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Katie on course for another gold

BOXING: Katie Taylor has guaranteed herself at least a bronze medal as she continues her quest for a fifth consecutive European Championship gold.

The Bray native comfortably defeated Azerbaijan's Ayzanat Hajiyeva to book her place in the lightweight semi-finals tomorrow.

Hajiyeva was no match for Taylor who ran out a comfortable winner in a punishing 17-4 victory.

She will face Sweden's Helena Falk in tomorrow's semi, and if she does beat Falk, will meet either Russian captain Sofya Ochigava or Denista Eliseeva of Bulgaria in Saturday's final.

Meanwhile, there was disappointment for Ceire Smith who missed out on a medal after she was defeated by Poland's Sandra Drabi 24-9.

Ireland's third representative left in the tournament, Lauragh O'Neill (Paulstown), fighting in the 81kg category, lost to Tinea Naga (Hungary) 7-16.



Donald aims to cash in

GOLF: This week's PGA season-ending Disney Classic offers alluring incentives to every player in the field, but the most intriguing apply only to British world number one Luke Donald and American Webb Simpson.

Donald and Simpson will tee off in today's opening round at Lake Buena Vista in Florida in a head-to-head battle for the PGA Tour's money list title.

Simpson leads Donald by $363,029 going into the season finale, and organisers have added extra spice by pairing the two players together for the first two rounds.

"That was only the natural pairing, so I'm look forward to playing against him," said Donald.

"It will be nice to keep an eye on what he's doing. I'm here to win the money title, and I'm probably going to need to win (the tournament) to do that."



Cardinals claim opener

BASEBALL: The St Louis Cardinals beat the Texas Rangers 3-2 in a pitchers' duel in the opening game of the World Series.

After a league championship series dominated by the sluggers, pitching ruled game one of the autumn classic on a chilly night at Busch Stadium, as pinch hitter Allen Craig's run-scoring single in the sixth inning provided the winning margin for starting pitcher Chris Carpenter and a stingy bullpen.

Craig lashed a sixth-inning single down the right-field line that eluded Rangers right-fielder Nelson Cruz and allowed David Freese to trot home from third, breaking a 2-2 tie.

Game Two is this evening in St Louis, before the best-of-seven series shifts to Dallas for game three on Saturday.