Sport in brief: Niland bags third title at Salzburg
IRELAND's Conor Niland yesterday capped an outstanding week in fitting style by capturing the singles title in the ATP Challenger Tour event in Salzburg, Austria.
In a gripping final, the eighth-seeded Limerick man saw off the challenge of unseeded Polish left-hander Jerzy Janowicz on a 7-6 (7/5) 6-7(2/7) 6-3 scoreline.
The victory marked the Irish No 1's third singles title on the second-tier Challenger circuit and his success improves his World Ranking from his current mark of 147 to a career-best position of approximately 126 when the ATP updates its world rankings list later today.
Meanwhile, Andy Murray opened his ATP World Tour campaign with a 6-2 6-4 victory over Robin Soderling at the o2 in London.
George Tracey dominated the Mondello Park Rallycross for the second time in a fortnight yesterday, with his Citroen Xsara winning both the Supercar A Final and the Super Final.
Scottish visitor Andy Scott took second place in the main race, but was left behind on the grid in the earlier race when clutch trouble caused his Peugeot to stall on the line.
Defending National champion Tommy Graham was third in the Super Final, despite handling problems on his Fiesta, while Ian O'Connell's Lotus came out best in a great Modified A Final, beating the BMW of Pearse Browne after a race-long four-car battle.
BILLY Twomey finished a close third in yesterday's Rolex FEI World Cup qualifying leg in Stuttgart, Germany to pick up €23,000 and 15 more valuable qualifying points as he continues his march towards the final in Leipzig next April.
This result saw him rise up the series leaderboard to 10th place ahead of the next qualifier in Geneva, Switzerland in three weeks time.
Neither Denis Lynch (Lantinus) nor Jessica Kuerten (API Largo) made the cut for the jump-off, but chasing the target-time of 35.00 seconds set by German WEG team gold medallist Carsten-Otto Nagel (Corradina) yesterday, Twomey looked to be well in touch coming down to the last with the ever-reliable mare until taking a cautious pull which cost him fractions of seconds.
LEINSTER and Ulster shared the spoils at the boys' inter-provincial championships in Dublin yesterday.
The northerners pipped the hosts in the U-18 grade, coming from 2-0 down at half-time, with Peter Brown hitting the winner.
In the U-16 event, Leinster eked out the draw they needed, as Chris Morrow and Ben Campbell exchanged scores in a tense affair.
Meanwhile, Tim Lewis returned from Germany to play a scoring part in Pembroke Wanderers surge into the top three of the Pembroke league.
The Irish international has decided to return to Dublin during the German winter break and he helped to orchestrate the late surge that swept Corinthians away after the game stood deadlocked at 2-2.
Loreto went clear at the top of the Leinster Women's Division 1 League table yesterday, beating UCD 2-0 with a goal apiece from Sarah O'Meara and Hannah Matthews, one in each half.
KILLESTER remain the only team unbeaten in the SuperLeague after coming out on top of Saturday's clash of the conference against leaders UL Eagles with a 93-81 win.
A strong second half performance was key to the victory that was based on some excellent play from Jermaine Turner and the irrepressible Isaac Westbrooks.
The champions always looked like they had another gear as the Eagles failed to close the gap.
Neptune returned to winning ways with a 92-78 win over UCD Marian, largely thanks to a 19-point haul from James Crowder, while Belfast Star beat Moycullen 83-69 and DCU Saints saw off Ulster Elks 103-85.
Team Montenotte Hotel Cork produced the performance of the Women's SuperLeague weekend with a 58-55 win over UL at Neptune Stadium, Michelle Fahy scoring 16 points.