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Squad score good on German front Devaney doubles up in title hunt Bergin and Hoey book Winter place Spiddal set for first overdue slalom Murphy and Kacsandi top rankings

HANDBALL: An Irish Olympic handball squad of 15 has returned from a memorable three-match trip to Lubeck in Germany with a win and a draw to their credit.

Included in the squad were members of the Irish team that competed in the European Challenge Trophy last October, as well as up and coming junior players.

In their first match against German League Division 2 team Bad Schwartau Bundesliga, the Irish struggled, but did well to hold the eventual score to 20-41.

Next up was the Gettorfer third team and the Irish came out on top, with the final score at 3-22. The following day the boys in green drew 37-37 with the Gettorfer first team, with over 200 watching the game, including the local mayor.

A week earlier, a development team had played four tough matches in Ghent Belgium.

* The re-scheduled trials for the U-17 boys and girls national Olympic handball squads take place next Sunday January 24 at St Colomba's College, Whitechurch, Rathfarnham (2-6.0). Details: 01-6251165.



Devaney doubles up in title hunt

SNOOKER: Jason Devaney won both the National U-18 snooker title and the U-19 ranking tournament held in Caesar's Palace, Galway.

In the U-19 event, Devaney was pushed hard in the quarter-finals by Wayne Doyle, only winning 3-2, but went on to beat Sean Conway 3-1 in the semi-finals and David Cassidy 3-1 in the final.

Taking place on Saturday in Carlow's Ivy Rooms is the first round of the annual Stars of the Future tournament.



Bergin and Hoey book Winter place

BOBSLEIGH: After finishing 20th at the World Cup in St Moritz Switzerland last weekend, the Irish women's bobsleigh team of Claire Bergin and Aoife Hoey have booked their places at next month's Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

For the team, it was third time lucky -- they missed out by a single place in both 2002 and 2006. It will be the first time Ireland has been represented in the women's bobsleigh, although men's teams competed in 1992, 1998 and 2002. Also qualifying for the team last weekend was skeleton slider Pat Shannon, who finished 17th and 18th at Intercontinental Cup races in Calgary, Canada last weekend.

Still hoping to be selected are Alpine skiers Shane O'Connor and Kirsty McGarry and rower turned cross-country skier, Paul Griffin.



Spiddal set for first overdue slalom

CANOEING: For the first time in over a decade, a slalom canoeing event will take place next Sunday on the Boluisce river, in Spiddal, Co Galway (11.30). Boluisce is a great natural slalom site and water levels shouldn't be a problem.

Just published are the final 2009 world slalom rankings, with five Irish paddlers in the men's K1 list. Highest ranked is Eoin Rheinish at 23rd, followed by Ciaran Heurteau 60th, Neil Caffrey 82nd, Eamon Rheinsish 170th and Patrick Hynes 173rd.

A total of 445 paddlers from all over the world were ranked. In women's K1, Hannah Craig is ranked 46th, followed by Helen Barnes 76th and Aisling Conlon 123rd.



Murphy and Kacsandi top rankings

TABLE TENNIS: Dubliner John Murphy, following his Ulster Table Tennis Open win, remains top of the most recent Butterfly Senior National Rankings list, ahead of Paul McCreery and Sam Hanley.

Rita Kacsandi remains top of the women's list, with Amanda Mogey a close second and Claire Nelson third.

All could change following this weekend's Stiga Munster Open in Gurranabraher, Cork, where a generous prize fund, including €500 to the men's winner, will ensure a top class entry.