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

Workings of IABA shown up in a bad light after venue reversal

Let’s hope that the health and safety issues that were the official reason for moving the Elite finals from the National Stadium to Citywest have been resolved, that no one who bought tickets will be out of pocket and that the IABA haven’t lost their shirt in the hasty venue reversal.

News that the Citywest adventure has been cancelled and the finals moved back to the venerable stadium six days after the pomp of the original announcements should not impact on tonight’s preliminary rounds. But it has again left boxing perplexed at the workings of the organisation.

In one of the most anticipated championships for years, Ireland has seven boxers inside the world top 10 in the February edition of Rankings. Katie Taylor (1), John Joe Nevin (3), Michael Conlan (3), Paddy Barnes (6), Ray Moylette (8), Joe Ward (10) and Darren O’Neill (10) are all expected to weigh-in.

Both Moylette and Ward go in as current European champions and five others, Taylor, Nevin, Barnes, Conlan and Kenny Egan, with Olympic medals.

Egan’s rivalry with Ward in the light heavyweight division should again capture attention if the two make it to the finals on February 22nd.


Roche clocks up one of his best time trials to finish eighth

CYCLING:Clocking up one of the best time trial performances of his career, Nicolas Roche yesterday finished eighth in the stage two TT at the Tour of the Mediterranean.

Roche completed the 24-kilometre Sète time trial 54 seconds off the winning time of Lars Boom (Blanco Pro Cycling), and ended the day eighth overall.

“I’m very pleased by how it went.” Roche told The Irish Times afterwards. “I’ve worked hard over the winter on my time trial, doing much more specific training for it, and have also made some changes to my position.

“I’m also going well for this time of the year – probably better than I have in a few years.

“I am lighter than I have been in the past couple of seasons and I’m looking forward to the Mont Faron mountain stage [Saturday’s penultimate leg].

“If that goes well, I think a podium finish is possible in the overall classification.”

Roche has moved to Team Saxo Tinkoff after several years with the Ag2r La Mondiale team and said that he has settled in well. Double Tour de France winner Alberto Contador is a clear leader of the tour.


Mullins and Walsh land four-timer

RACING:Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh dominated the card at Clonmel yesterday with a 13 to 1 four-timer from just five runners. The formidable combination took the two feature races with Inish Island and Call The Police, as well as striking with the highly-promising mare Annie Power and Sarabad.

They were denied a 100 per cent record on the day when their final entry, Cadspeed, could only finish third.

Call The Police may figure in the Mullins team for the John Smith's Grand National after lifting the Derrygrath Chase.

Meanwhile, Elleval struck a blow for Ireland and David Marnane in Dubai yesterday as he showed a brilliant turn of foot to claim the Meydan Classic Trial under Fergal Lynch.

Premier clubs could be docked points

SOCCER:Premier League clubs could be docked points if they fail to comply with new limits on financial losses and curbs on increases in payments to players agreed yesterday.

The measures are designed to help ensure that a €5.86 billion TV windfall brings a new era of financial stability rather than being frittered away on wages.

The curbs are less stringent than Uefa’s Financial Fair Play measures which will force top Premier League clubs to move towards a break-even status or face exclusion from European competition.

Premier League clubs will be limited to maximum aggregate losses of €123 million from 2013 to 2016. Clubs losing more than that will face sanctions – which could include point deductions.

AC Milan publish photograph of Balotelli and Berlusconi

SOCCER:AC Milan have published a picture that appears to show Paolo Berlusconi making peace with Mario Balotelli after footage emerged of the Serie A club's vice-president using a racial slur to describe the striker.

Paolo Berlusconi, at 64 the younger brother of club president Silvio, was filmed describing Balotelli in a racist manner at a political meeting in Monza on Sunday.

Milan declined to comment on the footage, which was hosted on the website of Italian newspaper La Repubblica, but yesterday the club posted a picture of the two men shaking hands and smiling at each other on their official website.

Paolo Berlusconi was attending a rally for a candidate for his brother's right-wing People of Freedom party when he made the reported comments.

Honours even as Byrne header cancels out Czech penalty

SOCCER/Under-19 international/Rep Ireland 1 Czech Rep 1
: The Republic of Ireland Under-19s came from behind to draw with the Czech Republic at Flancare Park.

Referee Brendan Kelly awarded a spot-kick for a foul by captain Pearse Sweeney on Petr Sevcik after 23 minutes, allowing striker Vaclav Juecka to score.

Ireland were level within a minute of the second half when Sam Byrne guided his header past Jan Kotnour.

REP OF IRELAND: D Rogers (Aberdeen); J Keane (Waterford Utd), S Smith (Leicester City), P Sweeney (Reading), B Garmston (West Brom); B Miele (Newcastle United), L Gallagher (Burnley), K Sadlier (West Ham); S Maguire (West Ham), A Evans (Burnley), S Byrne (Manchester Utd). Subs: K Evoy (Tottenham) for Maguire (43 mins, inj), R McConnell (Manchester United) for Keane (50 mins), P George (Celtic) for Evans (76 mins), K Dillon (Hull City) for Miele (81 mins)

CZECH REP: Kotnour; Filip, Karafiat, Wermke (Nerad 46 mins), Masek (Simic 89 mins); Jureka (Liska 72 mins), Sevcik (Byrtus 78 mins), Cermak; Travnik, Hybl, Sterba (Shejbal 46 mins). Referee: B Kelly.

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