A round-up of today's other stories in brief
Crossmaglen's Mullingar date with St Brigid's on February 16th
GAELIC GAMES:All-Ireland club football champions Crossmaglen Rangers will face St Brigids of Roscommon in the All-Ireland Club SFC semi-final at Cusack Park, Mullingar, on Saturday, February 16th at 2pm.
Dr Crokes will take on Ballymun Kickhams in the other semi-final on the same day at 4pm in Thurles.
Sunday, January 27th
All-Ireland Club IFC semi-finals: Charlestown Sarsfields (Mayo) v Cookstown Fr Rocks (Tyrone), Pearse Park, Longford, 2pm – extra-time if necessary; Finuge (Kerry) v Monasterevan (Kildare), Gaelic Grounds, Limerick – extra-time if necessary.
All-Ireland Club JFC semi-finals: Ballinasloe (Galway) v An Port Mór (Armagh); Breffni Park, 2pm – extra-time if necessary; Castleknock (Dublin) v Kenmare Shamrocks (Kerry), Mitchelstown, 2pm – extra-time if necessary.
Saturday, February 16th
All-Ireland Club SFC semi-finals: St Brigid’s (Roscommon) v Crossmaglen Rangers (Armagh), Cusack Park, Mullingar, 2pm – extra-time if necessary; Dr Crokes (Kerry) v Ballymun Kickhams (Dublin), Thurles, 4pm – extra-time if necessary.
O'Brien and Stirling signed up in Bangladesh Premier auction
CRICKET:Ireland’s big hitters proved popular in yesterday’s Bangladesh Premier League auction as Kevin O’Brien and Paul Stirling both signed lucrative contracts for the upcoming Twenty20 event.
O’Brien, scorer of the fastest century in World Cup history, was picked up by new franchise Rangpur for a fee of €34,000, while opening bat Stirling was signed by Sylhet Royals for €22,666.
The players receive all the money for a tournament that lasts three weeks and will get under way on January 17th.
The Irish duo were the only Associate players picked at the auction, with Kevin’s older brother Niall, who played in last year’s inaugural staging, missing out.
Niall O’Brien was dropped from the Ireland team for the first half of last year after playing in the BPL instead of touring Africa with Ireland.
Australian Open prize money up
TENNIS:The Australian Open organisers yesterday announced they would increase prize money for the early losers at the opening grand slam of the season to record levels, a move likely to quell player unrest and end talk of a strike.
The Melbourne event will now pay more prize money per round than any other tournament. The biggest increases were for first round losers in the men's and women's singles, who will now receive A$27,600 (€22,000) each, 32.7 per cent up on 2012, with those exiting in the second round getting €34,500, up 36.6 per cent.
The move is likely to appease the players' council, which had been calling for more revenue from the grand slams to be passed down to those hitting the shots.
Galway to host Players Tour event again
SNOOKER:Ireland has secured the staging of the Players Tour Championship Grand Finals in 2013 despite stiff competition from a number of countries including Thailand and Qatar.
The finals will return to the Bailey Allen Hall at NUI Galway, from March 12th-17th, with the world’s top players competing in Galway for the €125,000 top prize.
The tournament is the culmination of a series of 13 events on the Players Tour Championship (PTC) this season, staged around Britain, Europe and Asia.
The top 25 players from the Order of Merit plus seven from the Asian Order of Merit will qualify to play in Galway. The full line-up will be announced after January’s PTC event in Munich.
Cuthbert bucks the trend and signs new three-year deal
RUGBY UNION:Wales wing Alex Cuthbert has signed a new three-year contract with Cardiff Blues, the Welsh region have announced.
Cuthbert, a star performer in the Test match arena this year, rejected offers from other clubs in committing his future at the Arms Park.
And his decision has bucked the trend of top Wales players moving to France, with Jamie Roberts and Dan Lydiate both set to join the exodus next season.
Mike Phillips, Gethin Jenkins, James Hook and Luke Charteris already play in the French Top 14, while prop Paul James is in his first season at Aviva Premiership club Bath.
Meanwhile, Scott Johnson has been appointed Scotland interim head coach for the Six Nations and summer tour to South Africa, the Scottish Rugby Union has announced.
The Australian will step up from his role as assistant coach following Andy Robinson's resignation last month.
Barcelona rule out sharing Grand Prix with Valencia
MOTOR SPORT:Circuit de Catalunya officials have made it clear they have no intention of alternating the Spanish Grand Prix with Valencia.
The Valencia Street Circuit played host to the European Grand Prix for five years, from 2008 to 2012, only to drop off the calendar for next season.
It was suggested earlier this year Barcelona and Valencia would take it in turns to stage the Spanish Grand Prix, starting with the former for 2013.
But Vincente Aguilera, president of the Consortium of the Circuit de Catalunya, has indicated that will not be the case.
"We have a contract to host the GP of Spain until 2016 and we want to keep it," Aguilera told El Mundo Deportivo.
"Indeed, we are open to negotiate the extension until 2020."