Friday 23 February 2018

Snooker: Carter makes his comeback count

Ali Carter marked his return to televised snooker by beating John Higgins 4-2 in the first round of the Dafabet Players Tour Championship Grand Finals in Galway.

Carter won his third ranking title at the German Masters last month but then missed out on the next two venues as he lost his qualifying match for the Welsh Open then was forced to withdraw from the Haikou World Open after a flare-up of Crohn's disease.

But 'The Captain' landed safely in Galway and sent four-time World Champion Higgins back to Scotland. Carter goes through to the last 16 to face Marco Fu or Mark Joyce.

"I've been really struggling with my Crohn's disease and haven't been able to practise much so it's a big win for me," said Crucible finalist Carter. "I just dug in and it was a good performance. The first frame was massive, it's hard to clear up from 60 behind, especially against John Higgins."


IRELAND'S 2012 Olympic bronze medallists Paddy Barnes and Michael Conlan experienced mixed last-16 fortunes at the Usti nad Labem Grand Prix in the Czech Republic.

Barnes, who has moved up from light-flyweight to flyweight for the 44th edition of the tournament, beat Hungary's Norbert Kalucza.

But his fellow Belfast fighter Conlan, who has moved up from flyweight to bantam for the 16-nation Grand Prix, lost 14-8 to Mongolia's London 2012 silver medallist Nyambayar Tugstsogt.

"I haven't a clue what the score was," admitted Barnes, "none of them speak any English. I was well up going into the last round. I'm happy with the way I boxed."

Barnes, who will meet IIyas Suleimov of Kazakhstan today, was 14-4 ahead going into the last round and beat Kalucza 21-6. Sean McComb, Ross Hickey and Jason Quigley, a gold medal winner at the 2012 European U-23 Championships, also won.

Darren O'Neill, who has moved up from middleweight to light-heavy for the tournament, is in quarter-final action today, along with Barnes, McComb and Hickey.


St Andrew's claimed the Leinster Schoolboys' Junior Cup in impressive fashion at Grange Road, cruising to a 4-0 victory over High School.

First-half goals from Andrew Fogarty and Irish U-16 international Jordan Larmour had them flying high before Rory Nichols' powerful drag-flick and Ross Quirke's simple finish closed out the tie.

High School did have their moments, especially during a dominant third quarter in which Felim Kelly excelled, but they did not have the cutting edge to break through a defence expertly marshalled by Isaac de Boe Agnew and Geoff Cole.

St Andrew's – J Carr, R Nichols, A Bailey, J Henry, R Browne, A Fogarty, B Arrowsmith, J Walker, G Cole, D Nolan, S Gibbons, J Larmour, R Quirke, I de Boe Agnew, M Maguire, P Temperley

High School –S Wallace, A Jones, J Anderson, O Walshe, D Butler, J Killeen, H Hackett, F Kelly, C Empey, C Jackson, D Phelan, M Perman, K Elwood, B O'Carroll, D Howard, K Wilson

Irish Independent

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