Sunday 17 December 2017

Strauss hails England feat

CRICKET: England captain Andrew Strauss was full of pride in his team after they beat India by an innings and 242 runs in the third Test at Edgbaston yesterday to win the series and move to the top of the International Cricket Council's world Test rankings.

England built on convincing wins in the opening two Tests by claiming their most crushing victory in the series to date as opener Alastair Cook struck 294 and the home attack struck India out for 224 and 244. "(Getting to number one) has been a goal of ours for some time. It fills me with a lot of pride," Strauss said.


CAMOGIE: Wexford set-up a repeat of last year's All-Ireland final with Galway as they beat Cork 2-11 to 1-9 at Nowlan Park. Trailing by a point after a sluggish first half, they rallied after the interval to outscore their rivals 1-7 to 1-3.

Ursula Jacob dominated and corner-forward Katrina Parrock hit 1-1 after the break to turn the game decisively in Wexford's favour.

A Tara Ruttledge goal two minutes from time sealed Galway's 2-18 to 2-7 victory over Kilkenny. Galway were unable to build a strong lead as Kilkenny kept to within a few scores, thanks to Aoife Neary. Brenda Hanney scored Galway's opening goal just before half-time to lead 1-8 to 1-2 at the break, cancelling out an Edel Maher goal for the Cats.


LADIES FOOTBALL: Kerry produced a strong second-half performance to beat Mayo 3-11 to 0-10 at St Brendan's Park in Birr to book a place in the semi-finals of the TG4 All-Ireland Ladies SFC for the second successive year.

Mayo had a seven-point haul from Cora Staunton but the Westerners, who trailed by 0-6 to 1-6 at half-time, only managed a single point from play in the second half.

Louise Ní Mhuircheartaigh's goal in the 22nd minute proved crucial for Kerry as they went in three points ahead at the break.

Kerry poured on the pressure after the interval with Lorraine Scanlon getting their second goal. Deirdre Corridan made the game safe with her side's third goal.

Mary Kirwan inspired Laois to a sensational extra-time 1-17 to 2-12 win over last year's runners-up Tyrone. Kirwan scored eight points, including five frees, as the O'Moore County advanced to a second successive All-Ireland Ladies SFC semi-final.

There was plenty of drama as midfielder Tracey Lawlor and Kirwan landed frees in the second period of extra-time to seal victory for the Leinster champions, who lost to Dublin in last year's All-Ireland semi-final.


GOLF: Ireland's Simon Thornton is one of six players in joint-second place and two shots off the lead in the Norwegian Challenge event in Slattum.

Thornton returned a third round of 68 -- including six birdies and just two bogeys -- to lie eight-under-par for the tournament. James Hepworth, who also hit a third-round 68, is the overnight leader having started his round with three birdies from the first three holes.


EQUESTRIAN: In blinding rain at the five-star Global Champions' Tour venue of Valkenswaard in the Netherlands, Tipperary's Denis Lynch picked up €60,000 for a Grand Prix second place aboard Thomas Straumann's bay gelding Lantinus, missing victory by just half a second.

With 49 starters, the challenging course and difficult weather conditions left only four riders with a zero score after two rounds. The 35-year-old was up against three of the world's top competitors in the jump-off, USA's Beezie Madden, Australia's Edwina Alexander and the Netherlands' own Jur Vrieling.

Lynch produced the first clear of the jump-off when second-last to go but Madden, riding the talented gelding Cortes C, held her nerve and left all the poles standing, collecting the massive winner's prize of €92,000.


RUGBY: Connacht's preparations for their first season in the Heineken Cup got off to a disastrous start at Dubarry Park with a five-try hammering to go down 47-10 to Exeter Chiefs.

Two first-half tries from Bryan Rennie and out-half Gareth Steenson were followed by two more from Matt Jess and Nic Sestaret after the restart as Connacht failed to get a handle on their Aviva Premiership opposition.

The impressive Steenson found the range with his penalties in the first half and also added a try as Exeter held a 26-3 half-time lead.

A second-half ankle injury to lock Dave Nolan came as a further blow to Eric Elwood's troops as Jason Shoemark touched down in the corner for Exeter's fifth as Matthew Jarvis grabbed a late consolation for Connacht.


hockey: Ireland had to bow to a dominant force in the women's international at Belfield, going down to back-to-back 4-1 defeats to reigning world champions Argentina on the eve of their European Nations Championships bid starting in Germany next weekend.

Ireland were very much in contention up to the break, with Emma Smyth cancelling out Martina Cavallero lead goal for Argentina.

But Argentina took control of after break, scoring three goals in an eight-minute spell to kill the game off, restricting Ireland into a drawn-out defensive role for a 20-minute period during the second half.


TENNIS: Novak Djokovic's reign as world number one remained unblemished as the Serb blasted Frenchman Gael Monfils 6-2 6-1 off the court to ease into the semi-finals of the Montreal Masters early yesterday morning.

Djokovic's win extended his season record to a 51-1 and leaves him on course to become the first player to win a title on their debut as the world's top-ranked player since Pete Sampras in 1993.

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