DUBLIN, Ireland -- Ireland overcame the late withdrawal of captain Paul OConnell to beat Scotland 28-6 in their Six Nations opener at Lansdowne Road on Sunday. OConnell picked up a chest infection on Saturday night, but the hugely influential lock wasnt missed for once as his replacement, Dan Tuohy, helped mince up the Scotland lineout in the first half and stand-in skipper Jamie Heaslip led by example with a try and high workrate. Ireland bridged halftime with tries by winger Andrew Trimble and Heaslip, and Jonathan Sexton added 13 points to overtake Michael Kiernan and become his countrys third highest point-scorer in tests. Fullback Rob Kearney, marking his 50th cap, added a late try when the result was already in Irelands grasp. Without OConnell, Sean OBrien and Gordon DArcy, three big contributors in the heart-breaking loss to New Zealand in the last outing in November, there was enough doubt about Irelands ability and mindset to achieve another good start in the last Six Nations for Brian ODriscoll. But the doubts proved unnecessary, as Ireland had enough class and nous for a Scotland still lacking a killer touch, and won its tournament opener for the 10th time in the last 11 years. Even so, Heaslip said coach Joe Schmidt tore into them after the game, saying they needed "huge improvements." The trouble with Ireland is finishing what it starts, unlike its next opponent, Wales, a slow Six Nations starter but fast finisher. The defending champion comes to Dublin next Saturday. "Massive, massive challenge coming," Kearney said. "We have to recover really well now. Weve only got six days, theyve had an extra day. Theyre going for three championships in a row, so were under no illusions." Heaslip and Schmidt said they were shocked to discover OConnell became ill overnight, hardly slept, and saw a doctor at 4:30 a.m. Schmidt said he expected OConnell, plus DArcy, to be available for the Wales game. "Its a relief to me that weve got through the game and got a win on the board," he said. Scotland coach Scott Johnson rued his sides naivety. "We may have to go to some dark places and bring some torches," Johnson said. "Theres a naivety there that well overcome by having some time in the saddle. They dont understand they are doing the hard bits quite easily, but its the finishing off." Scotland began the match by doing what it does best, holding the ball. The Scots worked 11 phases into the Ireland 22 until they were harshly penalized for holding too long. Then Greig Laidlaws long-range penalty hit the left upright. Sexton and Laidlaw swapped penalties, and Ireland ended up leading 6-3 into the second quarter. Not until the last 10 minutes did the heart-rate rise. No. 8 David Denton came closest to a Scotland try when he burst blindside off a ruck 10 metres out and was trying to reach out to the line when he was bowled into touch by scrumhalf Conor Murray and flanker Peter OMahony. As Ireland loosened Scotlands pressure -- winning four Scottish throw-ins helped -- Scots and Lions winger Sean Maitland landed awkwardly on his right ankle from jumping for an up and under and limped off with concussion. Sexton put the pressure back on Scotland by carving past tackles in midfield, and gave Heaslip a shot in the left corner, but the No. 8 stepped over the sideline just before he touched down. Ireland failed twice from five-meter lineouts with seconds to go and Scotlands defence looked like holding, but quick rucks helped Ireland find Scotland short on the right wing, where Kearney gave Trimble the overlap to score for an 11-3 halftime lead. "That gave us a little bit of breathing space," Kearney said. Soon after the restart, Laidlaw cut the deficit to five, but Ireland put the game away in the 47th when Tuohys lineout take was mauled by Ireland and Heaslip scored too easily. Sexton converted for 18-6 and added a third penalty before the hour. Ireland controlled possession throughout the half, and inevitably notched a third try to Kearney, who exploited a tiring defence when he slipped off replacement Alasdair Dickinson and dragged flanker Ryan Wilson to the tryline nine minutes from time. Scotland hosts England next Saturday. Custom Arizona Diamondbacks Jerseys
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. In the last race before the Sochi Olympics, Bjoergen followed up her win in the 10-kilometre classical race on Saturday by beating World Cup sprint leader Denise Herrmann of Germany by 0.43 seconds for her fifth victory of the season.FRANKFURT, Germany -- Balkan rivalries cast a shadow over 2016 European Championship qualifying on Tuesday as the match between Serbia and Albania in Belgrade was abandoned after an Albanian flag considered provocative by Serbian fans was flown over the stadium by a drone. English referee Martin Atkinson interrupted the match in the 41st minute when Serbia defender Stefan Mitrovic managed to grab the banner and Albania players tried to protect it. Several Serbian fans invaded the pitch and clashed with Albania players. The Euro 2016 Qualifying match between Serbia and Albania has been abandoned and the circumstances will be reported to the UEFA Disciplinary Body, European footballs ruling body said in a statement. Albanian fans had been warned against attending the game between the two Balkan rivals that have had turbulent relations -- mainly over the former ethnic Albanian-dominated Serbian province of Kosovo that declared independence in 2008. We wanted to continue the match, but Albanian players said they were not psychologically ready, Serbia captain Branislav Ivanovic said. Elsewhere, John OShea scored in his 100th international for Ireland in the fourth minute of stoppage time to give his side a dramatic 1-1 draw with World Cup holder Germany, which suffered another setback in Group D after losing 2-0 in Poland. Cristiano Ronaldo also scored in the fourth minute of injury time to give Portugal a 1-0 win over Denmark and put his teams campaign back on track after a stunning 1-0 loss at home to Albania in Group I. -------- Group D OShea cancelled out a goal from Toni Kroos in the 71st as Ireland joined Poland on top of Group D with seven points from three matches. Brilliant result, first and foremost. OK, we had to live a little bit dangerously the last 10 or 15 minutes, OShea said. Yeah, look, without a doubt, its an absolutely fairytale ending, it was incredible, to get the 100th cap and score the goal to equalize against Germany, and hopefully to keep the momentum going to qualify for France. Kroos hammered home a low drive in the 71st minute with what was then Germanys 17th shot. Ireland only had managed one until then, but OSheas late strike stunned Joachim Loews team. Shocked maybe too strong a word, but we are disappointed, Kroos said. In the last five minutes, we played so many long balls that we havent had in the 20 last games. I dont why we did it. We didnt stay calm, we lost control in the last five minutes. In Warsaw, Poland drew 2-2 with Scotland to remain top of Group D on goal difference over Ireland, while Georgia won 3-0 at Gibraltar. Poland and Ireland have seven points from three matches, while Germany and Scotland have four each. Krzysztof Maczynski opened the scoring but Scotland went up by one after goals from Shaun Maloney and Steven Naismith, only for Arkadiusz Milik to notch the final equalizer for Poland. Nikoloz Gelashvili, Tornike Okriashvili and Jaba Kankava scored for Georgia against group underdog Gibraltar.dddddddddddd -------- Group F Northern Ireland continued to stun opponents in Group F, winning 2-0 in Greece for its third straight victory to stay on course for its first ever European Championship qualification. Jamie Ward got the early opener and Kyle Lafferty made it 2-0 at Karaskaki Stadium. Weve sent out a massive statement tonight, said Lafferty, who has scored in all three matches. New Greece coach Claudio Ranieri, who laughed off suggestions before the game that his job might be at risk, promised to shake up his side and fight on after his second home defeat left the 2004 European champions with just a point from three games. In Helsinki, Romanias Bogdan Stancu struck twice in a 2-0 victory over Finland that moved his country into second place, while Hungary struggled in the Faeroe Islands, winning only 1-0 with a goal from Adam Szalai. -------- Group I It remains to be seen how the abandoned match in Belgrade will be judged by UEFA and which team, if any, will get points. Ronaldo scored in a tense match in Copenhagen, heading home in the fourth minute of stoppage time following a cross from the right by Ricardo Quaresma. Portugal made the better start in Copenhagen. But the home team had the best chance of the first half when a shot by Denmark striker Michael Krohn-Dehli hit the post, after opportunities had fallen earlier for Nani and Ronaldo at the other end. The tension remained high in the second half, with Nani and Ronaldo again testing Denmark keeper Kasper Schmeichel, while Portuguese goalie Rui Patricio saw off attempts by Krohn-Dehli and Nicklas Bendtner. A few minutes before Ronaldos late winner, the Portugal star was booked for a foul on defender Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. That yellow card was the only one handed out by referee Felix Brych who repeatedly was booed by the Danish fans for his decisions. That they score in (injury time) just makes it even more frustrating, Denmark defender Daniel Agger said. Its pretty hard to say anything else right now. Denmark travels to Belgrade for its next European Championship qualifier. -------- Group E Switzerland earned its first points with a 4-0 win at San Marino. Eintracht Frankfurt forward Haris Seferovic scored in the 10th and 24th minutes, Galatasaray midfielder Blerim Dzemaili added another on the half-hour mark, and Xherdan Shaqiri completed the scoring in the 79th. Also, San Marino goalkeeper Aldo Simoncelli stopped a penalty from Ricardo Rodriguez in the final minute. Switzerland moved level with Estonia and Slovenia with three points each in Group E, which England and Lithuania lead with six points each. San Marino, ranked 208th by FIFA, remained last with zero points. Switzerland, which reached the Round of 16 at the World Cup in Brazil, lost to England and Slovenia in its opening qualifiers. Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Jerseys Wholesale NFL Jerseys Jerseys From China Wholesale NFL Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys
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