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High Hopes for Irish Shuttlers

BADMINTON: Scott Evans and Chloe Magee lead the Irish team at next weekend's qualifying tournaments for the new-look European badminton team championships at Baldoyle Badminton Centre.

Only the winner of the tournament gets through to the finals in Belgium next February, and Ireland, ranked No 6 of the 28 in contention, have a great chance.

They are drawn against Norway, Slovakia and Bulgaria, with Bulgaria posing the biggest threat. The team is led by Petya Nedelcheva, who beat Chloe Magee at the 2014 European Men and Women's Team Championships.

Magee will play singles as well as mixed doubles with her brother Sam, while Scott Evans leads the men's team. Opening match of the tournament sees Ireland face Norway next Friday (1.0).

Ireland - Men: S Evans, S Magee, J Magee, C Chambers, M Brady; Women: C Magee, S Chambers, R Darragh, S Boyle, J King.

SNOOKER: Rodney Goggins is top seed for the second men's ranking tournament of the snooker season at the Ivy Rooms, Carlow next weekend. Goggins won the opening tournament of the season in Letterkenny.

Sandra Bryan beat Annette Newman to win the first RILSA women's ranking event of the season at Joey's Snooker Club, Dublin. In the intermediate final, Ronda Sheldreck beat Englentina Doda.

TABLE TENNIS: After the opening round of matches in the Junior British League, the Irish girls team of Katie McGlone, Kate Whelan and Rebecca Finn are in fourth position They won two of their five matches and drew a third. The boys' team of Zak Wilson, Tom Davis and Alan Walsh are in sixth position. Highlight of this weekend's table tennis is the Leinster Grand Prix in DCU.

TRIATHLON: Ireland's Eimear Mullen continued her winning ways in Sardinia with victory in the Challenge Forte Village Half DistanceTriathlon. Mullen was behind after the 1.9km swim, but won the event with a strong showing on the 90km cycle and the second fastest run of the day in the half marathon. Her time was 4 hours 27 minutes 47 seconds. Behind her, Jennifer Duffy 7th, Susanna Murphy 9th and Eimear Fitzmaurice 12th all broke five hours. Kevin Thornton was 8th in the men's race in 4 hrs 6 mins.

HOCKEY: Three times women's champions Railway Union hope to get Irish Hockey League ambitions back on track when they host Lurgan in today's second round of matches.

In the opening round, Railway lost to Hermes, who then beat them again eleven days later in the Leinster League. Hermes, currently top of the Leinster table, have an away fixture against Belfast side Pegasus. Defending champions UCD play Cork Harlequins in Belfield.

In the men's competition, Monkstown, the champions in 2013 and 2014, are at home to Instonians. The league takes place over five rounds with the top four teams qualifying for the grand finals weekend next April.