Stokes relishing Scotland clashes

first_imgAnthony Stokes insists Ireland’s Euro 2016 qualifying section is too close to call. He said: “It’s a difficult group, as most of them are. But I’m sure we will be able to compete and I’m looking forward to it. “Germany will be the firm favourites while Poland have a very strong squad, so it should be interesting. It’s too hard to say which way it will go. Every game will be important. It will be one of those groups that goes right to the wire.” Stokes could find himself facing off against Celtic Park team-mates Scott Brown, Charlie Mulgrew, James Forrest and Leigh Griffiths when Ireland travel to Hampden to face the Scots on Friday, November 14. “There’s already been a bit of banter with the boys,” said Stokes. “I never used to get on too well with Broony (Brown) when I was playing against him so who knows what will happen this time. “But he’s a great lad and I know his qualities. He will give us some stiff opposition. “I think it will be two great games. It’s two closely-matched teams. You never know how it will go on the night.” Stokes found himself ostracised by former Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni when he pulled out of a Carling Nations Cup game in May 2011 citing fatigue. He only made his return against Germany last October after two and a half years in the wilderness when the Italian was sacked a month previously. Former Celtic boss Martin O’Neill is now in charge but Stokes admits he still has work to do to make himself a regular for his country. “I want to make an impact and I want to do as well as I possibly can in training when I get there to give myself the best chance to play,” he said. “I’ve played a few competitive games but I’ve never really had a spot in the team or had a chance to go to a tournament, so for me, to get through this group and reach the finals would mean everything to me. It’s something I have always wanted.” Martin O’Neill’s squad were drawn in Group D alongside Germany, Scotland, Poland, Georgia and Gibraltar. Celtic striker Stokes expects Germany to top the six-team pool but says the race for the second automatic qualifying slot could go right to the wire. Press Associationlast_img read more

Syracuse unravels in opening moments of 2nd half in 6-3 loss to NC State

first_imgWhen Georgia Allen kicked the ball back to Mackenzie Vlachos to signal the start of the second half, Syracuse knew the next 45 minutes could be the defining game of its season. Despite trailing 2-1 to No. 23 North Carolina State, the game was far from over. SU proved it could score, which it did in the fourth minute, and had matched the Wolfpack’s intensity and quality throughout the first half.Three minutes later, all Syracuse could do was try to avoid further embarrassment.Two minutes into the half, quick, one-touch passing between NC State’s Kia Rankin and Tziarra King sent Maxine Blackwood through on goal, where she slid the ball past a charging Jordan Harris for the visitor’s third goal of the night. A minute later, Mia Thillet laced a pinpoint through ball across to field to an oncoming Rankin, who provided a clinical finish.“The five minutes before or after a half starts and a half ends and the five minutes after a long stoppage, you’ve got to stay switched on,” SU head coach Phil Wheddon said. “We have to make sure we don’t allow service, make sure that our body position is such that we don’t allow players to run through us and around us.”The two goals buried the Orange’s chances of a win or draw, and only marked half of the damage Syracuse (3-10, 0-5 Atlantic Coast) would endure in the second half in an eventual 6-3 loss to NC State (9-3-2, 2-2-1) on Thursday night at SU Soccer Stadium. The defeat marks SU’s eighth straight, the longest such streak in program history.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textBefore the Wolfpack put on a scoring clinic, SU had its dream start.The Orange earned a corner kick in the fourth minute and capitalized in an unconventional way. Sydney Brackett curled the ball into a packed six-yard box where NC State goalkeeper Sydney Wootten stood stagnant near the back post. When Wootten saw Brackett’s strike curling inside the front post, she lunged forward to try and swat it away, but instead palmed it into the roof of the net. It was SU’s first goal in 423 minutes, and the Orange celebrated like it.When the ball bulged into the net, all seven SU players in the box put their arms out and sprinted at Brackett, but the junior evaded her teammates’ embrace. With a big grin on her face, Brackett leapt and ran toward the Syracuse bench while all nine other field players chased after her. As she walked back to her position and prepared for play to restart, she continued to laugh and smile.“That’s what we needed,” Wheddon said. “You want to score early, and you want to try, from that point, to maintain the lead.”But the Orange’s glee was short-lived. Its first lead since Sept. 13 was cancelled after just seven minutes when Ricarda Walkling found Blackwood darting behind Shannon Aviza and Clarke Brown, the left side of SU’s back line. Walkling slipped a through ball in between the two defenders and to the feet of Blackwood, who took two touches before smashing the ball beyond Lysianne Proulx and into the top-left corner.After conceding, Syracuse struggled to keep possession, often booting the ball upfield to Allen, SU’s sole striker, in a sea of red jerseys. On the rare occasion Allen got a touch on the ball, she was immediately dispossessed by a swarm of Wolfpack defenders. NC State’s pressure and time on the ball finally broke down the Orange six minutes after its equalizer.King snuck up on Kate Donovan from behind, swiped the ball, and drove 35 yards into SU’s penalty area before beating Proulx with a low, right-footed strike.“She’s fast. She makes quick decisions,” Brown said about King, who has eight goals on the season. “(The second goal of the game) was a quick turnaround and we were out of position and not as close as we should be. It was a lack of communication. We need to be more alert at all times.”For the remainder of the first half, Syracuse reversed the narrative. It used solid link-up play and smart decisions in the middle and attacking third to create three shots in the opening 45 minutes.In the 25th minute, Brackett and Allen combined to send Kate Hostage, who returned from a left ankle injury after missing three games, through on goal. Hostage got within ten yards of the goal and fired a shot into Wootten’s foot and out for a corner kick.“We made sure we got the little details down,” Hostage said. “We had a lot of creativity and combination play. It’s just a couple defensive details and keeping the ball (letting us down).”The Wolfpack added two more goals through Blackwood and Kursten von Klahr while SU achieved its highest single-game goal total of the season with second-half goals from Meghan Root and Steph deLaforcade. Despite having its best offensive outing of 2018, the Orange must continue to strive toward complete, 90-minute performances, Wheddon said.“We enjoyed celebrating the goals but at the end of the day that wasn’t enough,” Wheddon said. “I’m very disappointed that we conceded the number of goals that we did, especially because we felt like we were in the game the whole time.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on October 4, 2018 at 11:15 pm Contact David: ddschnei@syr.edulast_img read more

The good, the bad and the dirty in the week of boxing: From fight of the year candidate to Tyson Fury head scratcher

first_imgInitially, when this fight got made, nobody gave too many thoughts about it. Lipinets, a former IBF junior welterweight champion, was making his debut at 147 pounds. Peterson was fighting for the first time in 14 months after getting pummeled by Errol Spence Jr. in January 2018.But what the world got was one of the best fights of 2019 thus far, with Lipinets winning the back-and-forth war by 10th-round knockout.Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearFrom the opening bell, Lipinets and Peterson didn’t waste a single second. They each came out firing their artillery with hard punches on the inside. That being said, Peterson had controlled the first half of the fight. Then, during the sixth round, Lipinets came alive when he changed the complexion of the battle by connecting with a stinging left hand. They traded heavy shots in the seventh and the eighth rounds, when Lipinets wobbled Peterson badly with a right hand that would have dropped just about anybody else. But somehow Peterson stayed standing. Lipinets nearly put Peterson away in the ninth round when he blasted him with a left and a right hook. But the end came in the 10th when Lipinets landed a vicious right hand to drop Peterson, who tried to get up. But Peterson’s head trainer Barry Hunter had seen enough and threw in the towel to put a halt to the fight.Hunter made the right move. He didn’t want to see someone he views as his son absorbing any more punishment. Lipinets (15-1, 11 KOs) took Peterson’s best shots and delivered a beating of his own. While this doesn’t cement an immediate title shot for the 29-year-old, he is someone who isn’t too far away from receiving just that.- Lamont Peterson is saying goodbye. The hardest thing for an athlete is knowing when to leave. They love hearing the praise from people, the chance for another payday and the overall lure for one more shot at a championship. For Lamont Peterson, enough was enough, as he announced his retirement after the Lipinets bout on Sunday night.Peterson came from humble beginnings in Washington D.C., where he and his brother and fellow boxer, Anthony, were left homeless after their father went to prison and their mother abandoned them. At the age of 10, Lamont met trainer Barry Hunter, and the rest is history.Peterson (35-5-1, 17 KOs) went on to become a two-division world champion. He won the WBO junior welterweight title from Willy Blain in 2009. Then, he upset Amir Khan in December 2011 to become the unified 140-pound champion. The 35-year-old moved up to welterweight and won his last belt when he beat David Avanesyan in February 2017 for the WBA strap.Peterson almost retired after the one-sided beating from his good friend Spence last January, when he didn’t win a single round. But Peterson wanted to go out on his terms and he did just that with this fight. While he didn’t get the win he wanted, Peterson went out giving everything he had, with his faculties in place and his head held high.In a sport where fighters stay well beyond their shelf life, Peterson should be applauded for leaving at the right time. He knew he did it all. A person who didn’t have a place to live isn’t supposed to win two world titles in one weight class, become a unified champion, move up a weight class to win another title and face the likes of Spence, Khan and Danny Garcia. Salute to you, Lamont Peterson, for a job well done.- Kubrat Pulev keeps his standing in the heavyweight division. Pulev could have waited it out and maintained his status as the IBF’s No. 1 contender, watching to see if champion Anthony Joshua beats Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller on June 1.Instead, Pulev took a risk — and it almost cost him a shot at gold — before knocking Bogdan Dinu out in the seventh round in his United States debut. After controlling much of the action, Dinu came out firing in the fourth round. A sharp right hand and a left hook from Dinu caused a deep cut above Pulev’s left eye. The blood gushing down the left side of his face seemed to add more fuel to his fire, as he regained control and took the fight from there.Led by his overhand right and constant pressure, Pulev overwhelmed Dinu and it was only a matter of time before it was over. The onslaught continued into the seventh round when Pulev sent Dinu to the canvas three times, including one more devastating overhand right to end Dinu’s night and maintain his positioning in the division. Does the win do Pulev any good? He showed that he could overcome adversity and proved in the process that he will be a tough out for anyone in what is becoming a crowded heavyweight division.The Bad- What was Rico Ramos doing inside the ring? Ramos had plenty on the line when he faced former WBO super bantamweight titleholder Jessie Magdaleno on Saturday night. An impressive win by the former WBA super bantamweight titleholder could have netted him another chance to win a belt. Instead, Ramos decided fighting wasn’t going to be on the plate, as he stood there just waiting to get punched in the face by his former sparring partner for 30 minutes. According to Compubox stats, Ramos connected on 43 of 327 punches (13 percent). Let that sink in for a moment. Ramos was in a position to uncork punches. But he was more keen on surviving and absorbing shot after shot with little resistance coming back the other way. It was one of the worst performances in a long time. You could live with the showing if Magdaleno stifled Ramos’ offense. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. Ramos had chances to hit Magdaleno, but refused to let his hands go. Hopefully, he takes a hard look at where his career is at because what Ramos exemplified isn’t what being a world champion is all about.The Dirty- Boxing games lead to Tyson Fury’s puzzling decision. The lineal heavyweight champion formally announced this past Saturday that he would be fighting Tom Schwarz on June 15 in Las Vegas. It is the second unusual move that Fury’s made in the last month. Everything appeared to be on track for Fury and WBC champ Deontay Wilder to square off one more time after their great draw in December. Both fighters made it clear after the fight that they wanted a rematch.Shortly after that, the politics in boxing reared its ugly head when the brash Englishman signed a co-promotional deal with Top Rank in February.Top Rank wanted to work on growing Fury into a household name in America before a rematch against Wilder. They offered Wilder a multi-fight deal, with an interim bout in the summer and the second bout with Fury taking place in early 2020, but he turned it down. Wilder, not wanting to wait, shifted gears and will take on mandatory challenger Dominic Breazeale on May 18 on Showtime, before Fury takes on Schwarz.  It was another interesting week in boxing. Here are the highs and lows of the last seven days.The Good- Sergey Lipinets and Lamont Peterson put on a show.  The virtually-unknown Schwarz (24-0, 16 KOs) makes the trek across the Atlantic for the first time, having fought 22 of his 24 fights in his native Germany. While the 24-year-old has never even come close to facing a ranked opponent, he has won his last six contests via stoppage (five knockouts, one disqualification). There is nothing wrong in wanting to take a tune-up because fights like the one Fury had against Wilder takes years off of a boxer’s career. But using the excuse to take on someone the world has never heard of and then another possible bout before (perhaps) taking on Wilder at the beginning of 2020 is utterly ridiculous. If you want to go and fight someone else, then at least build your name against a fringe contender the boxing public has heard of.If Fury had never fought Wilder, then what his co-promoter, Bob Arum, is saying has validity. But not like this.last_img read more