Thursday 22 February 2018

Westmeath first up for Dubs


all-Ireland football champions Dublin will begin their 2014 campaign away to Westmeath in the opening round of the O'Byrne Cup on January 5.

Louth and DCU are in the same group. Kildare, who won the title this year face Athlone IT, in the first round.

Eleven counties (Kilkenny are not involved) plus five third level colleges will be involved in the round robin games to clear the way for the semi-finals. The round games will be played on January 5, 8 and 12.

The groups are as follows:

A: Wexford, Laois, Offaly, UCD or TCD.

B: Carlow, Longford, Kildare, Athlone IT.

C: Meath, DIT, Wicklow, IT Carlow.

D: Westmeath, Dublin, Louth, DCU

GALWAY'S Frankie Cleary and Kildare's John Joyce guaranteed Ireland at least two bronze medals at the European Junior Championships in Russia.

The Olympic BC and St Michael's Athy BC fly and light-welter scored unanimous last-eight decisions over Georgia's Gagig Pozoyan and Armenia's Yurik Darabyan by the banks of the Black Sea.

Irish boxing has claimed 41 medals – 12 gold, 13 silver and 16 bronze – in Men's and Women's World and European Elite, Youth, Junior and Schoolboy competition since June 8.

Liam Callaghan was also in action yesterday, but the Cardonagh BC pin-weight lost out to Georgia's Giorgia Chargazia.

Cork's Oliver McCarthy, Dublin's Martin Stokes and Antrim's Ger French will be between the ropes today.

ANY illusions Ireland may have harboured that qualifying for next year's World T20 finals would be a formality were swept away by a shock 18-run defeat by Papua New Guinea, in their final warm-up match in Dubai.

Kent and former England wicketkeeper Geraint Jones top scored with 39 against a second-string Ireland attack, as PNG's total of 161-8 proved some way too good for their supposed betters.

The tournament favourites leaked too many runs with only Kevin O'Brien (3-31) and Paul Stirling (2-18) returning respectable figures.

O'Brien briefly threatened to save face with 30 from 19 balls, but Ireland were restricted to 143-7, despite a meaty 36 from Gary Wilson.

Ireland take on Namibia tomorrow in their first group game in Abu Dhabi and skipper William Porterfield said. "The only way to approach a qualifying tournament like this is to look to win it – and that's what we will be trying to do."

Irish Independent

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