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User:rorynoonanDate:08/04/2013Time:08:45:33Edition:08/04/2013Monmonecho080413Page:56Color:

EE - V1

Evening Echo

SPORT

NFL Cork relinquish their league title: P52-53

Munster’s Simon Zebo celebrates their victory over Harlequins in the Heineken Cup quarter-final at The Twickenham Stoop, London yesterday.

Picture: INPHO

Zebo: Reds can now go all the way SIMON ZEBO insists Munster can go on to win the Heineken Cup after they produced a superb performance to stun English champions Harlequins in their quarter-final tie at the Stoop.

See our racing and greyhound pages in All About Cork P7-10

Rob Penney’s side face a huge challenge against Clermont Auvergne in the semi-final in Montpellier on April 27, but Zebo claims that yesterday’s 18-12 victory in west London has fuelled the side with belief. Munster have endured an inconsistent season and only scraped into the quarter-finals as the eighth best seed, but they

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Ladies football: Rampant Rebels humble Donegal: P48

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RUGBY

showed the best of themselves yesterday — particularly during a game-changing spell of 15 minutes at the start of the second half. With Paul O’Connell magnificent in what was only the third game of his comeback and Ronan O’Gara recovering from two early misses to score all 18 points, the old-guard showed they still have a huge amount to offer. But with the likes of Tommy O’Donnell and Peter O’Mahoney also impressing, Zebo believes this is a squad that can emulate the Heineken Cup-winning sides of 2006

and 2008. And after making a hugely impressive return from injury himself, Zebo sounded a rallying call for his side. “There’s no mountain we can’t climb,” he said. “It’s exciting times for Munster Rugby. I feel we can do it (win the Heineken Cup). We will look forward to Leinster next Saturday (in the RaboDirect), that’s the next job, and we’ll take Clermont when they come. “Harlequins are a really tough side. But that first 20 minutes of the second half was crucial and I’m just glad we managed to come out on top in that period of the game.” ● See more P46-47.

SOCCER: Five pages of local soccer: P39-43

Rebels reign is at an end IN stark contrast to last season, Cork will have no involvement in the knockout stages of either national league this time as a result of the footballers defeat by Mayo yesterday. Last year both the hurlers and the footballers reached their respective finals, the footballers in fact appearing in their third Division One final on the trot. After Cork hurlers’ relegation decider with Clare next Sunday, both teams must rely on challenge encounters before they embark on the championship trail, the footballers against Limerick next month and the hurlers against Waterford or Clare in June. There are serious financial implications too for the County Board as a result of the end of the league campaign with the take from the participation in the secondary competitions being reduced considerably from 2012.

FOOTBALL

By JOHN HORGAN The footballers led by six points at one stage against Mayo yesterday but the Westerners turned things around with three points before half-time and they subsequently clinched their place in the semi-finals with two superb points from sideline kicks by Killian O’Connor in the closing sequences. A feature of the Cork team was that for the first time in the campaign they lined out as selected but it was all to no avail in the end. Mayo will now play Dublin in one of the semi-finals with Kildare playing Tyrone in the other. Cork and Kerry, who defeated Tyrone, finished level on six points apiece, fifth and sixth in the table respectively because of Cork’s better points difference. ● See P52-53 for more.

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