Friday 20 April 2018

Simmons signs two-year deal

CRICKET: Phil Simmons has signed a new two-year contract to extend his reign as national coach of the Ireland team until the end of the 2015 domestic season.

The Trinidadian, who played 26 Tests and 143 one-day internationals for the West Indies, took over from Adi Birrell following the 2007 World Cup, and has guided Ireland to a period of unparalleled success.

During his 197 games in charge, the team has qualified for six consecutive global events, and hopes to win an incredible 10th trophy when they meet Afghanistan in the final of the InterContinental Cup which gets under way in Dubai on Tuesday.

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golf: Four birdies on the back nine saw Welshman Jamie Donaldson maintain his three-stroke lead at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in Sun City with one round to play.

The 38-year-old, chasing his biggest single payday yet at the $6.5-million event, kept up Friday's momentum as he returned a third-round score of 67 for a 16-under-par total of 200.

Donaldson leads from Thomas Bjorn of Denmark and American Ryan Moore, who are 13-under par.

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racing: Felix Yonger maintained his unbeaten record over fences in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Novice Chase at Navan.

Passage Vendome and The Paparrazi Kid never got into the race as Davy Russell set about making it a true test on Charles Byrnes' smart Trifolium.

He jumped fluently in front, but Ruby Walsh kept him in his sights and after moving up smoothly to join issue at the second-last, the 1/2 favourite stretched clear to win impressively by 15 lengths.

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Sire De Grugy made the most of the absence of Sprinter Sacre to run out an impressive winner of the BetVictor Tingle Creek Chase at Sandown for the father and son combination of Gary and Jamie Moore.

Always held in the highest regard by trainer Gary, the seven-year-old had been surprisingly beaten at Cheltenham last month but put that blip right in emphatic style.

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rugby: Tries in either half by left-wing Darragh Fanning proved to be the highlight as Leinster 'A' secured a comprehensive 31-0 victory over Cross Keys side in the British & Irish Cup at Donnybrook yesterday.

Leinster burst into life with a brace of quick-fire tries from hooker Bryan Byrne and the excellent Fanning. Cathal Marsh was off-target from the bonus kicks but he managed to find his range with penalties in the 30th and 40th minutes which gave Leinster 'A' a commanding 16-0 interval lead.

The St Mary's College out-half was then on hand to increase his side's lead with a three-pointer from distance nine minutes after the restart, and further five-pointers from Fanning and centre Jordan Coghlan sealed a much-deserved bonus-point victory for the reigning champions.

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Dave Heffernan and Andrew Browne both touched down for Connacht Eagles, who got their B&I Cup campaign back on track with a 17-8 victory over Bedford Blues at the Sportsground.

The Blues led 5-3 at the break thanks to a try from former Leinster centre Brendan Burke, but the home side ratcheted up their effort after the break to move into second place in pool 3.

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cycling: Ireland's Caroline Ryan has won a bronze medal at the World Cup in Aguascalientes, Mexico, the first time an Irish cyclist has secured a medal at the World Cup in the women's category.

The 34-year-old Garda Club member finished third in the Women's Individual Pursuit behind Rebecca Wiasak of Australia and Great Britain's Elinor Baker in an Irish record time of 3.34.257.

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Basketball: Holders Neptune are through to the last four of the National Cup despite going into last night's game in Cork without key players Roy Downey and Michael McGinn.

Neptune had held a 14-point lead at the break but Vincents came back strong in the third quarter, with Eoin Darling hitting a few shots to draw the visitors level. Crucially though Neptune never went behind, and they eventually pulled away to run out 95-87 winners.

Meanwhile there were three games down for decision in the Women's National Cup with Ranchel Clancy hitting 26 points for holders UL in their 87-64 win over Ulster Rockets.

Dublin camogie star, Ali Maguire, was joint top scorer as Killester easily over Liffey Celtics at the IWA while Glanmire defeated Meteors 78-83.

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hockey: Leaders Three Rock Rovers made a big push for this season's Leinster men's title with a comprehensive 4-1 win over champions Pembroke Wanderers which keeps them four points clear of Monkstown.

Rovers' duo Jonny Bruton and Peter Blakeney bagged a brace apiece. Pembroke thus relinquished their second spot in the table to Monkstown, who won 4-1 against Railway Union.

Meanwhile, Kate Mullan scored a hat-trick as UCD rolled over Corinthians 7-0 to stay top of the Women's League.

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gaelic games: Galway withstood a strong Peter Canavan-led Tyrone comeback as the Tribesmen bagged their second All-Ireland Masters Football Championship title in succession with a 1-8 to 0-9 victory at Leitrim Village yesterday.

An Alan Feerick wonder goal kept Galway 1-4 to 0-3 ahead at half-time and although Galway led by six points entering the final quarter, Tyrone's strong comeback wasn't enough.

Sunday Independent

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