Ireland takes silver at European juniors
Irish riders maintained their good form on the international scene on both sides of the Atlantic over the weekend.
At the junior European eventing championships in Strzegom, Poland, the quartet of Harold Megahey (Chuckelberry), Lucca Stubington (Kilminchy Condor), Tori Dixon (Shadow Light) and Katie Moffatt (Pick And Mix II) won team silver on 133.60 penalties behind Britain (130.10) and ahead of France (142.70).
On Saturday night, the Irish team of Shane Sweetnam (Amaretto d’Arco), Jennifer Crooks (SF Uryadi), Andrew Bourns (Roundthorn Madios) and Shane Breen also finished second in the Nations’ Cup at Spruce Meadows, Canada.
Germany, leading from the first round, won on a total of 16, while Ireland finished on 22 faults, with the Netherlands third on 25.
In Britain, Ireland’s Barry Capstick landed a record fourth victory in a row in the advanced horse pairs’ competition at the British national driving championships in Windsor.
Lambe ends season on a high with silver
Claire Lambe got the podium finish she deserved yesterday as the lightweight single sculler’s sometimes gruelling season ended on a high when she took silver at the World University Championships in Kazan in Russia behind the fast-starting Kirsten McCann of South Africa.
“She flew out of the blocks,” Lambe said of the strongly-built South African, who was an Olympian in 2008 and a bronze medallist at the World Under-23 Championships in 2010. The nearest challenger was over 10 seconds back but in difficult, choppy, conditions McCann was able to hold off the pushes by Lambe.
Niall Kenny finished fifth in a high-quality final of the lightweight single sculls, which was won by reigning World silver medallist Peter Galambos of Hungary.
The all-Queen’s women’s four finished third in a repechage to make the top six, but were not able to improve on sixth yesterday. The men’s four could not make the A Final, but won a battle with the Czech Republic to win the B Final and finish seventh overall. – LIAM GORMAN
Contador wins on home soil a month after completing ban
A month after completing a two-year ban for doping, Alberto Contador showed he was still a force to be reckoned with as he won his second Tour of Spain title yesterday.
The Saxo Bank-Tinkoff rider claimed his fifth Grand Tour victory after he finished in the main pack in the largely ceremonial stage into Madrid, won in a bunch sprint by Germany’s John Degenkolb.
Spanish riders scooped all three top spots overall, with Alejandro Valverde second at one minute 16 seconds and Joaquim Rodriguez in third at one minute 37.
“This is the result of many months of hard work and an incredible level of self-sacrifice,” Contador told reporters. “I feel a real sense of release from pressure, liberated by this win.
“I want to dedicate it to the people who have been with me in the good times and the bad times.”
Ireland’s Nicolas Roche came home in the bunch sprint and was placed 34th on the final stage. He finished the race in 12th position on general classification, 17 minutes and 50 seconds behind Contador.
Shillington claims her maiden ton as Ireland promoted
The Ireland women’s team gained promotion to Division Two of the English County Championship with a comprehensive 133-run victory over the Netherlands at East Grinstead in Sussex yesterday.
Clare Shillington, who recently became the first women to win 100 Irish caps, scored her maiden international century, making 107 from 106 balls as Ireland were bowled out for 215.
Louise McCarthy (4-23), Kim Garth (3-11) and Elena Tice (3-22) then excelled as the Dutch were bowled out for just 82.
Meanwhile, Clontarf have been relegated from Division One of the Leinster Senior League for the first time in 10 years after losing to a Merrion side inspired by a match-winning knock of 170 from Ben Ackland. – EMMET RIORDAN
Vitali Klitschko puts an end to Charr’s unbeaten record
Vitali Klitschko ended Manuel Charr’s perfect record with a clinical defence of his WBC heavyweight title in Moscow on Saturday night.
In what could prove to be the Ukrainian’s last-ever bout before embarking on a career in politics, a cut over Charr’s right eye brought proceedings to an end with 56 seconds remaining in the fourth round.
It was a one-sided contest from the off, with Klitschko stalking the ring behind his jab and landing a couple of early shots.
He put the former kickboxer down in the second round, landing a left hook which saw Charr receive an eight count. And, when a similar shot wounded Charr in the fourth, the referee stepped in.
Charr was disgruntled with the call, kicking the ropes, but the amount of blood he was shedding meant it was impossible for him to carry on.
“I’m disappointed I didn’t manage to win the fight with a real knockout,” said Klitschko after the bout.
“Sadly, it was the doctor’s decision. We both wanted to continue the fight.”