Saturday 25 November 2017

Sport in brief: Munster book last-eight spot

Munster outhalf Jonny Holland
Munster outhalf Jonny Holland

RUGBY: Munster 'A' achieved the win they wanted in their final British and Irish Group 4 pool match with a comfortable 31-5 victory over Stirling County yesterday, clinching a place in the quarter-finals.

Despite finishing level with Plymouth on championship points, the Reds' inferior points difference means that they came second in the group behind the English club.

Outhalf Jonny Holland gave the away team a 7-0 half-time lead, and added another try and conversion after the break.

Further tries came through CJ Stander, Darren Sweetnam and Gerard van der Heever.

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ELEVEN points from the boot of James Thornton proved decisive in Belfield yesterday as UCD booked their place in the final of the Bateman Cup after a 21-20 victory over Galwegians.

A Thornton penalty gave UCD the lead, but 'Wegians levelled through Ross Shaughnessy. Jamie Glynn touched down to regain UCD's lead, but a well-worked try for Ronan Moore gave Galwegians a 13-10 cushion at the break.

Fullback Tom Fletcher responded with a try for UCD, before Thornton hit two penalties to seal the victory.

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Holders Cork Constitution joined UCD in the final after defeating Queen's University 46-14 at Temple Hill.

Darragh Lyons gave Cork Con the lead with a try and a conversion within the opening minute. A penalty by Chris Quinn and tries by Eoin O'Donnell, Gavin Duffy and Andrew O'Driscoll helped make it 29-0 at the break.

Michael Keyes, O'Donnell and Max Abbott added further tries and Lyons converted one to make it 46-0. In a late rally, Andy Butler and Eoin Devlin scored consolation tries for the visitors.

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TENNIS: Things are about to get tough for Roger Federer at the Australian Open.

The Swiss has cruised through three rounds, but now faces having to beat Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic if he is to lift the trophy. Tomorrow's clash against Tsonga should test Federer, with the Frenchman also yet to drop a set.

Meanwhile, Nadal sent a warning to his title rivals with a clinical dismantling of Gael Monfils 6-1 6-2 6-3.

Elsewhere, Grigor Dimitrov beat Milos Raonic to see him through to the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Today defending champion Djokovic meets Fabio Fognini, while David Ferrer plays German Florian Mayer.

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Maria Sharapova struggled on at the Australian Open but Caroline Wozniacki suffered yet another early exit at a Grand Slam.

Denmark's former world No 1 Wozniacki was beaten 4-6 7-5 6-3 by fast-improving young Spaniard Garbine Muguruza in the third round. Sharapova wobbled in the second set against Alize Cornet before pulling through 6-1 7-6 (8/6).

Last year's semi-finalist Sloane Stephens is also through to the fourth round of a fifth straight Grand Slam after beating Elina Svitolina 7-5 6-4.

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GAELIC GAMES: Wexford cruised to a 4-12 to 0-8 win in the Walsh Cup, outclassing NUIG in Gorey yesterday.

A young Wexford side was inspired from the back by Liam Ryan, Lee Chin and Diarmuid O'Keeffe and they dominated the opening 35 minutes. First-half goals from a Mark Fanning free on 17 minutes, and Ian Byrne two minutes before the break sent the home side in with an interval lead of 2-15 to 0-4. Gary Moore and Hennebery points stretched their lead to 2-17 to 0-5.

Further goals from Kevin Foley after 65 minutes and Padge Doran on full-time to eased the Model County into the semi-final next weekend.

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HOCKEY: The front-runners in both the Division 1 Leinster League campaigns continued to hold the high ground yesterday, and with the national squad players just back from their training test matches in Spain, it was as you were on the domestic front.

Three Rock Rovers, Monkstown and Pembroke, the leading trio in the men's division, all coasted to easy wins over the three bottom teams, while UCD quietly moved into fourth spot with a 2-1 win over Corinthian thanks to a brace from Shane O'Donoghue.

Railway Union displaced Loreto for third spot in the women's campaign, handing them a 3-0 away defeat, with a goal apiece from Kate Dillon, Alex Speers and Julia O'Halloran.

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SNOOKER: Defending champion Mark Selby booked his place in the Masters final with a convincing 6-1 defeat of fellow Englishman Shaun Murphy.

Selby made a strong start with an 86 break earning him the opening frame. It was 2-0 on the back of a break of 104 and that became 3-0 after Murphy had missed a red along the top cushion.

A clearance of 62 made it 4-0 and when Selby edged a scrappy fifth frame the 30-year-old was on course for a satisfying whitewash. Although Murphy stopped the rot, taking the sixth frame 59-15, there was to be no comeback as Selby closed the door in the next frame.

Irish Independent

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