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Busy Times for Irish Shuttlers

BADMINTON: While the Irish team plays in the European mixed qualifier at Baldoyle this weekend, the Leinster side is in Cheltenham for the first round of the English Intercounties. They play Yorkshire 2 and Leicestershire in two matches today and face Middlesex tomorrow.

At Baldoyle, Ireland play a critical match against Bulgaria tomorrow (3.0) after facing Slovakia this evening (6.0). Ireland must win both matches to qualify for the European Mixed Championships in Belgium next February.

TABLE TENNIS: Current Irish No1 Vladislavs Agurjanovs of Club Donic won the men's singles at the Leinster Grand Prix in DCU, where Butterfly ranking points were at stake.

Agurjanovs, aged 24, is a former Latvian international who came to Ireland in 2010.

He beat club-mate Tom Davis 3-1 in the quarter-finals and then got the better of Ryan Farrell in a closely-fought semi-final.

In the final, he played Zak Wilson and although the younger played took a set, Agurjanovs proved too strong.

Chloe O'Halloran of Leeside, aged 15, won her first senior title when she beat Sarah Timlin in the women's final.

TRIATHLON: Eimear Mullan, a long-distance specialist from Portstewart, was named Triathlete of the Year at the annual Triathlon Ireland Awards in Dun Laoghaire.

Mullan had a sensational year with victories at Challenge Rimini, Ironman UK 70.3, Embrunman, Ironman Mallorca and Challenge Sardinia. She also helped Northern Ireland to sixth place in the Commonwealth Games Mixed Team Relay.

She started racing professionally in 2011 and turned professional in 2013.

FISHING: Former World Cup winner Julie Gerry from lived up to her considerable reputation in fly fishing with a comprehensive win at last weekend's three-day catch-and-release boat competition on Knockaderry Reservoir in Kilmeaden, Co Waterford.

On finals day, the Maynooth woman completed a catch of six trout.

Since winning the World Cup in 2004, Gerry has added countless other titles to her collection and captained the Irish team that won the 2013 Ladies Fly Fishing International.

HOCKEY: Ireland's clean sweep of victories over Scotland earlier this week stretched the national women's team winning run to seven games.

That's good news with the team's Olympic qualifying campaign beginning next March at the World League.

In their final 4-0 victory over Scotland, Áine Connery scored two goals with one apiece for Deirdre Duke and Anna O'Flanagan.

With Rio 2016 in their sights, the Irish women have played 35 test matches this year.

VOLLEYBALL: Defending league champions DVC got their women's title defence back on track when they came from two sets down to beat Tallaght Rockets 3-2. NUIG currently tops the table on set-difference from Naas. DVC have a home match against old rivals Santry tomorrow, while Naas play Newbridge Wildcats away.

In the men's league, only Ballymun Patriots remain unbeaten.


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