Windies women opener, Hayley Matthews scored her first T20 International century in a savage display in the third game of the Hanley Energy T20 Series against Ireland. 

 A blistering unbeaten century from Windies opener Hayley Matthews put the team in perfect position to complete a sweep of Ireland Women, at the Pembroke Cricket Club on Wednesday.

 Despite the Windies already holding a 2-0 lead, the 23-year-old was in no mood to take things easy as her savage 107 runs from just 62 balls pushed the regional team to an impressive 188 for one.  Matthews’ innings consisted of seven fours and an astonishing 9 sixes.

The total was the player’s first century in the format, in the process becoming the 11th woman to reach the triple digit mark in the format.  Taylor received outstanding support from Chedean Nation, who compiled a brisk 63 from 46 balls, and also remained unbeaten at the crease.  Nation hit two sixes and six boundaries in the total. 

The Windies lost Britney Cooper early, with 26 runs on the board, but had very few issues afterwards as Matthews and Nation took the bowling attack apart. 

Sophie MacMahon took the lone wicket of Cooper but went for a costly 36 runs.  The Windies won the first match by 64 runs, before winning the second match by 45 runs.

A steady showing from the Windies Women top order saw the team coast to a 45-run win, which wrapped up the T20 series against Ireland at the Pembroke Cricket Club on Tuesday.

Hayley Matthews cracked a timely 33 from 32 balls, Britney Cooper added 20 from 11 and Stacy-Ann King 34 from 33, their efforts forming the base of the Windies total of 157 for 6.  For the Irish, who struggled to remain competitive, it was captain Kim Garth who did most of the damage with the ball after claiming 3 for 22.

In response, it was Garth who showed up to be counted for Irish again with the bat, her unbeaten 51 runs from 48 balls threatening to keep the match competitive.  In the end, however, opener Mary Waldron, who crafted 25 from 28, proved to be the only support Garth would get.  With the exception of Gaby Lewis, who crafted 11 from 11, the rest of the Ireland team would fail to get into double figures.

  King and Afy Fletcher got the majority of the wickets for the West Indies after claiming two each.  King captured 2 for 15, while Fletcher ended with 2 for 20.  The Windies Women will take a 2-0 lead into their final fixture against the Irish on Wednesday.

Rob Kearney has signed a new deal with the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) until the end of next season.

The Leinster and Ireland full-back, the most decorated player in Irish rugby, had been seeking a two-year deal.

That has not been forthcoming but Kearney is at least sure of playing his 15th professional season in Ireland.

Kearney has won 90 caps for his country, featuring in two World Cups for Ireland and helping them to a pair of Six Nations Grand Slams.

He has also lifted four Champions Cups, a Challenge Cup and five league titles with Leinster.

"I am feeling pretty good about where I am physically and mentally after a long season which has contained a few lows but also some massive highs," Kearney said.

"There are goals I still want to achieve with both Leinster and Ireland next season but I will enjoy a couple of weeks off now before getting stuck into what will be a hugely exciting season for Irish rugby."

Ireland back-row Sean O'Brien has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup due to surgery on a hip injury that will keep him out for six months.

O'Brien did not feature for Leinster as they defeat Glasgow Warriors on Saturday to clinch the Pro14 title, although he did lift the trophy in his final match for the club.

The 32-year-old has agreed a deal to join newly promoted London Irish in the Premiership following the World Cup.

But O'Brien will not be involved in the tournament in Japan, Leinster revealed on Sunday, as he requires an operation to fix his hip.

A club statement read: "Unfortunately, [coach Leo] Cullen has confirmed that back row Sean O'Brien will undergo surgery in the next few weeks for a hip injury and, as a result, will be ruled out of action for up to six months.

"As a result, he has been ruled out of the Rugby World Cup in Japan."

It added: "Everyone at Leinster Rugby wishes Sean the very best of luck with his recovery and, of course, with his move to London Irish later in the year."

London Irish director of rugby Declan Kidney said: "We are disappointed for Sean that he is not in a position to compete for a place in the Ireland Rugby World Cup squad.

"We wish him a successful operation and a speedy recovery and look forward to welcoming him to London Irish for the next stage of his career."

Mohammad Shahzad's sixth one-day international century and captain Gulbadin Naib's 6-43 ensured Afghanistan got back on track ahead of the Cricket World Cup with a 126-run thrashing of Ireland.

Afghanistan's preparations for the 50-over showpiece were hit by a disappointing 72-run loss to the Irish in Belfast on Sunday, but, two just days later, Naib's men bounced back at the same venue with a commanding display.

Ireland inserted Afghanistan and Shahzad made 101, putting on 150 for the second wicket with Rahmat Shah (62), as the tourists posted 305-7 - the highest total ever recorded at the ground.

Chasing that down proved beyond the Irish, for whom Paul Stirling (50) recorded a fourth straight half-century. as Naib tore through the middle order and returned the third-best figures for an Afghanistan bowler in an ODI, with the hosts dismissed for 179 in the 42nd over.

Shahzad had been among those to struggle two days earlier, taking 14 balls to make two before being pinned lbw, but he came down the track to launch the first delivery for one of 16 fours in a signal of intent.

Rahmat and Shahzad both fell to Andy McBrine in the same over but Najibullah Zadran's unbeaten 60 from 33 balls, which included seven boundaries and three maximums, pushed Afghanistan over 300.

Ireland were well behind the required rate when Stirling holed out to deep square leg to give Naib his second wicket, and Gary Wilson (34) was the only other batsman to record more than 20 as Afghanistan sealed a comprehensive victory.

Afghanistan now face Pakistan and England in World Cup warm-up matches before their tournament begins on June 1 against Australia.

Leinster and Ireland prop Cian Healy has signed a new two-year deal with the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU).

The 31-year-old forward has agreed to remain with the Pro14 champions and European Champions Cup runners-up until the end of the 2021 season.

Healy, capped 88 times by Ireland, is excited by what the future holds for club and country after putting pen to paper on an extension four days before Leinster face Glasgow Warriors in the Pro14 final.

"Pulling on a Leinster or an Ireland jersey is something that I have always taken a huge amount of pride in and I am thankful for every opportunity I get. I am delighted therefore to have extended my IRFU contract and to continue to line up for Leinster." said Healy.

"I believe that we have built something special at Leinster and with the national team and I want to contribute as best I can to both teams in what will be a hugely exciting few months and years ahead. 

"There has been some difficult times over the last few years for me personally with injury but the support within the Leinster and the Irish rugby family was very humbling and it's something that I won't forget.

"It made this decision all the easier knowing that I was part of something bigger than just a rugby team. I hope to play my part in helping Leinster and Ireland achieve further success over the next few years and I'm looking forward to the next chapter in that journey."

Afghanistan's Cricket World Cup preparations were dented by a lacklustre 72-run defeat to Ireland in Sunday's first one-day international in Belfast.

A third-wicket stand of 99 from Paul Stirling (71) and captain William Porterfield (53) helped Ireland to a modest total of 210 all out.

But Mark Adair claimed 4-19 as Afghanistan's were ruthlessly exposed and they were all out for 138 inside 36 overs.

Ireland failed to win a match in a recent tri-series with Bangladesh and West Indies and the early losses of James McCollum (4) and Andy Balbirnie (4) did little to boost their confidence.

Stirling made six fours and two maximums from a 94-ball knock, though, while Porterfield added six boundaries. 

Kevin O'Brien made 32 before the tail was swept up with relative ease by Aftab Alam (3-28) and Dawlat Zadran (3-35).

Afghanistan's innings started badly with Mohammad Shahzad making just two before being trapped leg before by Tim Murtagh and the same man accounted for Rahmat Shah (4).

Adair bowled Hazratullah Zazai (14) and also stopped Hashmatullah Shahidi (12) and Gulbadin Naib (20) in their tracks.

Asghar Afghan (29) and Mohammad Nabi (27) made decent starts without really kicking on as Afghanistan's final six wickets went for just 44 runs.

Shakib Al Hasan retired hurt with a side injury during Bangladesh's comprehensive six-wicket win over Ireland in the one-day international tri-nation series in Dublin, raising concerns ahead of the Cricket World Cup.

The all-rounder was on 50 not out after 51 balls of his innings as Bangladesh chased 293 for victory, but decided he could not continue at the end of the 36th over in a concerning moment for his country with the World Cup only a fortnight away.

Shakib, who captains Bangladesh in the Test and T20I formats, had been seen holding his left side and received lengthy treatment from the physio in the previous over, as well as showing visible signs of pain after playing a pull shot following the treatment.

Without Shakib, Bangladesh reached their target with seven overs to spare to make it three straight wins in the tournament. 

Openers Liton Das and Tamim Iqbal both hit half-centuries with scores of 76 and 57 respectively, while Mahmudullah (35no) and Sabbir Rahman (7no) finished the job.

Their win came despite impressive efforts from Ireland stalwarts Paul Stirling and captain William Porterfield as Ireland reached 292-8 from their 50 overs.

Opener Stirling smashed his eighth ODI hundred in an innings of 130 that included eight fours and four maximums, while captain Porterfield added 94, the duo putting on 174 for the third wicket. 

But both men were removed by the impressive Abu Jayed, who recorded figures of 5-58 in only his second ODI appearance, and there were no other contributions of note from the hosts.

Bangladesh will play West Indies at Malahide in the final on Friday.

 

Windies middle-order batsman turned opener, Sunil Ambris, is filled with pride at becoming the first man from St Vincent and the Grenadines to score an international century after his heroics for the Windies saw the Caribbean side romping to a five-wicket victory against Ireland in the Walton Tri-Series in Malahide Cricket Ground in Dublin on Saturday. 

Sunil Ambris' superb 148 inspired West Indies to their highest successful run chase in an ODI as they saw off Ireland by five wickets to go top of the tri-series table on Saturday.

Ireland recorded their fifth-highest ODI total, with Andy Balbirnie making 135 off 124 deliveries and sharing a 146-run union with Paul Stirling (77) to lift the hosts to 327-5 in the first innings at Malahide.

But Ambris, who was not included in West Indies' Cricket World Cup squad, blasted a career-high 148 off 125 deliveries, hitting 19 fours and one six before succumbing to a Boyd Rankin (3-65) slow ball.

The Windies required 76 from their last 10 overs and Jonathan Carter (43 not out) and captain Jason Holder (36) upped the tempo to round off a memorable win with 13 balls remaining.

Having walked in early following James McCollum's dismissal for just five, Balbirnie anchored Ireland's innings.

Balbirnie swiftly settled into his rhythm, striking 11 fours and four sixes in total, with Stirling keeping pace at the other end with a string of boundaries.

The partnership came to an end when Stirling edged to fine leg off Shannon Gabriel, who removed William Porterfield in his next over, but Ireland's platform was established and Kevin O'Brien (63 off 40) and Mark Adair (25no) set West Indies a target of 328.

Ambris wasted little time in proving his quality in just his fourth ODI appearance, cruising to 50 off just 43 deliveries.

The dismissals of Shai Hope (30) and Darren Bravo (17) did not put Ambris off, and - with Roston Chase (46) ticking over at the other end - the opener brought up his maiden ODI century with a delicate cut towards deep point.

Carter and Holder took the initiative after Ambris fell, ensuring West Indies successfully chased a total of over 300 for just the second time in their ODI history.

St Vincent and the Grenadines batsman Sunil Ambris has scored his maiden One Day International century for the Windies, getting to three figures in a Walton Tri-Series ODI game against Ireland.

A century from Ireland batsman Andy Balbirnie has put the visiting Windies behind the eight-ball during the fourth match of the Walton Tri-Series in Dublin. 

Windies skipper Jason Holder insists the team is determined to put on a much better display in the third One Day International (ODI) against Ireland on Saturday, following a disappointing performance against Bangladesh in the second game.

After getting off to a blazing start with a close to record total of 381 in the first match against Ireland, on the back of centuries from John Campbell and Shai Hope.  The follow-up effort against Bangladesh was far less impressive after the team was dismissed for 264, despite getting off to a solid start.  Holder, however, insisted the team would focus on getting back to basics at the crease.

“I thought we batted really well in the first game and the second game was a little bit tougher in terms of the pace of the wicket and trying to get runs flowing.  We have had a lot of discussions about how we could improve if we find ourselves back in that situation,” Holder said.

“We trying to get 300 plus runs on the board every time that we bat.  Having said that we were just a little bit off the ball in the last game.  This game we are just looking to so do a few things better and get to that 300 mark.”

London Irish have announced Paddy Jackson as their latest signing ahead of their return to the Premiership.

The Exiles, who have won the Championship this term, have already secured the notable signatures of Sean O'Brien and Sekope Kepu ahead of next season.

And Jackson will also join the club after a single campaign with Perpignan in the Top 14.

Jackson moved to France after his central contract with Ireland and Ulster was cancelled in April 2018 following a trial at Belfast Crown Court, at which he was acquitted of a rape charge.

He has not featured for Ireland since, although performance director David Nucifora last year suggested a future return could not be ruled out.

Jackson has made 25 appearances for his country and will link up with former national team coach Declan Kidney, who gave him his first cap, at London Irish.

Director of rugby Kidney said: "Players of the calibre of Paddy Jackson do not become available very often and both myself and Les [Kiss, head coach] are looking forward to working with him in the future."

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