SNOOKER: Ex-pro Michael Judge won his second Irish snooker ranking tournament of the season when he beat David Morris in the final of the Irish Masters at Celbridge Snooker Club.
In a superb match, Judge raced to a 3-0 lead but was overtaken when Morris quickly reeled off the next four to take a 3-4 lead. When Judge then took the eighth game it was all donw to a ninth frame decider. An early 51 break saw Morris on target for a second consecutive victory in the series, but both players then fluffed a few chances and it was left to Judge to clear the colours for a narrow 5-4 victory. In the semi-finals, Morris beat current Irish No 1 David Hogan, while Judge got the better of Robert Murphy. Highest break was a 122 for Judge in his quarter-final with James Fennessy. Hogan remains top of the rankings with 580 points, while Josh Boileau and Robert Murphy are now tied on 480 points. In the closest season for some years, Davey Morris on 450 and Michael Judge on 420 still have plenty of time to make up ground.
SKIING: With the Sochi Winter Olympics only a year away, a team of four Irish downhill skiers is in Brasov, Romania for the European Winter Youth Olympics starting tomorrow (Sun)
Cormac Comerford, a student at Newpark in Blackrock, is based at Kilternan and competed at the World Schools’ Ski championships in Italy last year.
Both Florence Bell and Luke Riddell are based in the UK and training in Italy. Bell represented Ireland at the inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games two years ago in Innsbruck.
Making her Ireland debut is Kristen Sweeney from Westport, Connecticut who has put in some strong runs at FIS events in the USA.
All four will compete in slalom and grand slalom. Team coach is is Diego Schmalzl.
MODERN PENTATHLON: Olympian Natalya Coyle narrowly missed out out on the medals when she finished fourth at modern pentathon’s Hungarian Indoor competition. With Arthur Lanigan-O’Keeffe 5th and Eanna Bailey 9th, Ireland had three finishers in the top ten. Five members of the development squad in action also produced encouraging displays. Kate Coleman Lenehan was 17th, Sive Brassil 19th, Naomi Mullins 21st, Tom O’Brien 38th and Conor Hillick 48th.
Coyle’s last competition was London Olympics, where she finished a creditable 9th. She started well in Hungary, beating 25 of her opponents in the fencing for seventh place and holding her own on the swim. With the show jumping, she moved up the leaderboard, starting the combined run/shoot event in equal 5th. Her focused shooting placed her in contention for a medal, but the gap to bronze proved slightly too great. It was still her highest place at an international competition to date.
In his first season as a senior, an error on the run lost Lanigan-O’Keeffe second place and a possible medal.
At home, a second Spring Series competition takes place tomorrow in Swords.
FENCING: Ido Ajzenstadt of the Ashkelon club, who has a string of good international results to his credit, beat Salle Dublin’s Eamonn McGratttan to win the men’s epee at fencing’s East of Ireland Open. Pembroke’s Conor Nagle won the men’s foil, beating John Wyatt of UCD and Peter Brown from Belfast. In the sabre, Stephen Concannon of Salle Dublin came out on top. UCD dominated the women’s epee, with Naomi Mullins beating clubmate Sive Brassil in the final. Victoria Duxbury of Victoria won the foil title, getting the better of Anna Smith from Dublin University, while Maddie Siegmund of NUI Maynooth proved best at the sabre. The Irish National Championships take place at the end of March in Maynooth.
HOCKEY: After seeing off Loreto with a depleted squad last week, defending champions UCD face Railway Union this afternoon (Sat) in a match that coudl decide the Leinster women’s league. The teams are currently tied at the top ofo the tabel on 32 points apiece and a record of 13 played, two draws and one loss. UCD has a marginal advantage thanks to a better scoring average but all could change today. Equally close is the battle for third place, with Loreto and Old Alexandra on 27 points and Hermes a point adrift on 26.