Monday 23 October 2017

Taylor secures fifth Euro title

BOXING: Katie Taylor won her fifth European title in a row after beating Russia's Sofya Ochigava in Rotterdam last night. The 25-year-old Bray woman won the lightweight final on a scoreline of 10-5 against an opponent who controversially beat her in the Czech Republic earlier in the year. A tense first round saw Taylor lead by just one point but she steadied as the fight went on and eventually saw out victory comfortably.

The win means that Taylor has not lost a significant fight at international championship level since 2005. Last night's win is also the third gold medal that Ireland has won at European Senior Championships level this year, as Joe Ward and Ray Moylette won double gold at the European Men's Championships in Turkey in June.

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GAELIC GAMES: Ireland captain Stephen Cluxton and Laois' Colm Begley are now free to travel to Australia for the International Rules series after Parnells suffered a dramatic 1-9 to 0-7 defeat at the hands of Ballymun yesterday. The bulk of the International Rules team left for Australia last Friday, but contingency plans were put in place to accommodate Cluxton and Begley if Parnells failed to progress in the Dublin championship. Both will now travel today. Lucan Sarsfields are also through to the semi-finals after they beat Thomas Davis by five points yesterday.

St Brigid's and St Oliver Plunkett's Eoghan Ruadh will make up the other two teams in the semi-finals. St Brigid's beat Ballyboden St Enda's 1-17 to 1-07 while Plunkett's recorded a three-point win over St Vincent's. St Brigid's now play Kickham's and Plunkett's face Sarsfields next weekend.

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Eoin Kelly exuded class yesterday with a five-point display as Ireland cruised to a comfortable 1-16 to 2-8 victory over Scotland in the opening leg of the shinty international in Athy, Co Kildare.

The former All-Ireland winning Tipperary captain made light of the heavy rain with a wonderful display. With Eoin Nolan, Joe Bergin and Willie Hyland providing excellent support, and newly-crowned All Star Michael Rice leading the way as captain, Scotland rarely looked like overturning the hosts.

Gary Innes and Keith McCrae did strike vital goals though to keep the Scots in contention for the second leg, which takes place in Inverness next week.

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GOLF: The longest barren spell of Sergio Garcia's career looks certain to end in front of his home fans today as he takes an eight-shot lead into the final round of the Castello Masters on the Mediterraneo course where he was club champion at 12. The 31-year-old Spaniard produced a third-round 64 to reach 19-under-par. Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee moved into second place with a 66, while third on 10-under-par is England's Ross McGowan.

Peter Lawrie is the best-placed Irish challenger in joint-21st after a five-under-par 66 left him on five-under par for the tournament. Damien McGrane is a shot further back on four-under-par heading into the final round today after a one-under-par 70 yesterday. Northern Ireland's Michael Hoey sits on two-under-par after a 69.

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Women's soccer: Denise O'Sullivan and captain Ciara Grant scored two late goals as the Ireland senior Women's team overcame a stubborn Israel 2-0 in yesterday's UEFA Championship qualifier at Tallaght Stadium. Sue Ronan's side were left frustrated by their visitors' defensive tactics until the breakthrough came on 74 minutes when O'Sullivan's 10-yard volley squirmed through the hands of Israel goalkeeper Merav Shamir.

Arsenal's Grant wrapped it up three minutes from time with the second by sweeping home a low cross from sub Dora Gorman.

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BASKETBALL: A thrilling finish to last night's Superleague encounter in Galway saw UCD record a 67-65 win over Moycullen as the home side were left to rue a poor third quarter.

Moycullen had held an 11-point lead heading into the final period with Luke Enos (24 points) very prominent in the early stages but despite getting the next score they were then held scoreless for the following five minutes. With the score at 62-62 UCD then landed a three pointer and, although they had a technical foul awarded against them, they just did enough to hold out for the win.

Meanwhile, Shawn Atupem was the main difference as Demons defeated Eagles 72-58 in Limerick. Demons held a two-point lead at the break but went into overdrive in the third quarter with their American shooting 16 points in that period.

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EQUESTRIAN: Irish Sport horses are lying in second and fourth place after the cross country phase of the seven- year-old category in the world young horse event championships at Le Lion d'Angers in France last night.

Britain's Piggy French is in second on Kiltealy Brief, while Nicola Wilson, has jumped to fourth position withAnnie Clovery. The top-placed Irish rider is Brian Morrison riding PJ Hegarty's Fenya's Elegance in 18th.

In the six year-old category the best-placed Irish bred horse is Aloha in eighth. The best placed Irish rider in the category is Austin O'Connor in 18th on Kilpatrick Knight. This leaves The Irish Sport Horse Studbook in the overnight lead and well placed to take the prize for the world's leading studbook for young event horses after today's show jumping phase.

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TENNIS: Top-seeded Gael Monfils beat No 6 Milos Raonic 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-3 yesterday to set up a Stockholm final against Jarkko Nieminen.

The 10th-ranked Monfils converted three of nine break- points against the hard-serving Canadian as he looks for his first title of the year.

Nieminen beat American player James Blake 7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-2 to reach his third Stockholm Open final.

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HOCKEY: Pembroke Wanderers took over top spot in the Leinster men's senior league after a comprehensive 7-1 win over bottom side Clontarf.

Joint leaders YMCA, who crashed to a 4-0 defeat to the rapidly improving Monkstown, dropped to fourth place in the table.

Glenanne's 5-4 win over Three Rock in Tallaght moved them into joint second spot with Monkstown.

It proved a hard-earned victory in the end for the 'Glens who led 5-2 six minutes from time against the visitors with Peter Blakeney scoring a hat trick.

In the women's league, UCD continue to lead the way scoring an easy 6-1 win over Pembroke at Belfield with five players getting on the score sheet. Loreto, though, had to toil long and hard for a narrow 1-0 win over lowly Three Rock, a second-half goal from Niamh Small pulling them through.

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SNOOKER: Ken Doherty came from 3-1 down to beat Ali Carter 4-3 at the Players Tour Championship in Killarney.

Doherty looked to be going out when 35 points behind in the fifth frame. But he potted two blacks, two reds and cleared the colours to force a re-spotted black which he doubled the length of the table into the top right-hand pocket.

The Dubliner is now one game away from the last 16.

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