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Paddlers prepare for Sprint Cup on Banana!

CANOEING: With a packed season approaching, sprint canoeists Jenny Egan (pictured) and Barry Watkins are training in Florida with an international squad including Finnish and Canadian paddlers. Looking after the group is former Irish coach Martin Hunter, also Egan's personal coach.

"We train every day on the Banana river -- yes, that's the name! -- or on a little canal off that if it's too choppy," says Egan. Nottingham on April 16/17 is the venue for the first of three World Sprint Cups. After that come European and World Sprint Championships, with London 2012 selection at stake.



Irish hoping for success off the bat

TABLE TENNIS: Top junior table tennis players from Britain and Ireland are in Limerick this weekend for the annual Junior and Cadet Six Nations Championships.

This year, Emma Ludlow, Hannah-Lynch Dawson and Katie McGlone make up the cadet girls competition, with tough opposition expected from England and Wales. England will provide the main opposition for the cadet boys' team of Ryan Farrell, Kevin Hutchinson and Conor Mullally and for a junior girls' teams team made up of Irish champion Ashley Givan along with Edel O'Reilly and Sarah Timlin.

Ashley Robinson, who leads the junior boys' team, has perhaps the best chance of taking an individual medal.



Wolf's at the door for Exiles trio

RUGBY LEAGUE: Three players from the Dublin City Exiles have made the Ireland Wolfhounds 'A' rugby league selection that takes on USA Tomahawks in Philadelphia next Saturday (Mar 19) for the Donnybrook Cup. Last time the sides met was in 2004 when the Tomahawks won 41-10. Ireland haven't beaten them since 1996.

Ireland Wolfhounds 'A' Squad: Simon Deevy (Athboy), Ross Bergin (Bristol Sonics), Paddy Barcoe (Carlow Crusaders), Adam Hughes, Alan Trenier, Brian Flanagan (all Dublin City Exiles), Joe Smith (Northampton Demons), Ashley Huck, Peter Howard (both Siddal ARLFC), Alan McNamara, Brendan Guilfoyle, Mark O'Neill, Mark Tuohy, Sean Carmody (All Treaty City Titans), John Bagnall (Tullamore Knights), Ben Moriarty, Jimmy Giblin (both West London Sharks).



Armagh next on Railway timetable

HOCKEY: Key match in this weekend's Irish Women's Hockey League round sees holders Railway Union facing Armagh, with the teams currently tied in second place behind UCD in Group B. Railway's squad includes Irish international players Alex Speers, Emma Smyth, Jean McDonnell, Julia O'Halloran and Nikki Evans. UCD travel to Cork where they face the Harlequins team they beat by a golden goal in the ESB Irish Senior Cup a few weeks ago.

On St Patrick's Day next Thursday, Railway play UCD in the Jacqui Potter Leinster Cup final at Grange Road, Dublin.



Walden ready for war with Wenbo

SNOOKER: Ricky Walden leads an elite list of players competing at next week's Players Tour Championship Grand Finals in the Helix, Dublin. Walden takes on China's Liang Wenbo in his opening match next Wednesday.

Other players in action on the opening day include former Grand Prix champion Marco Fu and former UK Champions Matthew Stevens and Stephen Maguire.



Evans dumped at very first hurdle

BADMINTON: Irish No1 Scott Evans went out in the opening round of the qualifiers for the All-Englands to Spanish player Pablo Abian. At the CAC Leinster Interclubs in Baldoyle, Wexford won four of the six classes on offer. In the senior class, they beat Louth and Laois.