SPORTS ROUND-UP – Race for St Leger starts on Saturday

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Paul Geasley, Matchbook Betting; Jody Thompson, Limerick Track Manager and Tom Fitzgerald at the trap draw for the Irish St Leger

LIMERICK will host its prestigious Matchbook Betting Exchange Irish St Leger Classic from next Saturday through to the final on December 10.

And, as part of a nationwide Ag Rásaíocht Le Chéile (Racing Together) initiative, there will be free admission at Limerick this weekend.

Inaugurated 90 years ago, the classic has been held continuously in Limerick since 1940, for the greater part at the Markets Field and in more recent times at Greenpark Stadium on the Dock Road.

Liam Dowling (Kerry) trained last year’s shock 8/1 winner Ballymac Merlin.

A fascinating first round heats involves the Pat Buckley of Doon trained Ballinabola Ed and Graham Holland’s English Derby Champion Romeo Magico.

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The 2022 Classic, which is oozing with talent, carries a top prize of €30,000.

Rugby: NEWLY promoted Shannon posted their opening win of their Energia All-Ireland League Division 1A campaign with an impressive 30-19 defeat of deadly rivals Garryowen at Thomond Park. 

Jordan Prenderville helped himself to a couple of tries from mauls, while rising young tighthead star Luke Rigney also crossed the whitewash. 

Helped also by an early penalty try and some accurate kicks on the part of Mike Cooke, Pat O’Connor’s side led 30-5 at one stage. 

The Ronan Coffey-captained Shannon were 25-5 interval leaders. 

Garryowen came back into the reckoning somewhat on the restart with tries of their own from Darren Ryan, Jack Delaney, and Colm Quilligan, two of which were converted by the latter.

Shannon are now eighth in the league standings, just ahead of Garryowen. 

Young Munster lost ground with a 25-20 defeat at Ballynahinch. Two tries from Paulo Leleispuao had guided The Cookies to a 12-3 half-time advantage. 

On Saturday, Shannon face Dublin University at College Park, Garryowen entertain UCD at Dooradoyle, and Young Munster have defending champions Clontarf as visitors to Tom Clifford Park.

All matches kick-off at 2.30pm. 

GAA: ST KIERAN’S staged an impressive second-half recovery to topple Dromcollogher/Broadford 0-14 to 1-6 in the Limerick Junior A Hurling Final at Newcastle West. 

Micheál Brosnan goaled early-on to help D/B into a 1-4 to 0-3 interval lead, an advantage that should easily have been wider but for some lacklustre shooting. 

Substitutes Anthony Molyneaux (2) and Donie Nolan proved useful for the Saints on the restart, while additional scores came courtesy of goalkeeper Cillian Ambrose, captain Ian Mackessy, Eoin McEnery, and Darragh Treacy.  

It was only a third-ever county success at this grade for Golden Jubilee celebrating winners, adding to the victories of 1985 and 2012. 

St Kieran’s are away to Banner of Ennis, Clare, in the Munster semi-final the weekend after next. 

Meanwhile, the County Intermediate Final involving Croagh/Kilfinny and Na Piarsaigh has been pushed out until later in the month. 

Soccer: LAST season’s beaten finalists Pike Rovers easily advanced to the out-of-town stages (last 64) of the FAI Junior Cup with a 5-1 win away to Newport.

The game’s outstanding performer was Steve McGann, who bagged a brilliant hat-trick.  Premier League winners Pike, who had a player red-carded after a handball incident, also grabbed goals courtesy of Colm Walsh-O’Loughlin and Adam Lipper. 

Other weekend winners were cup specialists Fairview Rangers (nine-time champions), who sometimes struggled at Charleville before coming through 2-3. 

Two goals from Conor Ellis in north Cork brought his season’s tally to a remarkable 21, five ahead of Eoin Duff (Regional United) with Pike’s Kevin Barry third on 14. 

There was also cup progress for Regional United, Ballynanty Rovers, and Division 1A outfit Summerville Rovers. 

Regional at home to Mungret on Saturday (7pm) is the pick of the upcoming Premier League fixtures.