Sports digest


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

Loreto face cup trip to Pegasus

HOCKEY: The draw for the second round of the women’s Irish Senior Cup, made on Saturday, has given holders Loreto the most testing of ties: away to Ulster champions Pegasus, writes Mary Hannigan. Both Munster representatives in the competition, Cork Harlequins and Catholic Institute, must also travel north, having been paired with Ards and Ballymoney respectively.

The round features two all-Leinster ties (Corinthian v Hermes and Old Alexandra v Pembroke Wanderers), the hope being that come January 22nd pitches around the country will be playable, unlike at the weekend.

Irish Senior Cup – Second round draw: Ards v Cork Harlequins; Ballymoney v Catholic Institute; Belfast Harlequins v UCD; Corinthian v Hermes; Pegasus v Loreto; Ulster Elks v Armagh; Glenanne v Lurgan; Old Alexandra v Pembroke Wanderers. Ties to be played January 22nd.

Twomey finishes fifth in Paris

EQUESTRIAN: Billy Twomey finished fifth in yesterday’s lucrative Paris Gucci Masters Grand Prix having been first to go in the 11-horse jump-off, writes Margie McLoone. Riding the 13-year-old chestnut mare Tinka’s Serenade, which he owns in partnership with Sue Davies, Cork-born Twomey was clear in 35.06, a time which was immediately bettered by the USA’s Lauren Hough on Quick Study (34.24).

Germany’s Christian Ahlmann went to the top of the rankings when Taloubet Z left all the poles intact in 33.59 and, although he couldn’t topple the leader, Simon Delestre, in front of his home crowd, moved ahead of Hough when Napoli du Ry stopped the clock on 33.82.

Last to go and with the advantage of having watched his 10 rivals, Germany’s Marco Kutscher recorded a brilliant clear in 33.53 on Cash 63 to claim the first prize of €75,000 with Twomey picking up €24,000 for his efforts.

Burns wins on points

BOXING: Scotland’s Ricky Burns made a successful first defence of his WBO super-featherweight title against Andreas Evensen at the Braehead Arena on Saturday night but was made to work hard for his win by the tough little challenger. The Colombian-born Norwegian was on the canvas within seconds and it looked like being an easy night’s work for the champion. However, after 12 pulsating rounds the judges scored in favour of Burns.

UCD advance to the last four

BASKETBALL: UCD Marian head coach, Fran Ryan, praised Dan James and Niall Meany as his side reached the semi-final of the National Cup after a convincing 81-65 win over DCU Saints in the Greendale Arena. The Saints started brightly, leading 17-13 at the end of the first quarter, before Dan James contributed 13 points in the second quarter to help UCD to a 38-31 advantage at half-time.

UCD’s lead was stretched to 14 points by the end of the third quarter before an exhibition from the free throw line in the final quarter saw no way back for DCU.

“Dan James was absolutely super,” said Ryan. “He missed a few games through injury but it looks like he is over that now. Dan back is a big boost for us recently. Niall Meany our captain also had a great game. His spirit and his ability to keep playing to our system was another big factor.”

Troicki seals first Davis Cup title for Serbia

TENNIS:Serbia celebrated their first Davis Cup title after Viktor Troicki thrashed France’s Michael Llodra to secure a memorable 3-2 victory in Belgrade yesterday.

Chants of “Viktor” and “Serbia” reverberated around the 17,000- capacity venue as Troicki, a late swap for the deciding rubber, won 6-2, 6-2, 6-3.

Jubilant scenes followed Troicki’s perfect backhand pass on matchpoint as his team-mates swamped the 24-year-old before the players sat down to have their heads shaved – a vow they made after their semi-final victory.

Even Niki Pilic got the razor treatment after he became the first person to coach three different nations to the Davis Cup title, having also achieved it with Germany and Croatia.

Serbia begun the day 2-1 in arrears against the nine-times champions after losing the doubles rubber on Saturday, but first Djokovic pummelled Gael Monfils 6-2, 6-2, 6-4 to level the tie before Troicki finished the job.