Sports Digest


Tributes pour in after death of commentator Sid WaddellTributes have poured in for darts commentator Sid Waddell after yesterday’s announcement of his death at the age of 72.

Waddell, who had been battling bowel cancer since last September, died on Saturday night.Northumberland-born and a Cambridge graduate, he was a central part of Sky Sports’ coverage of PDC darts events since 1994.

He was known for his colourful and excitable commentary style, with his best-known lines including “There’s only one word for it – magic darts.”

He also noted, while watching Eric Bristow become world champion: “When Alexander of Macedonia was 33, he cried salt tears because there were no more worlds to conquer . . . Bristow’s only 27.”

Long-term colleague Dave Clark tearfully told Sky Sports News: “He was a brilliant man, a genius of the microphone – I’m going to miss my old mate, that’s for sure.

“He had a child-like exuberance, he’d be bouncing round like a young puppy in the commentary box, and mix that with the intellect of Einstein.”

Murtagh facing spell on sidelines after incident

Johnny Murtagh is facing a spell on the sidelines after an incident leaving the parade ring on Lottie Dod in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh yesterday.

Murtagh was taken for X-rays on a facial injury and is set for further tests today. The Turf Club’s Dr Adrian McGoldrick said: “Johnny has fractured a small bone under his eye and he will have further tests done on a larger cheekbone tomorrow morning which I am a bit concerned about.”

Another rider in the wars was Joseph O’Brien, who was thrown to the ground when Cristoforo Colombo came down in the race itself.

McGoldrick said: “Joseph has a soft tissue injury on his leg. I think he was quite fortunate but he will also have the injury further assessed tomorrow.”

Shannon leads North to victory

James Shannon kept up his good form to lead the North to a comfortable seven-wicket victory over the South at Bready yesterday to level up the RSA Inter-Regional Series at one win apiece. The Instonians batsman made a half-century on his Ireland debut against South Africa ‘A’ at Oakhill last week and followed it up with an unbeaten 95 off 91 balls, hitting his fourth six of the innings as the North chased down a target of 237 with 23 balls to spare.

Shannon shared an unbeaten 133 fourth-wicket stand with Waringstown’s Lee Nelson (53 not out) after opener Chris Dougherty 48 had given his side a solid a platform.

South skipper Kevin O’Brien had earlier fallen just one run short of a century, while fellow senior international made 50 as they made 237 for nine from their 50 overs.

Meanwhile, Ireland were beaten by seven wickets in their opening Under-19 World Cup group game against England in Townsville yesterday. George Dockrell’s side could only manage 109 after being put in to bat. EMMET RIORDAN

Murray drafted in for vital Uefa qualifier against Turkey

Ipswich Town striker Ronan Murray has been drafted into the Republic of Ireland under-21 squad after manager Noel King had to contend with four withdrawals ahead of tomorrow’s vital Uefa qualifier against Turkey at the Showgrounds (7.30pm).

Midfielder Jeff Hendrick, one of Ireland’s mainstays over the campaign to date, is out after injuring his wrist while playing for Derby County in Saturday’s friendly against Chesterfield. Gavin Gunning (Dundee United), Rhys Murphy (SC Telstar) and Aaron Doran (Inverness CT) have also been forced to withdraw.

Victory over Turkey, the only team to beat Ireland in their five qualifiers so far, would guarantee Ireland second place in Group 7 with next month’s away double-header in Hungary and Italy still to play.

Table-toppers Italy are on course to win the pool but second could be sufficient for Ireland to join them in the play-offs for next year’s Euro finals in Israel.

Amongst the squad which assembled in Sligo yesterday were Robbie Brady and Shane Duffy, both of whom were wanted by Giovanni Trapattoni for this week’s senior friendly in Serbia. “Giovanni understood the importance of this game and left them with us,” said King with a smile.

SQUAD:McLoughlin (MK Dons), McCarey (Wolves), Egan (Sunderland), Cunningham (Bristol City), Kiernan (Wigan), Duffy (Everton), Canavan (Scunthorpe), Hendrick (Derby), Barton (Preston), Henderson (Arsenal), Towell (unattached), Clifford (Chelsea), Carruthers (Aston Villa), O’Kane (Bournemouth), Brady (Manchester United), White (Leeds), Murray (Watford), Scannell (Huddersfield Town), Collins (Swindon).

St Nicholas Abbey may take on Frankel

The Henry Cecil-trained wonder horse Frankel could face at least one stern rival when he lines up for the Juddmonte International in the shape of St Nicholas Abbey.

The world’s highest-rated horse is scheduled to tackle 10 furlongs for the first time at York on August 22nd, in a race sponsored by his owner, Khalid Abdullah.

Cirrus Des Aigles has been confirmed an absentee, with Nathaniel seemingly more likely to head for the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

But Aidan O’Brien looks set to target the Group One showpiece with dual Coronation Cup and Breeders’ Cup Turf hero St Nicholas Abbey.

Speaking at the Curragh yesterday, O’Brien, who landed his 12th Group One Keeneland Phoenix Stakes, said: “St Nicholas Abbey could run next in the Juddmonte International Stakes.”

The world’s top-rated racehorse, Frankel extended his unbeaten run to 12 by demolishing the field in the Sussex Stakes at the recent Glorious Goodwood meeting.

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