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Chloe Key to victory for Ireland

BADMINTON: Victory over Bulgaria saw Ireland qualifying for the European Mixed Badminton Championships in Belgium next March.

Only the winner of the three-nation tournament hosted by Ireland at Baldoyle would go forward and in the end it proved easier than expected. Bulgaria were seen as the biggest threat, but after comfortable victories over Norway and Slovakia, there was no stopping the Irish.

Key match proved to be the victory for Chloe Magee over the Bulgarian No 1 Petya Nedelcheva in the women's singles. This sealed the victory for Ireland after wins for Scott Evans in the men's singles and Sam and Chloe Magee in the mixed doubles.

OLYMPIC HANDBALL: The sport of Olympic handball in Ireland is in shock after the death of founder of IOHA founder Lindsay Pennycook.

Lindsay arrived in Ireland from his native Glasgow to teach PE at Tallaght Community School in 1973. He was a considerable athlete; a champion high hurdler, as well as goalkeeper with the British handball team.

With the help of goals made up in the Tallaght school workshop, he soon got his new pupils playing handball with him. From that sprang the Irish Olympic Handball Association, an Irish international team and an enduring series of juvenile leagues in Tallaght and other disadvantaged areas - perhaps his greatest achievement.

"Lindsay was a devoted father and husband, a wonderful teacher and great human being. He left the world better than he found it and his legacy will live on," says his former pupil and lifelong friend Fintan Lyons, the current president of the IOHA.

HOCKEY: Qualification for Rio 2016 starts in February, and in preparation, the Irish men's hockey team will travel to South Africa for warm weather training in the New Year. Irish coach Ned Fulton is hoping to set up training matches with the Belgian and Dutch teams who will also be in South Africa at the time. With Rio just eighteen months away, the first step on the road to qualification will come at the World League Two tournament in Chula Vista, California. Ireland, world ranked No 15, is the top ranked nation for the tournament.

VOLLEYBALL: A stunning victory for Tallaght Rockets over NUIG Galway means that Naas is now the only unbeaten team in the women's premier volleyball division. NUIG had notched up victories over defending champion DVC, as well as UCD and Newbridge Wildcats since the start of the season. Naas, meanwhile, looked vulnerable early in their match with Newbridge Wildcats, but came back from 1-2 down to win 3-2. A key match comes up next Saturday when Naas host NUIG.

SNOOKER: Brendan O'Donoghue beat Rodney Goggins 4-3 in a classic finale to snooker's second senior ranking tournament in Carlow. On his way to the final, O'Donoghue beat former pro Michael Judge and the No 2 seed Robert Murphy. Goggins had an easier passage, beating Benny O'Brien in the semi-finals.