Morning Sports Update

GAELIC GAMES

There’s two big Super 8 clashes down for decision today as the first phase of the All-Ireland quarter finals continue.

At 2-o’clock Donegal welcome Meath to Ballybofey.

The sides met twice in the National League earlier this year, with Declan Bonner’s side winning on both occasions.

Then at 4-o’clock it’s all eyes on Killarney as Kerry entertain Mayo.

It’s a repeat of Division 1 League final which Mayo won at the end of March.

Kerry have not been beaten though in Killarney since 1995.

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There’s a double-header at Croke Park this afternoon meanwhile as the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship quarter-finals take place.

First up, it’s Kilkenny versus Cork as the sides meet for the 29th time in the championship.

Kilkenny will be hoping to put their Leinster final loss to Wexford behind them while Cork come into the tie off the back of a massive 23 point win over Westmeath last weekend.

9-time All-Ireland winner with the Cats Tommy Walsh is expecting a high-scoring, intense battle

At 4-o’clock then Laois will hope to continue their fairytale summer as they aim to reach the last four, standing in their way though is Liam Sheedy’s Tipperary.

Cork, Waterford and Tipperary all secured their progression to the knockout stages of the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland Senior Camogie Championship when they secured home wins at the expense of Meath, Clare and Dublin respectively.

Reigning champions Cork maintained their one hundred percent record when they defeated Meath in Páirc Uí Rinn. The Rebelettes wasted no time in hitting the ground running against Meath, as they soon took control of the game despite conceding the first point to Kristina Troy. They moved 0-8 to 0-3 clear before two goals in four minutes, the first from Ciara McCarthy and the second from Katelynn Hickey, left Meath with a mountain to climb.

Laura Hayes and Cliona Healy were on target with frees to push the gap out to 2-11 to 0-3 at half-time, and while the Royals did manage a goal of their own three minutes in to the second half through Grace Coleman, their attacking forays were few and far between from then on and Cork restricted to them to two further points in the second half.

Manager Paudie Murray went deep into his panel for this game, using only a handful of players who would normally be considered frontline starters, and the hunger to catch the eye of the manager was clear as a young team kept piling on the scores. A third goal from Linda Collins in the 53rd minute sealed what was an emphatic 3-22 to 1-5 victory.

Tipperary will face Cork next week in good form after they sealed their place in the knockout stages, edging out Dublin by five points in a hard-fought encounter at The Ragg. In a game where every score was hard-earned, Niamh Treacy put Tipp in front after 30 seconds but then Dublin pushed 0-2 to 0-1 ahead after ten minutes of action. It could have been much more, after Caoimhe Burke pulled down Sinéad Wylde for a penalty, but the Dublin attacker – who was in superb form from frees throughout most of the game – pulled her effort wide of the post.

Tipperary edged in front and two monster scores from Mary Ryan from midfield helped them to lead by 0-7 to 0-4 at half time. They struck another point before the crucial score after 40 minutes set them on a winning path. Grace O’Brien turned over a short Dublin puckout and the ball was worked to Eilish McDonald for the only goal of the game.

Late points from Laura Twomey and Gráinne Quinn kept Dublin it but Cáit Devane finished with 0-5 and McDonald with 1-2 for Tipp, while Caoimhe Burke made a superb late save to deny Wylde and preserve a 1-11 to 0-9 win for the Premier women.

Finally Waterford maintained their recent momentum with a four-point victory against a determined Clare side at Walsh Park. Beth Carton’s freetaking helped the Déise open up a 0-5 to 0-3 advantage after 20 minutes. The sides shared the next four points before a goal by Carton put Waterford 1-7 to 0-5 ahead, the All-Star capitalising on some good build-up play by Sarah Lacey and Orla Hickey. A Chloe Morey free helped the Banner close the gap to four points at the break.

Orlaith Duggan reduced the deficit further after half time but a Lacey goal after an assist by Carton helped Waterford grab their second goal. Clare hit a purple patch and fired over five points in a row including a sensational long-range effort from Inagh-Kilnamona’s Clare Hehir. This left just a goal separating the sides entering injury time. Waterford calmly kept about their work however and a Fiona Morrissey score settled the home supporters’ nerves and made sure of knockout hurling for the Déise women later this summer.

TENNIS

World number one and two meet on Centre Court at 2-o’clock this afternoon as defending champion Novak Djokovic and eight time winner Roger Federer contest the men’s Wimbledon final.

It’l be the pair’s 48th encounter. 32-year-old Djokovic has won 25 times while Federer, who’s five years his senior, has enjoyed victory on 22 ocassions.

GOLF

Rory McIlroy is 11-under-par, 9 shots off the lead heading into the final day of the Scottish Open.

Austria’s Bernd Wiesberger is the man to catch, he’s on 20-under-par, 2 clear of the chasing pack.

7 birdies yesterday saw him card a 6-under-par second round of 65.

ROWING

The Rowing World Cup Finals take place in Rotterdam this morning.

Fintan McCarthy and Paul O’Donovan will compete in the Lightweight Men’s Double Sculls before Monika Dukarska and Aileen Crowley contest the Women’s Pair just after 10.

Philip Doyle and Ronan Byrne then represent Ireland in the Men’s Double Sculls just after 11-o’clock.

RUGBY

Ireland Women’s 7s will take on England this morning in the quarter-final of the Rugby Europe Olympic Qualifier in Kazan after finishing runners-up in their pool.

At 10-to-11 then the Men’s side take on Germany as they aim to keep their quest to qualify for Tokoyo 2020 alive.

CRICKET

The Cricket World Cup final takes place at Lord’s this morning where hosts England take on New Zealand.

England have never won the tournameny in its 44 year history.

BASKETBALL

A stunning combined 40-point display from Katie Williamson and Abby Flynn helped drive Ireland to a superb 61-52 point win over Switzerland in their 9-12 place classification game at the FIBA U18 Women’s European Championship Division B.

It wasn’t just on the offensive end that they shone, with Flynn in particular finishing with a 20 point game, along with nine rebounds, seven assists and four steals, while Debbie Ogayemi also stood out with a 13-point game, five rebounds, two assists and three steals. The win now sees Ireland into the 9-10th place classification game tomorrow [Sunday] against old foes, Slovakia, who will be on the hunt for revenge after losing to Ireland in a thriller in the group stages.

This evening’s win was by no means easy for the women in green though as, despite the good performances from Flynn, Williamson and Ogayemi, the game was in the melting pot throughout. Ireland had the better of the opening exchanges, dominating the opening quarter to lead 16-8. Switzerland were merely finding their feet though, and within the opening six minutes of the second quarter, had kept Ireland off the scoreboard and had taken the lead 19-16. Scores from Flynn, Ogayemi and Flynn again edged Ireland back in front, but Switzerland kept right in it and Ireland led by just four at the half (27-23).

A nervy third quarter followed, with Switzerland’s Ymke Brouwer causing trouble for the Irish defense and Camila Martinez knocking down some big threes. The size of the Swiss under the boards was also causing havoc for the Irish inside, and the lead changed four times in the period. A strong finish to the quarter from Katie Walshe and Williamson though saw Ireland maintain their four-point cushion, 45-41 going into the last. Despite huge pressure from the Swiss in the fourth, particularly under the boards, the Irish were not to be deterred. Flynn and Williamson dominated and by the midway point, had stretched the lead out to 10 points – and they didn’t look back from there, running out 61-52 point winners in the end.

Speaking afterwards, assistant coach Karl Kilbride said: “We’re delighted with the result, and happy with the performance. We put in trojan work there today, the girls worked incredibly hard. We took away their main threats, we had a great start to the game and got them in foul trouble early. We won all of the hustle… We’ve a big game against Slovakia now. They’ve been shooting the ball really well. It’ll come down to the finest of margins, and hopefully we’ll get some rest and recovery. Wins are hard to come by in Europe, we have five of them now and our next goal is a sixth.”

Over in Portugal meanwhile, the Ireland Under 20 men lost out 85-61 to Iceland in their second group game at the FIBA U20 Men’s European Championship Division B. A much improved performance from the Irish in this afternoon’s game saw them challenge Iceland at every turn, with Darragh O’Sullivan and Tadhg Crowley dominating the early proceedings, while good scores from Eoin McCann and Cillian O’Driscoll kept the scoring ticking over. Iceland went on a run towards the end of the first though, and led 27-11 at the end of the quarter.

A more evenly matched second quarter followed, with Crowley again to the fore for Ireland. Conor Liston was impressive dictating play from the top of the key, and the Irish were unlucky to see some of their shots fail to drop as they pushed Iceland hard. Dagger three-pointers at the other end kept Iceland in control though, and they led 46-27 at the half.

A strong second half from the Irish followed, with impressive displays from O’Sullivan, Liston and James Gormley. Iceland ran the floor well in stages through the third quarter though and maintained their cushion going into the last, 66-41. A super fourth quarter from the Irish saw them win the quarter thanks to brilliant shooting from Finn Hughes, Gormley, Kris Arcilla and O’Driscoll to put the pressure back on Iceland. They rallied once more at the other end with some killer shots from the three-point line, and despite a fantastic display from the Irish, the work had already been done by Iceland and they won out 85-61 in the end.

Speaking afterwards, assistant coach John Finn stated: “We didn’t play well in the first half, but in the second half we showed that Irish spirit. The second half was basically almost level. We showed in that half that we’re capable of playing with these teams, but we have to learn much quicker than we have been learning, and hopefully tomorrow we’ll be able to stay with the team for the whole game.”

The Ireland U20 men now face Hungary in their third group game at 8.30pm Irish time.

RACING

Aidan O’Brien will bid to complete the full set of Group races in Ireland at Fairyhouse on Sunday when saddling three runners in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Brownstown Stakes.

The Group 3 for fillies and mares is the only Group race in Ireland that the master of Ballydoyle hasn’t won, and this year he relies on Fire Fly, Gossamer Wings and I Remember You to cap off his CV of Irish Group races.

There is a strong British challenge in the race, headed by Cork-raised but Yorkshire-based trainer David O’Meara’s Perfection, though the locally-trained Black Magic Woman is no back number for trainer Jack Davison.

Elsewhere on the card, Curragh trainer Ken Condon will bid to repeat last weekend’s Naas heroics with Aleef, while Golden, County Tipperary handler Fozzy Stack will be hoping that his Crafty Hugo can put his best foot forward at the Meath track, after catching the eye the last twice at Limerick.

Racing gets underway at Fairyhouse at 1.30pm and the going is currently good-to-firm.