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In brief: Olympic hope for Coyle after Ireland's first final

MODERN PENTATHLON: Natalya Coyle became the first Irish pentathlete ever to make the final of a World Cup at the opening event of the year in Palm Springs, USA.

Coyle (right), a 20-year-old student at Trinity, boosted her chances of qualifying for London 2012 when she finished 21st overall.

She had qualified for the final after placing 14th in the semi-finals, thanks to a strong finish in the combined running and shooting event.

Arthur Lanigan O'Keeffe and Eanna Bailey finished 14th and 20th in their semi-finals and failed to advance. The second World Cup takes place in Sicily from April 14.

Locally the first ever swim-run biathlon nationals take place in Mallow on March 26, with all ages welcome. See www.mcashman.com/biathlon.



Taylor and Williamson in squad

RUGBY LEAGUE: With the Regional Student Rugby League Finals taking place in Widnes on March 26/27, training begins at Portarlington RFC this weekend, with 27 players selected to attend. This number will be cut to 20 by head coach Nicky Howard. Six spaces remain open for players currently on the injury list.

Joe Taylor, capped three times during Ireland's Alitalia European Cup campaign, and Darragh Williamson, who missed just one 'A' international last season, are included.



Givan's on form for Butterfly

TABLE TENNIS: Irish No1 Asley Givan warmed up for this weekend's Butterfly National Championships at the Alsaa, by beating Ballincollig's Edel O'Reilly 3-1 to win the revived Connacht Junior Open in Castlebar last week.

UCD's Sam Logue controlled the men's final from the off to beat Ballincollig's Declan O'Brien. Eastpoint clubmates, Ryan Farrell and Conor Beades shared third place.

Farrell won the cadet title, beating Club Donic's Conor Mullally 3-1 in the final. Eastpoint's Katie McGlone defeated Glenburn's Emma Ludlow in the cadet girls' decider.

HOCKEY: Monkstown, who beat Instonians on a golden goal, are the only Leinster club left in the Men's Irish Senior Hockey Cup. They play Banbridge in next month's semi-finals. Last year's champions Glenanne went out in the second round, while Pembroke Wanderers, winners in 2008 and 2009, made a shock exit in the opening round. Pembroke do top their pool in the Irish League with two rounds remaining. They play Banbridge next weekend and Monkstown on March 19. In the women's league, UCD and Railway Union are unbeaten while Hermes and Loreto still have a chance of making the semi-finals and final.

VOLLEYBALL: Three rounds remain in volleyball's premiership, with unbeaten Aer Lingus certain to retain their women's title. They have lost just one set all season.

Match of the weekend sees Santry and DVC, who are tied on second place, facing each other. Santry recently lost in five sets to DVC in the Association Cup.

Ballymum Patriots could still snatch the men's title, but they must beat both Aer Lingus and the Jets over the next two weekends and hope that table toppers Munster Thunder lose at least one of their remaining three matches.

SNOOKER: Ken Doherty, Dennis Taylor, Aonghus McAnally, Ronnie Whelan, Brian Ormond, Risteárd Cooper and others will play at a special charity snooker night at the Helix, DCU on Tuesday March 15 in aid of Irish Autism Action.

A day later, world class cue men from all over the world will line out in the PTC Grand Final also at the Helix, with the final on March 20. Info Helix box office.