, are having their "workload managed."

Collingwood's shoulder has been troubling him for some time (he is even rumoured to have stopped playing golf because of it) and with the Ashes and World Cup both due in the next 10 months, now is the opportunity to sort it out.

Yet Collingwood, whose batting has also declined of late, chose to play in the Indian Premier League and resting him now, unless he is to have an operation, will invite criticism.

There has been growing support for Dubliner Eoin Morgan to be picked for Test cricket and Collingwood's absence would certainly clear a path for him.

Irish Independent

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