Maguire keeps hopes of regaining trophy alive


SPORTS DIGEST:GOLF: Teenage wonder Leona Maguire produced a champagne display at Royal Porthcawl on the South Wales coast yesterday to record a crucial victory which gave Britain and Ireland a glimmer of hope of regaining the Vagliano Trophy from the Continent of Europe.

It was generally a bleak day for the hosts who trail 7.5 to 4.5 at the halfway stage and require eight points from the 12 at stake today to reclaim the trophy they last won at Chantilly in 2005.

But Maguire fresh from her success in the Irish Open stroke-play championship at the weekend was always in charge of her singles match against French golfer Manon Gidali, soon establishing a three-hole advantage and going on to win 3 and 2. “I was pleased with the way I played. I kept out of trouble and that is the important thing on a links course like this,”said the 16-year-old .

Captain Tegwen Matthews said: “I am not in the slightest despondent as I am very confident we can turn things around.”

O’Leary stretches his overall lead

SAILING:Dank, grey conditions and increasing wind-strength marked the penultimate day of the Sovereigns Cup regatta yesterday and Kinsale’s famed micro-climate was clearly on an off-day. Nevertheless, a full racing programme was completed as tight results in most classes will see some decisive sailing today, writes DAVID BRANIGAN.

Class Zero was the exception where Anthony O’Leary stretched his overall lead as his nearest rival dropped places yesterday. Kieran Twomey’s Gloves Off had a fifth and a third in contrast to O’Leary’s two wins and the fellow Crosshaven boat dropped out of the top-three.

But it was in the other classes where the results were tighter despite the southerly wind that freshened throughout the day.

The Fireball World Championship was decided on tie-break at Sligo Yacht Club yesterday with Matt Burge and Richard Wagstaff lifting the trophy over Tom Gillard and Sam Brearey after a breezy final day.

Sargent’s goal gives Ireland victory

HOCKEY:Ireland’s women are guaranteed to finish above their pre-tournament seeding – and earn valuable world ranking points into the bargain – after they ground out a win over Azerbaijan to earn a shot at fifth place in the Champions Challenge at a sodden Belfield last night.

Cliodhna Sargent’s battered short corner effort on 44 minutes proved enough to notch a deserved victory in last night’s 5th-8th place play-off, and earn Ireland a shot at fifth place against South Africa tomorrow (11.30am).

Ireland’s men lost 2-1 to Pakistan in a dress rehearsal for tonight’s Four Nations final. Pakistan led through Ahmed Waseem and Sohail Abbas before Tim Cockram pulled one back from the penalty spot.

Kelly inspires Clare success

GAELIC GAMES: Clare produced a stirring second half performance, inspired by captain Tony Kelly, to beat Tipperary 3-13 to 1-13 last night and book their place in the Munster minor hurling final on July 10th.

Eoin Enright’s goal gave Clare a 1-8 to 0-8 lead at the interval at Semple Stadium while Colm Galvin’s added their second goal after 38 minutes. Alan Mulready tapped home the visitors’ third late on.

Kelly went off injured in the closing minutes but the Ballyea man had already wreaked havoc from the 44th to 54th minutes. as he hit four points and supplied another for Aaron Cunningham.

TIPPERARY: S Hassett; J Bourke, J Meagher, J Peters; T Hamill, J Forde (1-0f), C Barrett; E Fennelly, B Maher; P Ralph (0-2), D McCormack (0-1), J McGrath; S Cahill (0-1), L McGrath (0-9, 7f), C Horan. Subs: B Heffernan for Horan (44 mins), S Kennedy for Fennelly (54 mins).

CLARE: E Quilligan; J Browne, N O’Connor, S Morey; J Colleran, J Shanahan, G O’Connell; C Galvin (1-1), T Kelly (0-4, 2f); E Enright (1-0), C O’Connell (0-4, 2f, 1 65), P Duggan (0-3, 1 sl); S O’Donnell, O Hickey, A Cunningham (0-1). Subs: A Mulready (1-0) for Enright (48), M Moroney for Kelly (inj, 59), D Moloney for O’Connell (60).

Rheinisch reaches semi-finals

CANOEING: Eoin Rheinisch went into the qualification round of the men’s K1 (racing kayak) event at the Canoe Slalom World Cup in Tacen in Slovenia with modest hopes, but he made a remarkably good start yesterday, finishing 10th in the heats and qualifying for today’s semi-finals.

The Kildare man, who finished fourth in this event at the Beijing Olympics but is recovering from an operation on his left shoulder, incurred penalites of six seconds on his first run, but had a faultless second run in 97.85 seconds.

He described the performance as encouraging. “I enjoyed myself today and that was my goal.”

Hannah Craig did not make the semi-final in the women’s K1, and Patrick Hynes and Ciaran Heurteau also missed out in the men’s K1.

Dunbar moves into contention

Alan Dunbar stepped up his challenge for the Brabazon Trophy at Burnham and Berrow on the Somerset coast yesterday with a stunning three-under par 68 in his second round.

That gave the Rathmore star a 36-hole aggregate of 140 to lie just two strokes off the halfway pace set by Neil Raymond from the Corhampton club in Southampton. Reeve Whitson is on 145 after a 72 and John Greene on 147 after a 68.