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Hanrahan puts boot into Ayr

RUGBY: Munster 'A' put themselves in contention for a place in the last eight of the British and Irish Cup -- but they will need a big win next weekend against Moseley to add to this 9-3 victory over Ayr in Tralee yesterday.

JJ Hanrahan kicked all of Munster's points as their 13 men held on for the victory despite Ayr being camped on their try-line for the eight minutes of added time. With the excellent Paddy Butler already in the sin bin, referee Rhys Thomas flashed a yellow card to replacement hooker James Rael after five reset scrums on the Munster line deep into added time.

However, it proved a blessing in disguise for the Irish side, as earlier injuries to front rows Duncan Casey and Christy Condon resulted in uncontested scrums and Munster held solid.

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Ulster Ravens secured their third victory in the British and Irish Cup but it was a closely fought encounter, finishing 17-16 at Deramore Park, Belfast. Pontypridd, who have won nine of their opening 11 fixtures in the Welsh Principality League, made too many mistakes and their infringements were punished by out-half James McKinney who was in excellent form with four penalties. Ulster's try came from Peter Nelson.

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gaelic games: Dublin beat Wicklow 1-10 to 1-8 in a thoroughly enjoyable Leinster vocational schools inter-county SF quarter-final played at Alfie Byrne Park, Clontarf yesterday.

Both teams went in at the interval on level terms after Wicklow's Pierce MacSuibhne had lashed over the bar from a penalty on the stroke of half time to make it 1-3 a piece. In the second half, the introduction of Adam Rodgers brought fluency and incisiveness to the Dublin attack. Wicklow battled bravely with Padraig Kelleher, Padraig Geoghegan, Adam Conway and MacSuibhne to the fore to lead 1-8 to 1-6 entering the final quarter, but points from Devlin, Prunty and Rodgers sealed the win.

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Chasing a sixth successive title, Meath were pushed all the way by neighbours Louth in this Leinster vocational schools SF quarter-final at Simonstown yesterday, which ended 1-10 to 0-11.

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Louth dominated the opening half but it was the hosts who led 1-5 to 0-7 at the break -- following 1-3 in a four minute spell just before half-time. Meath's goal came on 28 minutes from Oisin Reilly.

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equestrian: Tipperary's Denis Lynch added a second victory to Ireland's tally at the World Cup show in Geneva yesterday when winning the Accumulator competition on his own bay stallion Contifex.

Lynch, Jessica Kurten and Niall Talbot are hoping to add World Cup points in today's Rolex Grand Prix at the Swiss Palexpo stadium.

Meanwhile, at the four-star show in Porto Cian O'Connor started the weekend with a third place in the Two Phase competition on the bay gelding O'Connell Street, just over a second off the pace of French winner Philippe Rozier and the mare Akita.

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swimming: Grainne Murphy finished eighth in the final of the 400m freestyle at the European Short Course championships in Sczezin, Poland yesterday. The Wexford athlete finished in 4:06.05secs, some six and a half seconds behind winner Mireia Belmonte Garcia of Spain. Melanie Nocher, who pulled out of the final, will compete in the 200m backstroke final today.

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sailing: An excellent performance by Laser Radial's Annalise Murphy on day six at the ISAF World Championships in Perth resulted in two wins which put her right back in contention for a medal.

In classic sea breeze conditions, Murphy sailed two faultless races to narrow the points gap going into today's finale. In other action in Perth, Ger Owens and Scott Flanigan failed to achieve Olympic qualification in the 470 class and will have to travel to Barcelona for the 470 Worlds in May next year -- which will be their last chance to qualify.

Meanwhile, other Olympic hopefuls Peter O'Leary and David Burrows in the Star will begin racing today, while Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern in the 49er and Laser's James Espey start their campaigns tomorrow.

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BADMINTON: Home involvement in the Yonex Irish International Badminton Championships ended when siblings Chloe and Sam Magee bowed out at the quarter-final stage at Lisburn yesterday.

After dropping the first set in her women's singles contest against former world No 1 Hongyan Pi, Donegal native Chloe (No 6 seed) levelled, only for her France-based opponent (seeded No 1) to prevail on a 21-11, 15-21, 21-17 margin. Later in the day, the siblings went out in the mixed doubles quarter-finals on a 21-13 21-10 scoreline against Danish pair Rasmus Bonde and Maria Helsbol.

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HOCKEY: The Leinster Men's league campaign reached the halfway mark yesterday, with Monkstown leading the way -- a comprehensive 4-2 away win over Glenanne firmly setting them on course for this season's title. Gareth Watkins, Lee Cole, Runar Moore and Richard Sykes were all on target for Monkstown.

UCD hold a two point lead over Railway Union in the Women's League. Railway kept the pressure on the Students with a 6-0 win yesterday over Pembroke. Hermes were the better side in beating Old Alex 2-1 yesterday, Kerry McComish and Catherine McGuinness scoring the goals for them.

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CRICKET: Younus Khan closed in on a century after Mohammad Hafeez hit a career-best 143 as Pakistan strengthened their grip on the first test against Bangladesh yesterday.

The visitors, resuming on 132-0, reached 415-4 at the close on the second day to build up a lead of 280 runs after bowling out Bangladesh for 135. Younus (96) was batting with Asad Shafiq (40) at the close, capping another day of domination for Pakistan in the field. The former Pakistan captain became only the fourth Pakistani cricketer to complete 6,000 runs in tests.

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New Zealand's hopes of claiming a first test win on Australian soil since 1985 soared yesterday as the tourists grabbed a 153-run lead at the end of a dramatic second day's play in the second test. After skittling Australia for 136, New Zealand made 139 for three in their second innings with Ross Taylor resuming today on 42 alongside Kane Williamson (34).

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BASKETBALL: DCU Saints continue to head the Northern Conference with a 30-17 first-quarter blitz in Belfield seeing them win comfortably 94-86 over UCD Marian last night. David Donnelly's side hit four shots from the outside in the opening phases of play to set the northsiders on the way.

Marian made some headway in the second to restrict key man Martin Provizors and early in the third quarter had got the Saints' lead down to four. However, a big third quarter from Pat Glover saw Saints pull away.

Elsewhere, Demons defeated fellow strugglers Moycullen 67-59 with Shaun Atump on 21 points, while 11 points from Mario Gomez in the final quarter saw Killester fend off a strong comeback from Star to win 88-81 at the IWA.

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