Sports Digest

Mon, Oct 8, 2012, 01:00

A round-up of today's other stories in brief

Gass crowned Tarmac champion

Darren Gass is the 2012 Irish Tarmac Rally Champion after this weekend’s Cork 20 International Rally. Gass was crowned champion before the event even began as title rival Garry Jennings was unable to enter a car for the rally, meaning Gass could not be caught on the leaderboard.

Despite the knowledge of knowing he had won the title Gass started well but it was Daragh O’Riordan who led from stage one, with Gass 11 seconds back. The Armagh driver began to close the gap across the next three stages, however on Stage 5 Gass crashed out, breaking his steering rack and ending his involvement.

O’Riordan and co-driver Tony McDaid then led the procession in their Subaru over the next nine stages to win the event by 4 minutes and 6 seconds from Declan Boyle in second and Denis Cronin finishing third, over 7 minutes behind the leader.

Sam Moffett also secured his own title as he took the Group N Tarmac title. The Motorsport Ireland Young Rally Driver of the Year finished fifth in Cork, which was enough to secure the title in his Mitsubishi Evo 9.

Breen completes Irish hat-trick in Horse of the Year

Shane Breen brought up a hat trick of Irish victories at the Horse of the Year Show early on Saturday evening when he won the accumulator on his own nine-year-old stallion Balloon.

The Hickstead-based rider picked up the maximum 65 points in 49.89 to claim the £6,600 first prize with Britain’s Guy Williams second in 51.22 on Larino 0087. Anthony Condon finished sixth on the Irish-bred Special Lux (54.86).

Earlier in the day, Billy Twomey claimed the jump-off competition on Sally Lane’s Dutch-bred mare Wings Sublieme.

In eventing, Wexford’s Lucy Latta won the pony two-star class at Weston Park in Shropshire. Riding Nono, Latta completed on her dressage score of 43.70 penalties.

Fundraising drive for Argentina trip

Things are looking up in a better way than could have been expected. The Leinster Hockey Association have made a statement as they pledged €4,000 to the Irish senior men’s fundraising campaign and urged their constituent clubs to get behind the campaign to see Ireland take up their place at the Champions Challenge in Argentina next month.

The first day of fundraising, as of Friday, has raised more than €13,700 but the LHA also correctly demanded that this situation leads to “proper governance” of the IHA, saying they will “demand a full report and a review of the unfortunate situation that the national body find itself in. The LHA will also suggest a forum to discuss all aspects of the national squads and the very future of the sport.”

The recap is that the Irish men pulled out of an international tournament in Argentina because there were no funds but now a more encouraging story has just come out of a pretty disappointing series of events, which is often the way these things work. JOHNNY WATTERSON

Ireland take bronze in Champions Challenge

A 4-3 victory on penalty strokes at Belfield yesterday gave Ireland a bronze medal finish at the Champions Challenge I, Nikki Symmons converting the decisive stroke after the team had twice come from behind against Scotland to take the game in to extra time.

Alison Bell had given Scotland the lead after just five minutes, but Emma Smyth levelled midway through the first half when she fired home from close range. Samantha Judge restored the visitors’ advantage four minutes after the break, but again Ireland came back, Niamh Atcheler equalising four minutes from time from a penalty corner.

Scotland came closest to scoring a golden goal winner in extra time when Nikki Kidd hit the left post, but it was to be Ireland’s day, Emma Gray saving two penalty strokes before Symmons clinched bronze.

Ireland had missed out on a place in the final when they lost 2-1 to the United States on Saturday, Lauren Pfeiffer getting their winner in the 58th minute. Top seeds Australia, though, took gold yesterday, beating the Americans 6-1. MARY HANNIGAN

Sherlock takes Irish national hillclimb championships

Attracting a strong turnout, the Irish national hillclimb championships saw Ryan Sherlock cover the 10 kilometre distance from Laragh to Turlough Hill quickest on Saturday, netting gold.

The Cycleways CC rider clocked a time of 25 minutes 7.79 seconds, one minute 29 seconds faster than Anthony Walsh (Apoge Super U) and one minute 44 ahead of Greg Swinand (Usher IRC).

The latter beat Frank Billings (LCRC) and Michael Jordan (IMBRC) to the veteran’s prize, while Danny Bruton (Dunboyne CC) put in a dominant ride in the junior contest.

He was sixth fastest in the overall competition and minutes clear of Mikey Moriarty (Lee Strand Tralee CC) and Evan Cunningham (Naas).

Rachel Glendon (Orwell Wheelers) 32.49.81 won the women’s race ahead of Michelle Geoghegan (Steeds Vooraan) and Amy Brice (Phoenix CC). SHANE STOKES

* Irish cricket team mates Gary Wilson and William Portefield are getting on their bikes for an ambitious project to cycle the length of Ireland – a grand total of 380 miles in just five days.

Irish captain Porterfield has agreed to join close friend Gary Wilson on the sponsored ride in aid of Cancer Research UK, all in memory of Gary’s mother Iris who died earlier this year.

The “off” will be in Cork on Tuesday.

Donations can now be made at www.justgiving.com/Gary-Wilson14or text the donation to 70070 with the code CRIC50 and the amount you wish to give.

More information at welivecricket.com/bigbikeride

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