IT took Ireland exactly 38 minutes to score the 38 runs needed to beat Namibia by five wickets in Belfast yesterday and take maximum points from their first InterContinental Cup qualifying match.
After bad light had curtailed their chase on Thursday evening, the home team suffered only one minor scare at Stormont when skipper Kevin O'Brien was caught at second slip for 11.
Andrew White made 22 not out -- giving him an unbeaten aggregate of 145 in the four-day game -- to rival George Dockrell's half-century and eight wickets had there been a man-of-the-match award. Ireland's next fixture is against Canada starting on Tuesday at Rathmines.
A masterclass by Italians Diego Negri and Enrico Voltolini on Dublin Bay served up the Star European Championship to the pair with a race to spare.
Four wins from eight races plus a few more top-three results were enough as the pair showed their ability in conditions ranging from gale force to a mix of light and shifty breezes.
Peter O'Leary and David Burrows were the sole contenders for Ireland and yesterday recovered some ground to finish fourth overall, though they were in third place earlier in the event.
Former rival contenders for the Irish team, Max Treacy and Anthony Shanks from the host Royal St George Yacht Club, had a mixed event, including a mast and boom breakage, and were 18th overall.
Aaron Rodgers tossed three touchdowns in the first quarter as Superbowl champions Green Bay Packers opened the new NFL season with a thrilling 42-34 win over the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night.
If a bitter labour dispute that had threatened to disrupt the season left fans with a sour taste, compensation came in the form of a mouth-watering opener pitting the last two champions at one of the sport's iconic venues, Lambeau Field.
Green Bay rookie Randall Cobb electrified the capacity crowd with an NFL record-equalling, 108-yard kick-off return.
KEVIN Cassidy, whose booming drive in extra-time against Kildare earned Donegal a place in the All-Ireland semi-final, will be among those attempting to prove themselves the longest kicker in Gaelic football at Bray Emmets today (1.0)
At stake is the 10th MBNA All-Ireland 'cic fada' title which has attracted several big names from the inter-county scene.
Aidan and Seamus O'Shea (Mayo), Paul Hearty (Armagh), Joe Sheridan (Meath), Mark Vaughan (Dublin) and Padraig Kelly (Offaly) are among the high-profile contenders.
The record, standing at 73 metres, is held by Mark Herbert (Kildare).