Barbarians too strong for Ireland

first_img The Leinster loosehead was sin-binned by referee Greg Garner after a video review in the first half of Ireland’s non-cap international clash at Thomond Park. Ireland slumped to defeat in Limerick with Alex Cuthbert claiming two tries and Leinster full-back Zane Kirchner landing the Barbarians’ killer blow over many of his club-mates. Craig Gilroy and the returning Chris Henry claimed scores for a scrappy Ireland outfit. Paddy Jackson’s late converted try handed Ireland a sniff of victory, but the BaaBaas held out. Fly-half Ian Madigan escaped censure for stamping on Georgia lock Mikautadze when a maul collapsed in the 32nd minute, but McGrath was handed a yellow card for his actions at the same breakdown. The 25-year-old front-rower could face further retrospective punishment, however, and any eventual sanction could threaten his World Cup participation. France lock Pascal Pape was handed a 10-week ban for kneeing Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip in the back during this year’s RBS 6 Nations. Any suspension for McGrath would not start until Ireland’s World Cup warm-up games in August. There is no suggestion McGrath’s actions equate to those of Pape, but a ban of four or more weeks would leave his World Cup participation in doubt. Ireland boss Joe Schmidt showed his immediate feelings on the matter by choosing not to send McGrath back into the fray at the end of his 10-minute sin-bin. While the BaaBaas entertained, Ireland were meant to be experimenting, blooding the young and untested and ushering experienced men requiring matches back towards full steam. Jack McGrath could be facing a ban to jeopardise his World Cup participation after kneeing lock Konstantin Mikautadze in the back during Ireland’s 22-21 defeat to the Barbarians. Uncapped centre Colm O’Shea, with just four Leinster appearances to his name, struggled but never folded, while flanker Henry impressed in his first international outing since November. The Ulster openside scragged and scrapped at every breakdown, exhibiting all the tenacity that drove him into Ireland’s starting side before his mini-stroke in the autumn. The 30-year-old even claimed a second-half try, and must surely have done enough in Limerick to convince head coach Schmidt he is ready for the World Cup. The Barbarians launched into free-spirited custom from the off, Wales wing Cuthbert coasting home after Ireland debutant O’Shea drifted too far infield. Ireland levelled the scores through Craig Gilroy’s smart finish, the Ulster wing cutting a tight line off a five-metre scrum. Madigan’s conversion handed Schmidt’s men a two-point lead, but probe as they might, Ireland could not increase that advantage before the break. McGrath’s yellow card stymied solid build-up at the death of the half, allowing the BaaBaas some respite, though the world-famous invitational outfit did suffer a sin-binning of their own. Prop Roberto Tejerizo was given his short-term marching orders at the end of the half, for persistent scrum infringement. The Barbarians reclaimed the lead after the turnaround, former All Blacks wizard Joe Rokocoko always to the fore with a flick here and a trick there. Leinster’s Zane Kirchner outsmarted O’Shea before chipping the cover to slide home in style. Jimmy Gopperth converted before slotting a penalty – with the crowd booing the pragmatism – to set the BaaBaas 15-7 to the good. Ireland rallied through Henry’s driving-maul score, but even with Madigan’s conversion still trailed by a point. The Barbarians fired another riposte, Cuthbert burrowing home with a good flanker impression for his second score of the night. Ireland pulled a last-gasp try out of the hat thanks to replacement fly-half Paddy Jackson, and Madigan slotted the drop-goal conversion to allow the game to restart. Ireland again trailed by one point, with the game sliding into its final minute as the Barbarians restarted the action. The BaaBaas were able to run out the clock, however, and claim a victory as much morale-boosting for their part as galling for Ireland. Press Associationlast_img read more

Former Syracuse forward Heather Schwarz signs with Boston Pride

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ Former Syracuse forward Heather Schwarz has signed with the Boston Pride of the National Women’s Hockey League, per a press release from SU Athletics.Schwarz joins fellow Orange alumnae Jessica Sibley and Jacquie Greco in the NWHL. Schwarz and Sibley played their entire SU careers together before graduating last spring.“Not only do I get to continue playing hockey as a professional,” Schwarz said in a press release, “but being in a city like Boston is very exciting.”By the end of her SU career, Schwarz tallied 22 goals and 29 assists in 141 games for the Orange. She is tied seventh all-time in most appearances. Schwarz scored 11 goals and had 10 assists her senior season.The Connecticut native has played in Boston before, with the Boston Shamrocks of the Junior Women’s Hockey League.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe Pride are one of four teams in the NWHL and opens the season against the New York Riveters on Oct. 28. Comments Published on September 5, 2017 at 7:56 pm Contact Andrew: aegraham@syr.edu | @A_E_Grahamlast_img read more

Guardiola says Aguero will decide own future

first_imgManchester, United Kingdom | AFP | Pep Guardiola said Sergio Aguero had earned the right to determine his own Manchester City future after the Argentinian striker scored a brace in a 4-0 demolition of Bournemouth.The build-up to Saturday’s contest was dogged by talk of Aguero’s supposed discontent at the Etihad Stadium as Guardiola continues to rotate his starting XI.Aguero, City’s all-time leading scorer, is reported to have held talks with club owner Khaldoon Al Mubarak, but he showed no signs of unhappiness against Bournemouth as he scored twice and set up a goal for Raheem Sterling.“I respect Sergio a lot, about all he has done and what he will do in the future,” said City manager Guardiola after the Premier League leaders’ 17th successive league win.“He is a legend. He will decide absolutely everything about his life and his future. I’m delighted to have him here with Gabriel (Jesus) and all the squad.“Aguero is a special player, a legend, and I am so happy when he plays good and he is scoring goals. I know the players who normally don’t play are upset, but all the team deserve to play.”Guardiola : Aguero will decide own futureAguero’s first goal, a clinically taken diving header after 27 minutes following a fine Fernandinho cross, was his 100th City goal at the Etihad.Sterling doubled City’s lead in the 53rd minute, thrashing a low effort home to end a challenging week that saw him racially abused at the club’s training ground last weekend by a man who was jailed for 16 weeks on Wednesday.The England forward appears to have shrugged off that incident and Guardiola believes he is getting better all the time.– Sterling ‘is loved’ – “With and without the ball he’s so aggressive and so intense. I like how clear it’s becoming — he knows when to dribble and when to pass,” said the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich coach.“Before there was a mistake, now he’s enjoying scoring goals. In the past it was a bit scary for him.“He’s loved in the locker room, he’s a young player and important for the national team. He must maintain that level.”After Sterling’s goal, Bournemouth could no longer contain City and the home side began to maraud forward.Aguero nodded home his second header of the match before substitute Danilo ruthlessly finished from 12 yards out with five minutes remaining.Sterling is lovedAlthough they slipped into the relegation zone, Bournemouth showed enough intent and commitment to suggest they can avoid the drop.“City are an outstanding team, very difficult to play against and we came with a game plan to stay in the game then maybe have a go,” said beaten manager Eddie Howe.“For long periods we were good. The (first) goal came from our mistake, which was disappointing, but the rest of the half was OK. The second goal was the killer. We had another go, but it was difficult.”Howe added: “We try to approach every game looking to win, but these are a difficult team to play against.“If you get it wrong here they have the players to expose it. We’ve had an incredibly difficult run, but we are through it and have to focus on the games coming up.”Share on: WhatsApplast_img read more

Inside Conditions…A day late a dollar short

first_imgKansas City Chiefs kicker Ryan Succop misses the possible game-winning field goal against the San Diego Chargers during the closing seconds of regulation of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 29, 2013, in San Diego. The Chargers eventually won the game 27-24 in overtime. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)Last Sunday evening I watched Kansas City Chiefs kicker, Ryan “the chokester” Succup gag and flinch, kicking the Pittsburgh Steelers out of the postseason.It is not clear whether Succup developed a case of the dreaded malady, “chokitis,” or just deliberately punched the Steelers in the gut while simultaneously punching the San Diego Chargers ticket to play on the “big stage” known as the NFL playoffs.  But ya know what boys and girls, the Steelers should not have depended on the competence of a player from another NFL franchise to “pay their toll” so they could continue traveling on the “playoff highway” leading to the Lombardi Trophy.See, in the NFL there is no such thing as an “E-Z Pass lane.”Aubrey BruceLet’s hit “Rew” and do a partial review of the 2013 Steelers season (a complete review may just be a bit too painful for yinz guys and gals to bear).Succup’s botched field goal attempt was not the play that will cause the Steelers to be at home ordering sandwich rings, cases of Bud Light and hot wings while watching the first (wild card) round of the playoffs.In the Steelers opening game they could only score a measly 9 points in a 16-9 loss to the Tennessee Titans at Heinz Field. Pittsburgh drew first blood by scoring a safety on the first play of the game and was only able to muster a “garbage” touchdown with only 1:23 left to play in regulation.You say you don’t agree, okay; was it the following Monday night when the Black and Gold ventured into Paul Brown stadium to face the eventual 2013 AFC North Champion Cincinnati Bengals who had more than an adequate supply of family sized cans of “whoop ass” to send the Steelers packing back to Pittsburgh “smarting” from a 20-10 loss.  Although, Steelers reserve tight end David Paulson lost a fumble,  “Big” Ben Roethlisberger  contributed a fumble and a pick in the losing effort.On the following Sabbath Day “da Chick-a-go” Bears strolled into Heinz Field and promptly smacked the Steelers around by the score of 40-23.  Roethlisberger threw 2 picks and fumbled 3 times, losing 2. When you give any offense 5 extra possessions, game, set, match.The next week the Steelers traveled to London and lost to the Minnesota “Vikes” by the score of 34-27.  “Big Ben” had this to say about the loss; “We are in unchartered territories and the water is dangerous right now, so we have to stick together and get out of it. Right now, you could say we’re the worst team in the league, that hurts.”They may have entered the review room with glaring questions about a glorious past and a hazy future. However, just as they were stumped by that decades old mystery of a timeless and historical reception by an NFL running back they seemed to be just as perplexed by their own futures.But there was a light at the end of the tunnel or so the Steelers nation hoped. A few folk even began to nitpick and bash. When Steelers rookie running back LeVeon Bell was injured for the initial three games people, even the running back’s own quarterback, sort of expressed doubts about his “toughness” and “heart.”Mike Chiari, featured columnist from Bleacher Report in an article published  on September 25, quoted Roethlisberger saying this about Bel;  “Honestly, I have no idea with him. You can’t get a read on him. One day, he’s practicing, one day, he’s not; one day, he’s going hard, the next day, he’s not. I wish I could. If he was a guy like Heath Miller that you knew was busting his butt every day to get back there … Le’Veon is a rookie, I don’t know him quite well enough yet. But if he can come back and help us, we’ll take him.”Spoken like a true general manager or head coach, don’t you agree? Steelers tight end has been and remains one of the most consistent Steelers but who is “a guy like Heath Miller?”Injuries affect individual players, differently. Remember the Steelers/Ravens match up on November 29, 2009 in Baltimore? The Steelers lost to the Ravens after Roethlisberger took all of the reps during that weeks practice and informed the team the day before the game Saturday that “concussion symptoms” had returned, thus thrusting Steelers rookie quarterback Dennis Dixon to start placed in an almost impossible situation.At the time that Roethlisberger was forced to issue the Steelers a “rain check” in regards to him competing against Baltimore, Steelers wide receiver and future hall of famer Hines Ward had this to say. “‘Ben practiced all week. Then to find out that he’s still having some headaches and not playing and it came down to the doctors didn’t feel that they were going to clear him or not. It’s hard to say. I’ve lied to a couple of doctors saying I’m straight, I feel good when I know that I’m not really straight. I don’t think guys really worry about the future while they’re playing currently in the NFL.”Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin did not even reveal to the team that Roethlisberger was not starting this important game against the hated Ravens.“At the time, I was more concerned about getting Dennis ready to play,” Tomlin said, “and I proceeded with the assumption that our men understood what kind of competitor (Roethlisberger) is. If they don’t, I will tell them.”Ben Roethlisberger is by no means finished as the Steelers starting QB but the team might be better served to at least drafting, signing or grooming a replacement.  The late songstress Billie Holiday once sang; “God bless the child that has his own.”  Never depend on anyone to do your work for you.Aubrey Bruce can be reached at: abruce@newpittsburghcourier.com or 412.583.6741last_img read more

Alden scores in OT to power Rebels to 2-0 lead in KIJHL Final

first_imgFrom the outside looking in the North Okanagan Knights have no business sticking around in games against the Castlegar Rebels.The Knights needed seven games to dispatch the Osoyoos Coyotes, getting the final win Sunday in Armstrong.The Rebels won its Kootenay Conference title in a sweep over Golden giving the West Kootenay franchise a six-day rest between series.The Knights were playing on the road.The Rebels were playing in the friendly confines of the Castlegar Sports Complex after running away with the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League regular season crown, thus assuring the Sunflower City team of home ice in the best-of-seven championship final.But this Knights team is no pushover, forcing the Rebels to twice battle back from one-goal deficits before defenceman Erik Alden scored in the second overtime to lift Castlegar to a 3-2 playoff victory in the KIJHL Final Wednesday night before 470 fans. The Rebels now lead 2-0 in the best-of-seven affair with Game three and four scheduled for Armstrong Friday.The Knights got a quick start on Castlegar as Derek Andrews scored three minutes into the game on the power play, beating Jordan Gluck in the Rebels net.Stuart Walton got that one back for Castlegar before the period ended as the Rebels dominated the opening frame, out shooting North Okanagan 16-4.But North Okanagan once again took advantage of a penalty to Castlegar’s Diego Bartlett, scoring seconds after the Rebel forward was forced to sit for two minutes.North Okanagan held the lead until the 15-minute mark of the third when Bryan Lubin and Stuart Walton combined to pull the Rebels even at 2-2.The teams traded punches through the next almost 30 minutes before the veteran defenceman, Alden beat hard-luck losing netminder Dustin Nikkel in the North Okanagan nets.Castlegar finished the game out shooting North Okanagan 49-32 thanks in part to the wide shot advantage in the first period.CHAMPIONSHIP NOTES: Castlegar is the fifth straight Neil Murdoch team to play for the league title. The Rebels last advanced to the championship series in 2011 before losing to Osoyoos Coyotes. Nelson Leafs won the Kootenay Conference in 2009 and 2010, Castlegar in 2011 and last year’s KIJHL champ, Beaver Valley, in 2012. . . .The last KIJHL title for the Sunflower City franchise came in 1996. . . .North Okanagan won the league title in 1995 when the franchise played out of Enderby.last_img read more