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Smyth soars to top at Cannes

GOLF: Seven birdies on the back nine sent Ireland's Des Smyth soaring to the top of the leader board at the Cannes Mougins Masters.

Overnight leader Smyth holds a two-shot lead over England's Peter Mitchell with Denis O'Sullivan the next best placed Irishman, six shots behind Smyth.

Meanwhile, Colm Moriarty of Team Ireland eagled the 14th hole at Golf de Toulouse to card a one over par 70 to move up the leader board in a share of seventh place -- four shots off the leader, Austrian Bernd Wiesberger.

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BASKETBALL: Killester edged out DCU Saints on a 79-74 scoreline in this hotly contested Superleague affair played at the IWA last night.

Killester featured on their bench the three Westbrooks brothers -- Michael, Eric and Isaac -- while they were also boosted by the return of centre Kieran O'Brien after a long lay-off through injury. And with the teams tied at 72-72 each with two minutes to go, O'Brien, John Behan and Paddy Kelly closed out the game.

Meanwhile at Belfield, UCD Marian defeated UCC Demons 96-88 with three pointers from Conor Meaney and Michael Higgins in the final two minutes proving decisive. Marcus Van impressed in Demons' losing effort with 30 points and a crowd-pleasing five dunks in the second half.

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COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Amy Foster brought a measure of joy to the Northern Ireland athletics camp when she qualified for the semi-finals of the women's 200m at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi yesterday.

Foster -- who turned 22 last week -- finished third in her heat in a time of 24.19 seconds which was her fastest time of the season to make it safely into today's semi-finals. The heat was won by Joyce Maduaka of England in 23.75.

Foster's qualification made up for the disappointment of medal hope, James McElroy, when he was eliminated in his semi-final of the 800m despite clocking his best time for a couple of years, finishing sixth in 1:47.76.

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GAELIC GAMES: St Brigid's produced a major surprise in accounting for championship favourites St Oliver Plunkett's/Eoghan Ruadh by seven points, 1-9 to 0-5, in their Dublin SFC semi-final at Parnell Park yesterday evening.

In a scrappy game, Plunketts fell behind to Ken Darcy's well-taken goal following a mistake by Eoin Sommerville and a late Cian Mullins point pushed them 1-2 to 0-3 ahead at the interval.

It was one-way traffic upon the restart with Mark Cahill, Darcy and Paddy Andrews all helping themselves to crucial scores as Brigid's advanced to the final where they will meet the winners of the St Vincent's v Kilmacud Crokes tie, to be played tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Portlaoise braved the death of their teammate Peter McNulty to book a place in the Laois SFC final after a 0-12 to 1-1 win in a one-sided encounter with Stradbally.

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MOTORSPORT: McLaren duo Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton had no qualms over the decision to postpone qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix yesterday amid torrential downpours at Suzuka.

The abysmal conditions had already made a mockery of final practice before the continuing rainfall and fading light finally put paid to the qualifying hour.

With standing water pooled around the track, race director Charlie Whiting abandoned attempts to get the action under way on safety grounds having already delayed the start of the session on three occasions.

Qualifying will instead take place today at 10am local time (02.00 Irish time), just five hours before the race begins.

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HOCKEY: Glenanne staged the best comeback of the round sharing the points in a 4-4 draw with Corinthian in the All-Ireland League.

Corinthian must have felt home and dry leading 4-1 but with six minutes left the Glens pulled off the draw with three goals on the trot. Lisnagarvey showed their worth with a 3-1 away win over Cork C of I with Timmy Cockram scoring a couple, while Cork Harlequins also lost decisively 5-2 away to Pembroke Wanderers.

Chloe Watkins, who hit five goals last weekend, won the day for UCD against visitors Ballymoney in the women's League at Belfield scoring a late winner with a deflected shot for a 2-1 finish. Railway Union, who took all the major trophies last season, coasted to an easy 7-2 home win over Cork Harlequins at Park Ave.

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HANDBALL: Meath veteran, Tom Sheridan (Kells), added yet another All-Ireland doubles title to his extensive list, when he partnered clubmate John Molloy to claim the Masters A Doubles (40+) title of this year's GAA/M Donnelly All-Ireland Softball (60X30) Championships.

The pair easily defeated Tipperary aces, Josie O'Dwyer and Willie O' Dwyer (both Cashel), in a one-sided final, at Mullingar, Co. Westmeath, yesterday, on a 21-7, 21-7 scoreline.

Sheridan has been the country's most prolific senior doubles player for the past 23 years, with 22 All-Ireland senior doubles titles to his name.

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Rugby league: Olivier Elima's four tries helped France to a 56-24 win over a brave Irish Wolfhounds side, despite the Irish leading early on.

It took just seven minutes for Sean Hesketh to crash over the whitewash. Greg McNally slotted over the conversion to put Ireland 6-0 up. France responded, Remi Casty crashing over from close range. Maxime Greseque added the extras to level the game at 6-6. France took the lead on 16 minutes when Teddy Sadaoui went over Ireland's line, Greseque once more converting.

Although John Gillam (2), Jamie O'Callaghan, McNally, managed to cross the line for Ireland, in the second half France ran riot, with Elima ending the day with four tries to leave the French comprehensive victors.

Sunday Independent