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Rory McIlroy plans humanitarian mission to Haiti

McIlroy plans humanitarian mission to Haiti during build-up to Masters

By
Graeme Yorke

PUBLISHED:

15:14 GMT, 25 March 2013

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UPDATED:

15:14 GMT, 25 March 2013

Rory McIlroy will spend part of his week before the Masters on a humanitarian mission in Haiti.

McIlroy says he will meet with children and their families April 1 and 2 to see how their lives have changed since the 2010 earthquake that ravaged the country. McIlroy also made a trip to Haiti before going to the U.S. Open in 2011. He won his first major at Congressional with a record score.

Heading back: McIlroy will return to Haiti, where he spent time in 2011

Heading back: McIlroy will return to Haiti, where he spent time in 2011 following the disastrous earthquake

Laying low: McIlroy has been spending time with his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki in Florida

Laying low: McIlroy has been spending time with his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki in Florida

Laying low: McIlroy has been spending time with his girlfriend Caroline Wozniacki in Florida

McIlroy is an Ireland ambassador to UNICEF and has geared his own charity work toward children.

The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland says he is excited to return. He calls Haiti an inspiring and humbling country where children face daily struggles. McIlroy says he hopes his presence can create international awareness of the plight Haitian children are facing.

Out on the range: McIlroy rocked up at a local course to hit some ball on the driving range

Out on the range: McIlroy recently rocked up at a local course in Miami to hit some ball on the driving range

Out on the range: McIlroy rocked up at a local course to hit some ball on the driving range

James McClean never wanted to play for Northern Ireland – Nigel Worthington

EXCLUSIVE: Worthington reveals McClean never wanted to play for Northern Ireland

qualifier against Italy in Pescara and now, almost 18 months after handing the reins to Michael O'Neill, he admits he would return.

'If the opportunity ever came up again, I wouldn't think twice about taking it,' he said.

'I loved every minute of that job. I loved working with the squad and the people behind the scenes were always terrific.'

While
those supporting Worthington in post are fondly remembered, he failed
to leave much of a legacy among the fans, who complained at his
'negative' tactics.

'Some
people will remember sections of the supporters having a go at me
towards the end of my time but I wouldn't say a bad word against them.

'They
were fantastic, loyal and passionate throughout my time in charge and
there is no better sight in football than seeing 13,500 people inside a
bouncing Windsor Park.'

Michael van Gerwen draws with Phil Taylor

Van Gerwen unable to hold out for win over The Power on thrilling opening night

runner-up Simon Whitlock was also a winner at the Odyssey Arena as he crushed a poor Adrian Lewis 7-3.

There was nothing to separate the players early on as the first five legs went with throw. But the Aussie struck a 121 finish to break and go 4-2 up before Lewis hit back immediately to reduce his arrears to 4-3.

Whitlock broke again, though, to lead 5-3 before hitting double top in the next leg to guarantee at least a draw. ‘The Wizard’ didn’t have to wait long to complete his win as the 10th leg summed up Lewis’s evening.

Eagle eyed: Simon Whitlock in action

Eagle eyed: Simon Whitlock in action

The two-time world champion missed six darts at a double and Whitlock stepped in to hit double eight and wrap up a comfortable win in Northern Ireland.

In the first match of the evening, Robert Thornton secured a 7-5 win over Andy Hamilton on his Premier League debut.

The UK Open champion raced into a 5-1 lead and appeared to be cruising towards victory before Hamilton fought back to level at 5-5.

But Thornton checked out a 120 finish against the throw in leg 11 before sealing a 7-5 victory in the deciding leg.

In week one’s other match, perennial Premier League slow starter James Wade earned his first opening-week win since 2008 as he cruised past debutant Wes Newton 7-4.

Frank Lampard can match David Beckham"s 4m wages if he moves to LA Galaxy

Lampard can match Beckham's 4m wages if he makes summer LA Galaxy switch

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UPDATED:

12:17 GMT, 30 December 2012

Frank Lampard will bag up to 4million a year in wages if he moves to LA Galaxy.

The Chelsea midfielder has been told to find another club and could now pocket the same salary as David Beckham if he moves to the MLS, according to the Sun Sunday.

Lampard could also bank an extra $1m (619,000) in merchandise sales, and has been touted as the perfect replacement for Becks. Accepting the deal would make him the highest-paid footballer in MLS.

Yanks for coming: Lampard has been sidelined this year at Chelsea

Yanks for coming: Lampard has been sidelined this year at Chelsea

A source said: 'The club feel Frank is what they’re missing now David has left.

'He has the profile to fill Beckham’s role as the face of the club globally.'

The 34-year old will be considering is future swiftly, since Chelsea advised him he can leave from January 1.

Lampard and his fiance Christine Bleakley thought to have arranged their June wedding in her native Northern Ireland, but a State-side move in 2013 could be an exciting one for television presenter Christine.

End of an era: Beckham's playing days in the US have come to an close

End of an era: Beckham's playing days in the US have come to an close

Arsene Wenger praises Pat Rice after MBE

Wenger heaps praise on Rice after former Arsenal assistant is awarded MBE

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UPDATED:

00:02 GMT, 29 December 2012

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger paid tribute to former assistant Pat Rice as 'someone you could go to war with' after it was announced the long-serving Gunner has been awarded an MBE.

Rice made more than 400 appearances for Arsenal, helping the club win their first league and FA Cup double in 1970-71, while he also won 49 caps for Northern Ireland.

Following his retirement from playing after a spell at Watford in 1984, Rice became a coach with the Gunners and then assistant to Wenger when he was appointed manager in 1996.

Pat Rice

Pat Rice

From player to coach: Pat Rice has a rich history with Arsenal

Rice, 63, played a part in two more doubles and the unbeaten league season of 2003-04 before announcing his retirement at the end of last season 48 years after first joining Arsenal.

Wenger said: 'I am absolutely delighted because if someone deserves it, it's Pat Rice.

'He had 100 per cent genuine commitment every day and you respect that when you see that from somebody, and he is someone you could go to war with. You would love to be in the trenches with Pat and those are very difficult qualities to find in modern society.'

Rice greeted the news with shock and joy, saying: 'I'm delighted and honoured to be receiving an MBE. The news of the award came as a complete surprise and I'm just so flattered to be included in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.

'Football and Arsenal have been my life and I have so many fantastic memories during my career. I have been lucky to have played and worked with so many great individuals, and through hard work I have enjoyed some success along the way.

Team work: Arsene Wenger (left) with Pat Rice at Arsenal

Team work: Arsene Wenger (left) with Pat Rice at Arsenal

'I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has helped me throughout my career, and importantly, a special thank you to all my family, who have always been there for me and supported me throughout my career.'

Sports honours were dominated by athletes, coaches and administrators involved in the London Olympic and Paralympic Games, but St George's Park chairman David Sheepshanks led the way among other sporting figures, receiving a CBE for services to football.

He oversaw the building of the National Football Centre near Burton-upon-Trent, which opened in October, while he was chairman of Ipswich for 13 years from 1995 to 2008.

Sheepshanks, who is also honoured for charitable services in Suffolk, was appointed chairman of the Football League in 1997 and has been involved with the Football Association, UEFA and FIFA.

Recognised: David Sheepshanks

Recognised: David Sheepshanks

Former England cricket captain and Kent president Mike Denness is awarded an OBE for services to sport 37 and a half years after his last Test match.

The 72-year-old, the only Scotsman to captain England, played 28 Test matches, scoring four centuries, and led his country on 19 occasions.

Denness, who later became an International Cricket Council match referee, was named president of the county for which he played for 14 years last December.

Among those to receive MBEs are two more recent England cricketers, Mark Ramprakash and Robert Croft.

Both men retired this summer after long careers in county cricket, with Croft playing for Glamorgan for 23 seasons and Ramprakash representing Middlesex and Surrey.

'This honour eclipses anything I have done in my career,' Ramprakash said.

David Collier, the chief executive of the England and Wales Cricket Board, welcomed the honours for the trio.

He said: 'The award to Mike Denness is fitting recognition for a long and distinguished career in cricket which has seen him fulfil a variety of key roles.

'Mark Ramprakash was among the most supremely gifted batsmen of his generation and can be justifiably proud of being one of an elite band of cricketers who have scored 100 first-class hundreds.

'Very few cricketers achieve the feat of scoring more than 10,000 first-class runs and taking more than 1,000 first-class wickets as Robert Croft did for Glamorgan during a 23-year career. His honour is richly deserved.'

Also awarded OBEs are Catherine Caithness, president of the World Curling Federation, and John Sanderson for services to the horseracing industry.

All out: Mark Ramprakash retired this summer after a long career in cricket

All out: Mark Ramprakash retired this summer after a long career in cricket

The same honour goes to Amanda Reddin, the head national coach for British Gymnastics and personal coach to Beth Tweddle, Britain's most successful female gymnast.

Former Wales and Lions wing JJ Williams receives an MBE for services to rugby and charitable services in Wales.

The 64-year-old won 30 caps for his country between 1973 and 1979 and was selected for the iconic Lions tours in 1974 and 1977, playing in seven Tests.

Former St Helens and Great Britain star Paul Sculthorpe is recognised for his rugby league career and charity work while Colin Appleyard and Elizabeth Littler are also awarded MBEs for services to motorcycle sport and ice skating respectively.

Honoured: John James Williams

Honoured: John James Williams

Former Great Britain hockey player Tina Cullen receives the same award as does Andrew Thomson for services to bowls and James Gundill for services to horseracing.

Finally, Andrew Gairdner is also awarded an MBE following his retirement this summer as voluntary chief steward at Wimbledon after 34 years working at the All England Club.

Sheepshanks was pleased to receive his award in a year he helped oversee the opening of St George's Park.

'I feel both humbled and proud,' he said.

'Of course, it is a wonderful honour to receive personally, but I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for all the special people that I have been privileged to work with along the way, both in the world of football and locally in Suffolk, not least thanks to my wonderful wife and family, whose support is unwavering.

'The year 2012 has been magnificent for all of us at the FA with the opening of St George's Park.

'I feel that I receive this award in recognition of the combined efforts of the fabulous team that I have been fortunate to lead who have designed, built, and now operate St George's Park.'

Evans: Don"t be fooled, out-of-form Magpies strikers Ba and Cisse remain a threat

Evans: Don't be fooled, Magpies strikers Ba and Cisse remain a threat

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UPDATED:

16:20 GMT, 24 December 2012

Jonny Evans remains wary of Newcastle's African jewels despite the Magpies' woeful recent form.

Alan Pardew's men secured only their second win in 12 games with an unconvincing display against QPR on Saturday.

Whereas last season they were scoring goals for fun, this time around it has been far harder, and rather than challenging for a Champions League spot, they have been nervously looking over their shoulders at the drop zone.

Firing blanks: Ba and Cisse have so far failed to replicate last season's impressive form

Firing blanks: Ba and Cisse have so far failed to replicate last season's impressive form

But Evans does not feel that is a reason for Manchester United to take it easy at Old Trafford on Boxing Day.

The Northern Ireland international knows Senegal duo Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse can cause problems for any defence.

'Those guys are both very powerful,' said Evans.

Wary: Evans knows Ba and Cisse have the potential to upset United

Wary: Evans knows Ba and Cisse have the potential to upset United

'What Newcastle do very well is work the ball wide and put it in the box.

'A lot of their goals come that way because Ba and Cisse don't give you a minute.

'When the ball is floating around in the box, they beat people in the air and their goal record is what got Newcastle to where they were last year.'

Fast start: Cisse stole the show when he first arrived on Tyneside

Fast start: Cisse stole the show when he first arrived on Tyneside

United have already beaten the Geordies' twice this term, including in the Premier League at St James' Park with what many feel is still their best 90-minute performance of the campaign.

Evans was one of them men on target, and he accepts it was a performance that set a standard which needs to be followed.

'In the last couple of seasons we have gone away to places like Newcastle and either lost or drawn,' he said.

On the way: Ba has repeatedly been linked with a transfer elsewhere

On the way: Ba has repeatedly been linked with a transfer elsewhere

'This time it was very important to win. We were well prepared, had the right mindset and defended well.

'With the goals as well it was one of our best performances of the season.'

Defending an unbeaten home record against Newcastle that stretches back to 1972 and boasting a four-point lead over Manchester City in the Premier League title battle, Sir Alex Ferguson managed to obscure an indifferent United performance at Swansea yesterday with his amazing comments about Ashley Williams.

Life threatening: Ferguson was angry with Ashley Williams' conduct

Life threatening: Ferguson was angry with Ashley Williams' conduct

Even by Ferguson's outspoken standards, it was a strident accusation, which Wayne Rooney played down almost immediately.

Yet Rooney has his own issues, and picked up his fourth booking of the campaign yesterday, as did fellow striker Robin van Persie.

Wayne Rooney

Robin van Persie

First-choice pair: But both Rooney and Van Persie are on the verge of one-match bans

It means both Ferguson's first-choice front men are a yellow card away from a one-match suspension.

The United boss will not want to risk being without both men during a packed Festive programme, so it would not be a surprise if one sat out Wednesday's fixture.

In Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck, Ferguson has options.

On standby: Javier Hernandez is likely to play some part throughout United's winter schedule

On standby: Javier Hernandez is likely to play some part throughout United's winter schedule

The same applies in other departments too as Darren Fletcher can beef up the Red Devils midfield, as could Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs, who were both restricted to late cameos yesterday.

Rafael needs to shrug off a hamstring injury if he is to be involved, although Chris Smalling would provide an alternative at right-back anyway should Ferguson opt to rest Phil Jones, while Rio Ferdinand is expected to return in place of skipper Nemanja Vidic, who started his first game since September.

That would mean Patrice Evra inheriting the captain's armband, with the Frenchman insisting there is no sense of panic at the loss of two valuable points.

Leader: Evra may again captain United if Vidic is rested

Leader: Evra may again captain United if Vidic is rested

'We have to look at ourselves, not other teams,' said Evra.

'Next we have Newcastle, after that it is West Brom. And we need to win.

'This is the most important part of the season. It is when we always get a lot of points.

'I am not worried. I am really confident for the games that are ahead.'

Jonny Evans signs new Manchester United contract

Ferguson backs Evans to lead United for next decade after defender pens new deal

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UPDATED:

13:09 GMT, 21 December 2012

Sir Alex Ferguson expects Jonny Evans to be a mainstay in the Manchester United defence for the next 10 years after the centre back signed a new three-and-a-half-year deal with the Old Trafford club.

The 24-year-old Northern Ireland international made his United debut as a teenager in the League Cup against Coventry in September 2007 and has now committed to the club until June 2016.

And Ferguson hopes he will remain with the club for the rest of his career.

Done deal: Jonny Evans (right) has signed a new contract at Old Trafford

Done deal: Jonny Evans (right) has signed a new contract at Old Trafford

'Jonny Evans has signed a new contract. We’re very happy
about that and it’s in keeping with our normal policy that when the younger
players get to the second last year of their contract we have to do something
about it,' Ferguson said.

'He’s had a fantastic career for us, progressing all the
time. He’s had one or two injury situations that are hopefully behind him now.
He’s fit for Sunday’s game [against Swansea].

'He fought his way in with his performances last year and when him and Rio played consistently our results improved. We spoke about losing the goals against Manchester City and the leaking of goals at that particular time and those two playing regularly and improved that.

Main man: Evans has grown into his defensive role at Manchester United

Main man: Evans has grown into his defensive role at Manchester United

'Jonny has been
with us since he was a kid. When he was 12 he was at our school of
excellence in Belfast and he always had a talent. When he was younger I
wasn’t sure if he’d be a midfielder or a centre-back because he was a
really good footballer.

'He’s
played over 140 games now and he is established but he’s still young. A
centre-back at 24, he should play for the next 10 years and hopefully
it’s at United.'

Evans added: 'I'm delighted to sign my new contract. I am so proud to play for such a great club, and there's no better feeling than playing football in this team and winning games.'

He added: 'I would love to play here throughout the rest of my career.'

Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler set for unification bout worth 4m

Froch and Kessler set for mouth-watering unification bout with 4m prize pool

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UPDATED:

19:01 GMT, 20 December 2012

Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler will share a staggering 4million pot when they clash for a second time in a mouthwatering unification showdown next year.

The bout is likely to take place at the O2 in London in May, although the Manchester Arena, which last month hosted Ricky Hatton's comeback fight, has not been ruled out.

And such is the scale of the fight, Sky Sports are expected to be convinced to return to pay-per-view for the first time in almost two years after David Haye's limp defeat to Wladimir Klitschko in Hamburg last summer.

Momentous: Carl Froch (left) will face Mikkel Kessler with a 4m pool

Momentous: Carl Froch (left) will face Mikkel Kessler with a 4m pool

Froch narrowly lost to Kessler in the Super Six tournament two years ago in Denmark and the 35-year-old has been desperate to avenge the defeat ever since.

The IBF super-middleweight world champion hopes victory over the Dane will set him up for another rematch with American star Andre Ward as he bids to put right the only two losses on his record.

Quids in: The fight is so big that Sky will return to pay-per-view

Quids in: The fight is so big that Sky will return to pay-per-view

Lucian Bute, who lost his world title to Froch in May, wants his own rematch but is prepared to step aside to allow his conqueror to face Kessler.

The Canadian will continue his comeback from the brutal defeat in Nottingham by having a warm-up fight in the meantime.

Kessler, 33, became a world champion for the fifth time earlier this month when he stopped Northern Ireland's Brian Magee on home soil and will put his WBA belt on the line against Froch.

European champions, World Cup winners: Spain to end 2012 top of FIFA"s world rankings

European champions, World Cup winners: Spain complete full year as the top team in FIFA's world rankings

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UPDATED:

14:53 GMT, 19 December 2012

World and European champions Spain have been rewarded for their ongoing success with the completion of a full year at the top of the FIFA rankings as Brazil plummet to 18th.

Spain's closest competitors are second-placed Germany. Italy, who Spain convincingly beat 4-0 in the summer's European Championship final, climb one place to fourth while England, despite their disappointing progress, remain sixth.

Heading a top 10 that has no new entrees, Spain's placing means they are to end a fifth consecutive year at first in the world rankings.

Spain celebrate winning Euro 2012

Dominant: Spain's summer European Championship triumph followed victory at both the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2008

FIFA RANKINGS

Rankings for December (November positions in parentheses)

1. Spain (1)
2. Germany (2)
3. Argentina (3)
4. Italy (5)
5. Colombia (8)
6. England (6)
7. Portugal (4)
8. Netherlands (7)
9. Russia (9)
10. Croatia (10)
11. Greece (12)
12. Switzerland (16)
13. Ecuador (17)
14. Ivory Coast (15)
15. Mexico (14)
16. Uruguay (11)
17. France (18)
18. Brazil (13)
19. Algeria (19)
20. Sweden (23)

Even if their presence at sixth appears underserved, England are the Home Nations' sole representative in the top 20. Scotland are 72nd, Wales are 82nd and Northern Ireland are joint 96th, while Republic of Ireland are joint 42nd.

The 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil have fallen as a result of playing only non-competitive fixtures and after
their failure to win last month within a rankings system based upon a
four-year results cycle.

They lost 2-1 to rivals Argentina, who remain third, and drew with Colombia, who have surprised many by reaching fifth.

It perhaps should not be overlooked, however, that their defeat to Argentina followed a 2-1 victory over them in September that levelled the aggregate score of their friendly double header at 3-3. When that match – in which only domestic league players were used – then went to penalties, Brazil won 4-3.

Colombia's ascent represents a significant improvement on 2011. At the same stage last year they were the world's 36th best team but six wins, a draw and only one defeat since have ensured their climb.

Ivory Coast are the highest ranked African side, 15th-placed Mexico are North America's highest side and Japan, at 22nd, are Asia's highest.

With 27 teams throughout the top 50 and 10 of the world's top 12 teams, European football remains the overall dominant power.

Spain's Andres Iniesta and Jesus Navas celebrate

Flying high: Spain's status as the world's top team shows no signs of ending

Rory McIlroy named 2012 European Tour golfer of the year

More glory for Rory as world No 1 McIlroy is named European Tour golfer of the year

PUBLISHED:

15:06 GMT, 18 December 2012

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UPDATED:

15:06 GMT, 18 December 2012

World No 1 Rory McIlroy has been named the European Tour golfer of the year.

McIlroy succeeds Luke Donald as winner of the coveted award, having also replicated the Englishman's previously unprecedented achievement of winning both the Race to Dubai and US PGA Tour money list in the same season.

The 23-year-old from Northern Ireland captured his second major title in August, winning the US PGA Championship at Kiawah Island by a record eight shots, matching the winning margin of his maiden major triumph in the 2011 US Open.

Glory boy: Rory McIlroy celebrated his second major success by winning the PGA Championship earlier this year

Glory boy: Rory McIlroy celebrated his second major success by winning the PGA Championship earlier this year

McIlroy also won three times in America before playing a vital role in Europe's stunning Ryder Cup victory at Medinah, while he ended the year in style with five closing birdies to win the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai.

'Everyone who knows me knows how special the 2012 season was,' McIlroy said.

'A couple of wins, including a major, and consistent performances in big events all helped me win The Race to Dubai for the first time.

'To win that was a massive highlight of an amazing season and I hope it will be the first of many. Now, to have been named as The European Tour Golfer of the Year puts the icing on the cake.

Over to you: McIlroy succeeds Luke Donald as winner of the coveted award

Over to you: McIlroy succeeds Luke Donald as winner of the coveted award

'It is a very special honour indeed and you only need to look down the list of players who have preceded me as the winner of this award to see precisely why; quite simply, it is a Who's Who of golf and I'm delighted to now be a part of that in the history books.

'We play golf because we relish the opportunity to win major championships and world-class tournaments around the globe. But when we do that, to be recognised for these achievements is a great thrill and I thank all the members of the panel who voted for me.'