Saturday 16 December 2017

Ireland move up four places


IRELAND have moved up four places to No 25 in the FIFA world rankings published yesterday.

Giovanni Trapattoni's men won their final two games in Group B of the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign to secure a play-off against Estonia, who dropped one place to No 59.

With an impressive finish to their qualifying campaign, in which they defeated Switzerland and Bulgaria, Wales leaped 45 places to 45th.

Northern Ireland dropped 14 places to No 84, while England moved up one place to seventh. Spain retained their No 1 ranking ahead of the Netherlands.


Katie Taylor is through to the semi-finals of the European Women's Championships following a 17-4 victory over Ayzanat Hajiyeva of Azerbaijan in Rotterdam yesterday.

The Irish lightweight will now meet Sweden's Helena Falk in tomorrow's semi-final in a repeat of the 60kg clash which Taylor won on a unanimous decision in Bray in August. Taylor, guaranteed at least bronze, is aiming for five European gold medals in a row.

Ceire Smith lost out in her quest to reach the semi-finals with a 24-9 defeat to Poland's Sandra Drabik in the bantamweight division.

Kilkenny light-heavyweight Lauragh O'Neill lost 16-7 to Tinea Naga.


The IRB have named the six-man shortlist for the Player of the Year award, with the winner to be announced in Auckland on Monday.

Four of the contenders will be taking part in the World Cup final at Eden Park on Sunday -- France captain Thierry Dusautoir and the New Zealand trio of scrum-half Piri Weepu, flanker Jerome Kaino and centre Ma'a Nonu.

The other two nominees are Australia's flanker David Pocock and scrum-half Will Genia, who will both play against Wales in tomorrow's bronze final.

Pocock has been nominated for the second year in a row, having missed out to New Zealand captain Richie McCaw in 2010.

"The IRB Player of the Year award is the ultimate accolade for a player to receive in his career," said IRB chairman Bernard Lapasset.

"It takes on added significance in a Rugby World Cup year and takes into account player performances in all major internationals, including matches in the Six Nations and Tri-Nations."

Irish Independent

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