Tuesday 24 October 2017

Smyth records lifetime best

ATHLETICS: Jason Smyth, a double gold medallist in the Paralympics in Beijing two years ago, won a thrilling 100m for Ireland on the opening day of the European Team Championship, League One, at the Puskas Memorial Stadium, Hungary yesterday.

Smyth, 22, who is partially blind, took the prized scalp of Portugal's Olympic 100m silver medallist from the 2004 Games in Athens -- Francis Obikwelu -- to win in a lifetime best of 10.27 seconds. Smyth's time smashed the Northern Ireland record which he set in Ballymena last weekend and confirms his status as a top class sprinter.

His time is also the second fastest time ever by an Irish sprinter behind the national record of 10.18 held by Paul Hession. The 10 points gained by Smyth moved the Irish team up to seventh and out of the relegation zone with the bottom two from the 12 nations to be relegated to League two.

In the Women's competition Fionnuala Britton achieved the European Championship standard when finishing a close third in the 3,000m Steeplechase in 9:42.49 while Kourosh Foroughi achieved a lifetime best of 2.20m when finishing fifth in the high jump.

Overnight the Irish team are in 8th place with 130.5 points behind leaders the Czech Republic (201.5) and set to retain their League One status.

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Natalya Coyle became the first ever pentathlete to represent Ireland at the World Cup final event held in Moscow yesterday. Coyle, 19, finished 32nd in the competition which places her 52nd in the world.

This World Cup final was the biggest competition of Coyle's pentathlon career so far as this is her first year competing at such a high level. There are five events in the Pentathlon, a 200m freestyle swimming race, a 3,000m cross-country race, fencing, show jumping and shooting.

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GOLF: England's Jamie Elson shot a 68 to hold a one-stroke lead on seven-under at the end of the third round of the St Omer Open. France's Rafael Jacquelin and England's Robert Dinwiddie are one shot back. Jacquelin had four birdies and an eagle in his first dozen holes yesterday.

Ireland's Colm Moriarty, who had led at the end of the opening day, is six shots off the pace after a second successive 73 at the French course.

The Athlone man had bogeys at the third and fifth holes, before pulling a shot back with a four at the par-five ninth. He then dropped shots on the 10th and 15th, but birdied the 11th.

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TENNIS: Ireland's Colin O'Brien was left rueing a below-par first-set performance in the singles semi-finals of the ITF Men's Futures event at Kelibia, Tunisia yesterday.

O'Brien, the No 5 seed, was all at sea in the opener against top seed, France's Laurent Rochette, and failed to win a game. But the Malahide left-hander made a tremendous job of making up a 300-plus world rankings deficit -- 652 to 344 -- in the second set, and held his own until the tie-break when Rochette prevailed to seal a 6-0 7-6 (7/2) victory.

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GAELIC GAMES: Kilkenny reversed the result of last year's All-Ireland final with a thrilling 0-13 to 2-6 victory over Cork in the second round of matches in the Gala All-Ireland senior Camogie Championship.

Kilkenny were the better team in the first half and deservedly led at the break by 0-7 to 0-3, but two early goals after the restart from Síle Burns helped Cork go three points clear.

Ann Downey's crew hit back though in the final 10 minutes and injury-time points from Anna Dalton and Kelly Hamilton edged them in front before a dramatic ending where Gemma O'Connor had a point controversially disallowed. Elsewhere, Galway cruised to a 1-19 to 2-7 success over Tipperary while Wexford captain Una Leacy hit a hat-trick of goals as the hosts romped to a 7-25 to 0-3 win over Dublin at Wexford Park.

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CRICKET: England's latest opening partnership proved it has the potential to be one of the best as Craig Kieswetter and Andrew Strauss yesterday teed up a handsome seven-wicket victory over Scotland at Edinburgh's Citylets Grange.

The World Twenty20 hero and the returning captain blazed 21 fours and two sixes in a dazzling first-wicket stand worth 121 after the hosts had closed on 211 all out in this one-off one-day international.

Durham's Kyle Coetzer (51) and captain Gavin Hamilton (48) did well after the latter opted to bat first but England spinners Graeme Swann and Michael Yardy took control and shared five wickets. Paul Collingwood closed with a neat 41 not out alongside Dubliner Eoin Morgan, who hit a controlled 24 not out off 35 balls, as the game ended with more than 16 overs to go.

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CYCLING: Fiachra O Muire, of the Usher Irish Road Club, edged his breakaway companion David Peelo to land the spoils on the first of three stages for the Paddy Flanagan Trophy yesterday.

O Muire and Peelo had been part of a breakaway group of eight which formed on the second of five laps of the 21km circuit. But in the closing stages the pair edged away with O Muire landing the win outside the home of Paddy Flanagan in Newtown and with a strong team, the Usher clubman looks to be the one to beat today.

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EQUESTRIAN: Cork's Patricia Ryan improved by nine places after finishing her cross-country phase at the big four-star event in Luhmuhlen, Germany yesterday.

The Bandon rider and her Irish-bred gelding Fernhill Clover Mist went clear across Mark Phillips' course, picking up only time faults.

She now holds 12th position overnight ahead of today's show jumping phase of the competition.Germany's Ingrid Klimke leads the event.

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