Mike Kompon scored two goals as Elite League leaders the Belfast Giants twice came from behind to edge out the Cardiff Devils 3-2. Press Association Tyson Marsh and Jake Morissette twice gave the Welsh side the lead but that was cancelled out by Kompon and Belfast captain Adam Keefe. Kompon then dramatically scored the winner with under 30 seconds remaining to lift the Giants to their second successive win.
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has revealed he will hold talks with Tom Cleverley about his future. The Scot is also looking to keep skipper Ron Vlaar and midfielder Fabian Delph, who are both out of contract at the end of the season, next month. He does not expect to lose them and does not have a strict transfer budget for January and will work on a player-by-player basis with chairman Randy Lerner and chief executive Tom Fox. “That’s exactly the way it works, I don’t have a problem,” he said. “We have had one or two chats on the phone with Tom and Randy, if something comes up and Randy thinks it is feasible and affordable and right for the club then I am pretty sure he will have a look at it. “But we have to get into that position where we need a position filled.” Press Association Villa have an option to buy the Manchester United loanee in January but Cleverley’s contract at Old Trafford expires in June. Everton wanted to sign the England international in the summer but failed to agree a deal with United, allowing Villa to resurrect a deadline day move which looked to be over. The club have no deal in place for the midfielder in the summer and Lambert is planning to sit down with the 25-year-old. “I have the option to buy in January but I have got him for a season long loan anyway. I would definitely try but a lot will depend on finances,” said Lambert, who has Cleverley available for the Boxing Day trip to Swansea after suspension. “I will have a discussion with Tom and sit with him and see what he thinks. He is still a Manchester United player. “But the great thing about Tom Cleverley is he has been brilliant here. His enthusiasm for the game and the way he plays the game is great. “The way he is around the place is great. I am pretty sure he loves his football here. “He has been a credit to himself and Manchester United with the way he has conducted himself. “I think he has played really, really well, he has years ahead of him to play. “I am pretty sure he will not want to keep sitting around, knowing Tom Cleverley as I do in a short space of time he won’t want to sit on the bench.”
Cisse elbowed Everton defender Seamus Coleman during Newcastle’s 3-2 victory on Sunday but escaped any action from referee Craig Pawson. The 29-year-old’s suspension begins with immediate effect. Press Association Papiss Cisse will be banned for three matches after the Newcastle striker accepted a charge of violent conduct from the Football Association. Cisse is banned for Newcastle’s Barclays Premier League home match against Burnley on New Year’s Day, Saturday’s FA Cup tie at Leicester and a trip to Chelsea on January 10. The Senegalese striker had been expected to miss the games against Leicester and Chelsea anyway as he departs to play at the Africa Cup of Nations. Cisse has scored nine league goals already this season and five in his last six matches. A statement on the club’s official website read: “Newcastle United striker Papiss Cisse has accepted a charge of violent conduct from the Football Association. “Cisse was involved in an incident involving Everton’s Seamus Coleman during the Barclays Premier League fixture at St. James’ Park on Sunday, 28th December. “Cisse has accepted the charge and will now serve a three-match suspension, which starts with immediate effect.”
First Lieutenant remains on course for next month’s Crabbie’s Grand National despite suffering an odds-on reverse at Thurles on Thursday. Press Association He said: “I think he was probably missing the cheekpieces. I’d say he didn’t kill himself and he’s definitely getting a bit clever in his old age. “We wanted to get the run in without giving him too hard a race and I wanted to save the headgear for the National. “He could have done with a bigger field and a bit of a lead. He was there to be shot at and that’s what happened. “We’ll go on to Liverpool with him now anyway, we’ll put the cheekpieces back on and hopefully it will all perk him up a bit.” The multiple Grade One winner reverted to hurdles for the first time in almost four years as part of his preparation for the Aintree spectacular and after cutting out much of the running, he eventually gave way and passed the post third. Trainer Mouse Morris feels his 10-year-old raced lazily in the three-mile contest and plans to reapply headgear when he lines up on Merseyside on April 11.
Captainofthefleet, who won this race in 2013, is among his rivals, while recent Pontefract winner Point The Toes is another leading contender. Atan, who sports first-time blinkers, is an interesting runner for Pat Flynn, while Hisaabaat, Prince Kup, Face Value, Hazariban and Saint Gervais complete the line-up. Qatea ran out a comfortable winner at Sligo on Sunday and he should prove hard to beat in the Ladies Evening At Clonmel Races May 21st Handicap. Handicap debutant Lucie Rie looks a danger under Wayne Lordan for David Wachman, while Gainmill Lady is another with claims. Breenainthemycra and Rockview Emperor are sure to feature prominently in the betting for the Free Admission For Ladies May 21st Handicap, and others with claims are Oceania Queen and Elusive Gent. Silky won the opening Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Fillies Maiden in 2013 and her sister Wooden Heart will bid to emulate her. David Wachman trains the daughter of Montjeu and he has won this race four times in the last seven years. Dermot Weld, who won it last year with subsequent Listed winner Vintage Nouveau, is represented by Pianola, while Jim Bolger’s Deontas and Willie McCreery’s Love Letter are other leading contenders. Brown Bee and Just Be Lucky would appear to have the West Gate Median Auction Maiden between them, while Highly Toxic and Tetraites are the stand out names in the Fethard Maiden. The concluding Main Guard Handicap looks a wide open contest, with Lady Marmelo, Allen Warrior, Balkinstown and Uncharted Waters a few for the shortlist. Clonmel plays host to a seven-race Flat card on Thursday evening with recent Aintree winner Taglietelle the stand-out name. The Gordon Elliott-trained six-year-old is one of nine runners declared for the feature Quirke uPVC Windows (Clonmel) Tipperary Perpetual Cup Handicap. He will be ridden by champion pony rider Jack Kennedy, brother of National Hunt jockey Paddy Kennedy, who makes his racecourse debut aboard the son of Tagula. Press Association
Press Association There was no fairytale send-off for Paul O’Connell, in his final game for Munster before his move to France, with Warriors’ veteran Al Kellock heading into retirement as a winner as Glasgow made up for last season’s losing PRO12 final by lifting the silverware. Three first-half tries from Glasgow – scored by Rob Harley, DTH van der Merwe and Henry Pyrgos – put Gregor Townsend’s side in the driving seat and, after leading 21-10 at half-time, the Warriors sealed the deal with Finn Russell’s 59th-minute touchdown. Russell scored 13 of Glasgow’s total – the other points coming via a Duncan Weir penalty – but man of the match Leone Nakawara was immense. Munster managed a try from Andrew Smith, with a conversion and two penalties from Ian Keatley. The Warriors started with clear intent through a multi-phase attack which broke down in Munster’s 22, but the Irish province responded in kind and also had the first scoring chance through a long-range Ian Keatley penalty attempt which fell short. Munster’s skipper Denis Hurley then had to look sharp with a tap-tackle which brought Van der Merwe down after the Warriors winger had broken clear. But Glasgow – playing into the strong breeze – still managed to strike first after Nakarawa surged up the middle and his offload to Harley saw the flanker score under the sticks. Russell added the conversion and the Warriors were 7-0 up after only eight minutes. Ten minutes later and Van der Merwe nearly got on the end of Russell’s chip but the ball went dead after the winger had been challenged by Keith Earls. Munster needed some form of response and it nearly came from Earls two minutes later after Russell’s kick was charged down by CJ Stander, but the Ireland winger was held short from a rare counter-attack. Keatley, though, got them back in the game in the 24th minute after the Warriors were penalised at a scrum and he slotted the penalty for Munster’s first score. But, shortly after the restart, Glasgow quickly got the ball and an attack down the blindside saw Nakarawa offload over the top of a defender to just give Van der Merwe enough space to get the score and run round to touchdown behind the posts. Russell’s conversion made it 14-3 to the Warriors. Then, just after the half-hour mark, came what appeared to be a killer blow when Munster lost the ball in contact and the Warriors countered with lightning pace which saw Stuart Hogg scythe through to put Pyrgos through and he dotted down under the posts. Russell converted and the Warriors were 21-3 ahead and looking comfortable. Munster now had to respond with something and, after Duncan Williams had made a strong surge, Smith barrelled over and – after some consultation with the television match official – the 37th-minute score was awarded. Keatley added the extras to narrow the Warriors’ lead to 21-10, which is how the half ended. Munster upped the ante as they had to and a series of penalties brought them deep into the Warriors’ 22, which only saw them get three points back from Keatley’s 48th-minute shot at goal from close in. It did not look like a good enough return and so it proved with the Warriors getting their fourth try just short of the hour after some great approach work saw Russell get over and convert to make it 28-13. Then with seven minutes remaining, replacement Weir landed a penalty to take the Warriors’ lead up to a commanding 31-13. Glasgow deservedly won the Guinness PRO12 title for the first time and became the first Scottish side to win the league with a 31-13 victory over Munster at the Kingspan Stadium in Belfast on Saturday.
Wilde struck twice in the first half and completed his treble just after the break before Matthew Williams made it four on the night, while captain Lukasz Cieslewicz pulled one back for the Faroe Islands outfit at the death but it was too little too late. TNS now face a second qualifying first-leg clash against Videoton next week as they look to seal their progress to the Champions League proper. Press Association Northern Ireland’s Crusaders advanced on away goals after their 1-1 result against Levadia of Estonia at Le Coq Arena on Tuesday, with Michael Carvill’s early opener making the difference despite Siim Luts’ equaliser midway through the first half. Elsewhere, there was success for Gibraltar’s Lincoln, who saw off Santa Coloma 2-1, while Armenian side Pyunik made it through after a 2-1 (4-2 aggregate) win over Folgore. Michael Wilde impressed with a hat-trick as The New Saints progressed to the Champions League second qualifying round following a 4-1 (6-2 aggregate) victory over B36 in Oswestry.
The main event on the second evening of the Festival at Ballybrit saw another brave bid by British raider Baraweez, with Brian Ellison’s raider making his move rounding the turn in a bid to better last year’s third. Donnacha O’Brien looked like he might have made a race-winning move, but he could not quite shake off Hint Of A Tint (6-1) and Wayne Lordan, who improved on her sixth place from 12 months ago to win by half a length. Unsinkable was third. Press Association Hint Of A Tint gave trainer David Wachman another big-race winner with victory in the Topaz Mile Handicap at Galway. Wachman said: “The strong gallop suited. They stopped in front of her and she battled well at the line. It’s a shame that Fran (Berry) couldn’t ride her, but the weight is a bit low for him and Wayne gave her a good ride. “She’s best fresh so we took a chance at the start of the season and said we’d aim her at this. It was a good performance. “She was second in a Guineas Trial so is Group Three-placed, but she lost her way a bit. I’ll see what the owner wants to do, but it’s possible that she could go back into Pattern company.” Lordan said: “She traveled around nicely, picked up well and won well. She had good runs in the book and it was just a matter of getting everything right – Galway isn’t an easy place – but luckily for me she traveled well. “When a horse is travelling like she was you can fit into any gap that comes in front of you. It’s when they’re not travelling, that’s when you land yourself in trouble. Luckily for me she traveled well and I was able to weave through a few horses and get there pretty easily. “Just coming to the line she was just having a little puff and she was entitled to, having her first run of the year in a very competitive handicap It’s nice to win a feature race here in Galway – I’ve never won it before so it’s nice.” Hint Of A Tint is owned by Sue-Ann Foley, daughter of JP McManus.
“Unfortunately we have still a long way to go yet, but it was great to beat the Germans, world champions, here today. Considering the things we had to overcome, I thought it was a fantastic effort by the players. They deserve enormous credit. “It was a fantastic effort and Shane comes on and just scores a wonder-goal for us and gave us something to hang on to. “I’m ecstatic that we have won the game. You would think that beating the Germans and not being beaten by them at all, the world champions, you would think that would be at least deserving of winning the tournament, but it’s not the case – we haven’t even qualified. “But it’s been a great effort and the players showed great courage, great determination and some ability too to conjure up the win.” Victory in Warsaw would guarantee automatic qualification, as would a high-scoring draw – better than the 1-1 the Poles achieved at the Aviva Stadium – as the head-to-head record of the two sides would be used to split them. Three points could even be enough to win the group should Germany, as likely as it may be, slip up against Georgia, although O’Neill was refusing to get ahead of himself after that scenario was put to him by a journalist. He said: “It’s easy that, isn’t it? You just think climbing Mount Everest is no problem whatsoever, especially if you are in summer clothes. “It’s a wee bit more difficult than you are making out. We have to go to Poland to win a game – most likely win a game. I don’t know particularly, but I assume we have to draw 2-2 or 3-3 or 4-4? “We avoided 99 of those long balls and kept possession, but the 100th long ball was one too many. “But it’s still in our own hands. Qualification is there for us to win with a win against Georgia.” The Republic boss was elated after seeing Shane Long come off the bench to fire his side to a famous 1-0 win, but insisted that they still have a long way to go as the prepare for Sunday’s final Group D clash with Poland with a play-off berth the least they can achieve. Asked for his reaction on a dramatic night in Dublin, O’Neill said: “Well, naturally delighted to win the game. “Well, let’s just try to win it. I’ll think about Poland tomorrow morning. Tonight, I am genuinely delighted for the players, the spirit among them.” The decisive moment arrived with 20 minutes remaining when, five minutes after coming on, Long latched on to fellow substitute Darren Randolph’s clearance and blasted an unstoppable right-foot shot past the startled Manuel Neuer. Germany, who had dominated much of what had gone before, created several opportunities to level, but Thomas Muller was guilty of a bad miss and Randolph saved from Jerome Boateng and Ilkay Gundogan to spark mass celebrations on the final whistle. Manager Joachim Low said: “Overall, I think we have to say that it was one of the most unnecessary defeats that we have had to accept over the last few years. “It was to be expected that Ireland would be defending with nine, sometimes even 10, men, get behind the ball and try long, hopeful balls. “They had one and only one opportunity to score, whereas we squandered a good many of those and were eventually punished for squandering them. Martin O’Neill was keeping his feet firmly on the ground after the Republic of Ireland blasted their way back into the race for Euro 2016 qualification with famous victory over world champions Germany. Press Association
Everton forward Steven Naismith remains in limbo while he is injured but manager Roberto Martinez admits a decision to leave lies with the Scotland international. “The promise was we would review it in the next window and see how he is. Steven is in a position where he hasn’t played as much as he would have liked as a senior player. “It’s very much in the player’s hands to be able to make the right call.” Everton are hopeful they can tie up a deal for Leeds academy graduate Byram after agreeing terms with the Sky Bet Championship club. “There’s been an initial approach but from there, for having conclusive news for our fans, is a long gap still,” said Martinez. “We don’t do things quickly or panicky. If there’s any signing to be made, he has to be the right character, the right addition and that will always be the case. “At the moment we have to be very careful. I don’t enjoy the window clashing with important games. “Leeds have important games now and we have important games.” Three days after their goalless draw at Manchester City Everton head to Stamford Bridge to face a Chelsea side whom they beat 3-1 – thanks to a Naismith hat-trick – back in October when Jose Mourinho was still in charge. Guus Hiddink is now in temporary charge and despite some indifferent results all season Martinez is still wary. “Chelsea are a team full of winning footballers,” he added. “”Remember that they won the Premier League last season and that wasn’t long ago. So the quality is there and they have players that in one second can produce a moment of magic.” However, it was allowed to stay on the table and despite Swansea caretaker boss Alan Curtis expressing an interest this week it appears the Canaries are the only one to come up with a definitive offer. An ankle problem has kept Naismith out of the squad recently but Martinez has not ruled out him leaving before the end of the month. “There has been no approach (from Swansea). There has been another Premier League club that has made a lot of progress in that respect,” he said. “Everything is more or less agreed in terms of a possible transfer. “At the moment the priority is to see Steven fully fit and available and then probably we will have a sit down and decide the next step.” Asked whether the decision was now the player’s, Martinez added: “It is up to a point but it has to be right for everyone. “We are open to the Steven Naismith situation because in the last days of the previous window it’s an open secret Steven wanted to know about his future, and at that time we couldn’t replace him and it wasn’t right to do that. “That’s been there since day one on January 1. It’s never been a question of welcoming approaches and offers, it’s making sure we sit down with the player and he’s clear with the next step of his career. Press Association While the Toffees boss continues to try to strengthen his squad by bringing in Leeds full-back Sam Byram, for whom the club had a £5million offer accepted on Thursday, he is almost resigned to the departure of Naismith. The 29-year-old has made just five starts this season – the last in mid-October – and the club received a bid for him from Norwich in the last transfer window but it came too late for Everton to find a replacement and so was rejected.