Lunchtime Sports Update

RUGBY

Leinster have confirmed Robbie Henshaw is available for Saturday’s Champions Cup semi final against Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium

The Ireland centre dislocated his shoulder during the Six Nations win over Italy in February, but he has returned to full training following a quicker than expected recovery.


Jack Conan is hoping to train this week following a knee injury, but doubts remain over Sean O’Brien, Luke McGrath and Rhys Ruddock.

They are facing further assessment on shoulder, ankle and hamstring issues.

SOCCER

Liam Kelly has said “personal reasons” were behind his decision to turn down a call-up from the Republic of Ireland.

The Reading midfielder was among those included in the provisional squad for last month’s friendly with Turkey.

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill said the English born player informed him via text message that he wanted to keep his options open.

Kelly told the Reading Chronicle “It had nothing to do about feeling English or Irish”.

GOLF

Paul Dunne has moved up 8 places in the latest Golf World Rankings.

The Wicklow man has climbed to the World Number 68 after finishing runner up at the Spanish Open in Madrid yesterday.

He led the tournament heading into the final round, but finished two shots behind the winner Jon Rahm.

BADMINTON

It was hardly the opening match which he would have wanted but a clash against the reigning world champion in the Short Stature 6 class of the Dubai Para-Badminton International (12-15 April), but such a draw becomes second nature for the two-time World and European champion Niall McVeigh as he continues his build-up to the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo. Niall also received carding from Sport Ireland not long before heading to this event.

Niall is sometimes a relatively slow starter and he never really recovered from going 5-2 down in the opening set to England’s Jack Shephard who was seeded No1 and had lifted the coveted World title in November overcoming his training partner Krysten Coombs.

Niall fought back and seemed poised to launch a challenge in the second half of the first set from 11-7 in arrears at the interval. However, it was Shephard who was to race to the opening set 21-13 and found it difficult to get off the mark in the second as the top seed took control.

Typically though Niall responded to dominate his second match in Group A with a straightforward two-set win over Sunil Pradhan (India), a victory which was to seal his place in the quarter-final, though facing your doubles partner is hardly the preparation for a key doubles match either.

Niall, however, could hardly have got off to a more difficult start against Didin Taresoh for after taking a 5-1 lead it was his opponent who was to take control and raced to the opening set before McVeigh settled down into the type of consistency he has been showing of late.

In the second he was never out of contention from drawing level at one set all, only to see Taresoh snatch the set 25-23 after McVeigh held a one-point advantage at 21-20 and again at 23-22.

Taresoh and McVeigh were to get their men’s doubles bid off to a fine start with a consummate 21-3 21-10 victory over Gagandeep Grewal and Hector Tunque in Group B only to lose to the No2 seeds Man Kai Chu and Chun Yim Wong in straight sets.

A bronze medal in the men’s doubles will, however, be a welcome addition to his haul of medals as he looks forward to a busy schedule of competition in the next twelve months with the 4th Turkish International getting underway early next month and with his victor, Taresoh having knocked out the No2 seeded Krysten Coombs 21-18 in the decider and taken the eventual champion Shephard to 21-7 24-22 in the final then the Irish No1 need not be despondent in any way.

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