Wednesday 17 January 2018

Sport in brief

Home joy for Van der Walt

GOLF: Dawie van der Walt shot a four-under 66 yesterday to win the Nelson Mandela Championship by two shots, giving the tournament a South African victor in a week when the country bids farewell to its former president.

Van der Walt finished with a three-round total of 15-under in the rain-shortened event for his second European Tour victory. Matthew Baldwin and Jorge Campillo were tied for second.

Organisers had brought the schedule forward to make sure the tournament did not run over into today out of respect for the funeral of Mandela.

Meanwhile, Irishman David Higgins finished outside the top 10 after carding a third-round 70, while fellow countrymen Damien McGrane and Michael Hoey finished well off the pace.

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basketball: In a dress rehearsal of next month's National Cup semi-finals in Cork, Killester and Demons met in last night's top of the table clash. Leaders Killester at one stage led by 11 points before American Lehmon Colbert put Demons in front for the first time with 7.36 to go in the final quarter.

And while John Behan's outside shooting kept Killester in touch, Demons prevailed on a 77-22 scoreline.

Meanwhile, Neptune and Dublin Inter played out a tight contest in Cork where Matty Rudak pulled off a vital block for Neptune in the dying seconds as they held on for a 83-80 win.

The big shock of the night saw Templeogue defeat Limerick 91-80 at the Oblate Hall with Luke Thompson shooting 26 points for the home side.

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RUGBY: Connacht Eagles were unable to follow up last weekend's victory over Bedford at the Sportsground as they were heavily beaten 50-12 in the British and Irish Cup by the same opponents.

Tries in either half for Brian Murphy and Aaron Conneely only offered brief respite for the Eagles, whose defences were breached seven times, with Saracens loanee James Short scoring twice.

Meanwhile, Leinster 'A' took full control of Pool 1 as they moved to a virtually unassailable nine points clear of their rivals with a 30-14 victory over Cross Keys at Pandy Park.

The visitors scored two tries in each half, with outside half Cathal Marsh kicking 10 points to go along with tries from Luke McGrath, skipper Dominic Ryan, Adam Byrne and Leo Auva'a.

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Shannon maintained their recent good form in the All-Ireland League when beating Dublin University by 20-5 in atrocious conditions at Coonagh.

Tadhg Bennett landed a third-minute penalty to put the home side ahead but they were behind four minutes later when Brian Du Toit scored a try for the visitors. Gearoid Lyons had a try which Bennett converted and he also landed a penalty to make it 13-5 at the interval. At the death David O'Donovan had Shannon's second try which Bennett again converted.

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The Ulster Senior League title now appears to be a contest between Ballynahinch and Ballymena as both recorded bonus point wins while the other main contenders Queen's and Rainey lost.

This was only Queen's second defeat but maybe the exertion of winning the Senior Cup against Hinch on Wednesday evening was a little too much as well as having absentees on the Irish under 19s and Ulster Ravens.

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Leinster, who included six of the Irish Grand Slam winning squad of last season, won the women's interprovincial championship 21-6 over Munster at Thomond Park yesterday.

The visitors managed three tries with Nora Stapleton getting the third and she also converted her own try and also those by captain Marie Louise Reilly and Ailis Egan. Munster's only reply was two penalties from Ger Rea.

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HOCKEY: The big clash in the women's Leinster league between title contenders Hermes and Loreto ended goalless after a bright start. The drama came early as Loreto won a penalty stroke, but the visitors failed to take advantage as Hermes goalie Emma Gray made a smart save from Nikki Keegan's attempt.

UCD took full advantage to extend their lead at the top to six points after a 3-1 win over Pembroke, while third-placed Railway Union had their game with Trinity called off due to the weather.

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SWIMMING: Barry Murphy won a bronze medal at the European Short Course Championships in Denmark as the 28-year-old followed Grainne Murphy, Melanie Nocher and Sycerika McMahon to be the fourth medallist for Ireland at these championships in four years.

Barry came out of yesterday's 50m breaststroke heats as the sixth-fastest qualifier and following the semi-final where he swam the exact same time as the heat, 26.86, was ranked eighth overall. He started strongly and pushed hard at the end, finally touching in 26.56 to seal bronze.

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SQUASH: Madeline Perry, Laura Mylotte and Ciara Moloney all cruised into the women's semi-finals at the National Championships yesterday.

Perry, who is going for a 14th title, is expected to face Mylotte in today's final at 2.15. Meanwhile, defending men's champion Derek Ryan is expected to play Irish No 1 Arthur Gaskin in the final today.

The clash of the quarter-finals saw Irish junior champion Michael Craig beat longtime Irish international Steve Richardson in three games.

Irish Independent

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