Sports Digest


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

Irish duo start  Star campaign

SAILING: Ireland’s Peter O’Leary and David Burrows opened their Star keelboat class world championship at Fremantle yesterday with an eighth and a second place in light and shifty conditions, writes David Branigan.

The Cork/Dublin pair are third overall at the start of a 10-race series that ends with a medal race finale next Sunday for the top 10 boats.

O’Leary and Burrows must finish within the top 11 places by nation to secure Ireland’s second qualification for the London 2012 Olympics following Annalise Murphy in the Laser Radial last week. Both are Olympic veterans though this is their first campaign in the same boat while the Star itself is slated to be dropped from the Games after next August’s event ends.

Meanwhile, Ryan Seaton and Matt McGovern start racing in the 49er skiff world championship tomorrow.

Trinity's eight set fastest time

ROWING: The sport took on a festive air at the Muckross Head of the River at the National Rowing Centre in Cork on Saturday, writes Liam Gorman.

Some of the 217 competing crews donned Santa hats and others antlers. Trinity’s senior eight set the fastest time of nine minutes 55 seconds for the 3,800 metre course, while the Presentation College junior 18 quadruple were the fastest junior crew – in a good time of 10:41. John Keohane of Lee Valley was the fastest single sculler, clocking 11 minutes and 57 seconds, while intermediate single sculler Micheal Bailey of Neptune was timed at just a second slower than him.

Clonmel won the pennant for the best overall club.

Higgins digs deep to keep Tour card hopes alive

GOLF: Ben Crenshaw often used an old Texas expression to explain why struggling golfers shouldn’t try too hard to find their games in the cauldron of battle, writes Brian Keogh in Girona.

“You got to dance with them what brung you,” the two-time Masters champion liked to say.

David Higgins is not struggling with his game but after grinding hard to card a level par 72 on the tough Stadium Course at PGA Catalunya Resort yesterday, the 39-year Waterville man is hoping that the golf that got him to Spain is good enough to finish in the magical top-30 after six rounds of the European Tour Qualifying School finals.

Tied for fourth after an opening 65 on the easier Tour Course, the tour veteran slipped to 26th yesterday. “A 72 is fine but I need to do better than that,” said Higgins, who had to hit a six iron to 10 feet and hole the par putt on his final hole of the day to avoid slipping outside the top 30.

“The standard is so high out here that I have to do better than I did today. I didn’t play well on the front nine at all but if 72 is my worst score and I can shoot under par from here, I will be alright.”

England’s Sam Hutsby added a 69 on the Stadium Course to his stunning, 10 under 60 on the Tour track to lead by two shots.

Trump beats Allen to take title  

SNOOKER: Judd Trump last night laid his hands on the UK Championship trophy after beating Mark Allen in a gripping final in York.

The 22-year-old from Bristol caused a sensation at this year’s World Championship when, as a qualifier, he sprung shock result after shock result before losing out to John Higgins for the title.

Last night Trump was not to be denied on another big stage, adding the UK crown to the China Open success he achieved just prior to heading to the Crucible in April.

Trump fended off a sparkling evening revival from Allen, who rifled three century breaks in four frames, to win 10-8 and carry off the silverware and a cheque for £100,000.

“To win it the way I did is a brilliant achievement,” Trump said. “Mark pushed me all the way. It’s a good job I had a big lead in that last session.” – (PA)

Ouseph takes title in Lisburn

BADMINTON: England’s Rajiv Ouseph, the first round conqueror of Dubliner Scott Evans, captured the men’s singles title in the Yonex Irish International Badminton Championships at Lisburn yesterday.

Number three seed Ouseph prevailed for the second time when his Polish opponent Przemyslaw Wacha, the number two seed, retired with a hamstring injury with Ouseph holding a 21-15 11-5 lead.

In the women’s singles final, Chinese Taipei’s Hsioa Ma Pa, the number four, recovered from losing the opening set to defeat number two seed Spain’s Carolina Marin 12-21 21-19 21-7. Despite exiting in the quarter-finals Ireland’s Chloe Magee clinched her place in next year’s London Olympics.

Leitrim appoint Dugdale and Breen

GAA: Leitrim have appointed former players George Dugdale and Brian Breen to take charge of their senior footballers for the next two years.

The two former players took temporary charge last month after Mickey Moran was forced to step down due to ill health.

Leitrim county board chairman Joe Flynn said Breen and Dugdale had been asked to take on the job on a permanent basis and had now agreed to do that.

Their appointment was ratified at the Leitrim annual convention in Carrick-on-Shannon yesterday.

Flynn said that the joint managers – who were part of the Leitrim side which famously won the 1994 Connacht title under John O’Mahony – would appoint a selector in due course.

“We are delighted that they are going to take on the job. They asked for a two-year term and that shows their commitment to the task,” said Flynn.

Visa mix-up hampers Egan, Sheehan

BOXING: Ken Egan and Con Sheehan had to sleep overnight on benches in the duty free shop in Baku’s Heydar Aliyev airport before lining out for Germany’s Leipzig Leopards in the World Series of Boxing in Azerbaijan on Saturday.

On Thursday, Egan and Sheehan landed in Baku with the five-man Leopards squad for the top-of the table clash with the Baku Fires in the Azeri capital.

But while the rest of the team were left through, Egan and Sheehan, the only two non-Germans on the panel, were left stranded in the airport for 26 hours because the Germans hadn’t sorted out their visas.

The Irish duo finally got out of the airport at 4pm local time on Friday just before the weigh-in for Saturday’s Group B clash.

Egan said that they finally got back to the team hotel at 8pm that night and went straight to bed, exhausted.However, Egan and Sheehan lost their bouts.