Sports digest


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

Uruguay move up to fifth in the world

SOCCER:Copa America winners Uruguay have moved up to fifth in the new Fifa World Rankings, their highest ever position and a move of 13 places from the last published list.

Spain, the Netherlands and Germany remain unchanged in the top three places, while Copa America quarter-finalists Brazil have moved up one place to fourth.

Uruguay, who won a record 15th Copa America title with a 3-0 win over Paraguay on Sunday, were the only team to break into the top 10, with Mexico, despite their recent triumph in the Gold Cup, dropping out.

Both England and Italy drop two places to sixth and eighth respectively, with Portugal unmoved in seventh.

Croatia and Argentina round out the top 10.

The Republic of Ireland drop two places to 33rd, while Scotland and Northern Ireland remain 61st and 62nd respectively, with Wales moving up to 112th, two places higher than last month.

Ireland go down 4-2 to Australia

HOCKEY: Following on from their highly encouraging win over the world number six side Korea, the men’s Irish hockey team fell to the top team in the world, Australia. In the end, though, the ambitious Irish side came away with a credible 4-2 defeat.

Ireland had conceded two goals after 20 minutes and went into the break 2-0 down.

After half-time the powerful Australians made it three goals after a low drag flick at a corner found the net.

Mikey Watt then hit back for Ireland following some good work from Eugene Magee and Tim Cockram to make it 3-1.

While Australia earned another short corner and converted it to give them a comfortable three-goal cushion again Irish heads refused to drop.

Their second goal came following some good work from Peter Carruth, Corkman John Jermyn roofed a short corner in the 70th minute to take Ireland to 4-2 for the final score.

Finnegan claims 1,500m gold in Euro Youth Olympics

ATHLETICS: Another young Irish athlete has won a medal on foreign soil, this time a gold by Ruairí Finnegan, who yesterday sprinted to victory in the 1,500 metres at the European Youth Olympics in Trabzon in Turkey.

Finnegan, a member of Letterkenny AC in Donegal, took the EYOF title in 3:53.78, just fractionally outside his best.

Last year in Moscow another Donegal athlete, Mark English, won the 800m.

Finnegan was always prominent in the race before taking the lead 120 metres from the finish and immediately opening up a gap on his opponents. Samuele Dini of Italy took the silver in 3:54.45.

In the girls’ 1500m, Siofra Cleirigh Buttner of Colaiste Iosagáin in Stillorgan also produced a fine effort, finishing second in 4:26.42.

In the closing stages British girl Sophie Riches pulled away to win in 4:25.95.

Cleirigh Buttner joins previous Irish medallists including Ciara Mageean, who won the event in 2009 in 4:15.46 and Maria Lynch, who claimed bronze in 1995.

The was further good news earlier in the day when Marcus Lawler (St Laurence O’Toole’s) improved his own Irish Youth record by one hundredth of a second, when winning his 200m heat in 21.62, and he will now be in the medal hunt in today’s final.

Twins Megan and Ben Kiely of Ferrybank AC both qualified for the finals of the 400m hurdles, Megan in the girls’ event and Ben in the boys’.

Southwell misses out on World Cup

RUGBY: Scotland fullback Hugo Southwell has been ruled out of this autumn’s World Cup due to a knee injury.

The 31-year-old had been battling to recover from the injury in time for the tournament, which takes place in September and October in New Zealand, with Scotland opening their campaign on September 10th against Romania.

Southwel will not be replaced in Scotland’s squad, leaving Robinson with 38 players.

Canoeists taste Olympic conditions

CANOEING: Slalom canoeists will get a real taste today of what it will be like if they make the Olympic Games in London as an Ireland team of four – Eoin Rheinisch and Ciarán Heurteau in men’s K1 and Hannah Craig and Aisling Conlon in women’s K1 – have been invited to take part in the Olympic Test Event at Lee Valley Whitewater centre, north of London.

In an attempt to produce the exact format of next year’s Olympic Games, there will be just 21 K1 men’s competitors on Saturday – so 53 competitors, including Rheinisch and Heurteau, will be whittled down to that number in elimination rounds today.

Rheinisch, who finished fourth at the Beijing Olympics, says the course is similar to Sunyi venue: an impressive man-made, whitewater structure.