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Saturday 22 September 2018

Rapid Rob is the world speed golf champion

A mix of youth and experience is battling it out at this weekend's Irish A Grade tournament in Baldoyle.

In the men's singles, No 1 seed Colin Watterson looks set to meet young Mark Brady, seeded No 2 in the final, although Brian Dignam and John Amond, the joint No 3/4 seeds, could cause an upset.

The in-form Sarah Boyle is top seed in the women's singles, with world masters doubles champion Pam Peard at No 2. Fionnuala McCourt and Ciara Dwyer are expected to make the semi-finals.

Watterson teams up with Ian Suffern for the men's doubles, with young guns Ryan Getty and Norman Lau their most likely opponents in the decider.

In the women's doubles, Pam Peard and Valerie Martin look set to battle it out with Megan Bredin and Moya Ryan for the title.

Louth Open finalists Willie Stevenson and Sylvia Campion are top seeds for the mixed doubles, with Brian Dignam and Rachel Boyle at No 2.

Play starts in Baldoyle Badminton Centre at 10am on Saturday with semi-finals and finals on Sunday.

Ben Duncan is the new All-Ireland sailing champion after an exciting seven-race regatta at Howth, which was restricted to one day because of the weather. After preliminary races in the morning, the top four crews progressed to a final series.

After the second race, Duncan had the championship in the bag. He went on to win two of the three races, placing second in the third to give him a total of five points.

In second place was Séafra Guilfoyle, who beat Duncan in the last race and finished on nine points. Guilfoyle was crewed by 11-year-old Dylan O'Grady, the youngest sailor in action.

Finishing third was Ian Matthews on 12 points.

Ireland's latest world champion is Rob Hogan who won the world speed golf title in Oregon, USA.

Hogan, a member of the Craughwell Athletics Club in Co Galway, finished a full six shots/ minutes clear of the field.

On the opening day of play, his score of 77 in 39.31 minutes was the fastest by almost five minutes, with his golf score the second lowest of the day. To put that in context, the shortest point-to-point distance for 18 holes on the course was over 6km.

Hogan held his nerve on the second day of play to take the title.

Among the also-rans was the renowned American athlete Bernard Lagat whose speed was not in question but whose golf let him down. He finished 25th and last.

Dylan Fitzgibbon has taken a first senior title in the 70kg class at the World Taekwon-Do Championships in Benidorm, Spain.

Fitzgibbon, 19, who runs the Elite Martial Arts Academy in Douglas, Cork, with his brother, John, won a European senior title earlier this year.

Play resumes in the premier league this weekend, with the unbeaten Naas Cobras currently topping the women's table.

Naas, a team that includes a number of Irish junior international players, beat defending champions Santry in their opening match, and also has victories over Tallaght Rockets and UCD in the bag. They face a tricky TCD today.

Tied in second are new team NUIG Alliance and DVC, who have one loss each. NUIG travel to UCD, while DVC face Tallaght Rockets.

In the men's Premiership, UCD and Ballymun Patriots remain unbeaten. UCD, who beat Aer Lingus last week, face NUIG today, while Ballymun play Garda.

Ireland goalkeeper David Harte is one of just 18 'keepers in line for a place in the lucrative Hero Hockey India League taking place from January next year.

Harte is one of 59 non-Indian players, including 27 Olympians, hoping to win a place on one of up to six league franchises, with 154 places on offer.

If he is picked for a team at an "auction" in Delhi on November 18, he could earn up to €75,000 for the one-month competition.

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