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Ulster winger's stock rising

Stockdale was a try-scorer in his first home game in an Ireland jersey Credit: PA

An Ulster star is being tipped to shine as Ireland aim to complete an unbeaten November Series, against Argentina this weekend.

Jacob Stockdale has two tries in his three test outings so far and the former Wallace High School pupil looks set for a starting berth in Joe Schmidt's first XV.

UTV's sports reporter Simon McIntyre has more.

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Crues too strong for Swifts

Credit: Pacemaker

Crusaders continued their good form with a comprehensive 4-0 win over Dungannon Swifts at Stangmore Park.

Two goals in each half sealed a superb three points for Stephen Baxter's side as they cut the gap on second placed Glenavon to within a point.

Rodney Brown headed the visitors in front from a corner after 17 minutes and that lead was doubled on 29 minutes from the penalty spot by Gavin Whyte.

Swifts keeper Stuart Addis was kept busy by the imposing front line of the Crues but after a couple of decent saves he could not stop Whyte from making it 3-0 with ten minutes left to play.

The Crues did not let up and right at the death a fine move ended with David Cushley making the final score 4-0.

Coleraine extend lead with win over Ards

Credit: Pacemaker

Coleraine bounced back to winning ways to defeat Ards 4-1 in their league clash at The Showgrounds on Tuesday night.

The Bannsiders put Saturday's defeat by Linfield behind them to extend their lead at the top to six points.

The home side struck the front on 16 minutes after a corner by Darren McCauley came back off the post for Gareth McConaghie to head home from close range.

Coleraine remained on top but had to wait until the 44th minute before grabbing their second goal, McConaghie again the man on target.

There was no stopping Oran Kearney's side after the restart with Josh Carson adding a third on 63 minutes, after a neat take down he fired a left foot shot into the corner of the net.

The best goal of the night came from Martin Smyth, he controlled the ball brilliantly before smashing an unstoppable half volley home for 4-0 on 76 minutes.

Ards pulled a consolation goal back two minutes from the end through Michael McLelland, but it was a convincing victory for the league leaders.

Ex-U21s coach hopes IFA offer 'entices' O'Neill to stay

Credit: PA

Michael O'Neill's former assistant Stephen Robinson has praised the Irish Football Association's bid to hold on to their manager.

It is understood the IFA is prepared to offer O'Neill a four-year extension to his current deal, which runs until 2020, in order to ward off any advances from the Scottish FA or club sides.

Motherwell boss Robinson, whose name has been linked with the Northern Ireland post, were O'Neill to leave, said he hopes the former Shamrock Rovers man will stay.

"That's the first I've heard of it and I'm delighted," Robinson said. "A six-year contract anywhere in football is great.

"But in terms of what Michael O'Neill has done for Northern Ireland and staying with Northern Ireland, it would be a tremendous coup if they managed to do it," the former U21 coach said.

"Credit to the IFA for trying to do that.

Robinson helped O'Neill guide his country to the knockout stages of Euro 2016 and believes keeping him will be a major boost to both the Northern Ireland team and its fans.

"If Michael stays, it keeps the positivity going because he has simply united the country together, and given real belief to the country.

"Hopefully he will be enticed by that, but I can't speak for Michael. He has earned the right to look at his options and I don't think anyone would begrudge him that."

Triple World Champion Rea 'so proud' to receive MBE

Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Jonathan Rea took time out of his winter testing schedule with Kawasaki Racing Team to return to Buckingham Palace to receive the MBE from HRH Duke of Cambridge today.

The three-time Superbike World Champion was given the honour in recognition of his services to motorcycle racing in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in the summer.

He joins racing legend and fellow Ulsterman Joey Dunlop, along with Superbike champion Carl Fogarty in receiving the award.

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Having been in Jerez with the KRT squad to begin testing with the Kawasaki Ninja ZX-10RR ahead of the 2018 season, Jonathan travelled to London to meet with his wife Tatia and his parents Johnny and Claire to enjoy the lavish ceremony at Buckingham Palace.

Receiving the MBE is a fitting end to a wonderful, history-making season where the Ulsterman became the first rider to win three World SBK titles in a row.

Jonathan will now return to Jerez in Spain to resume testing with the team and will be on track from Wednesday till Friday.

Rea said of the occasion, “It was an incredible experience to receive the MBE today from The Duke of Cambridge.

"The ceremony at Buckingham Palace was so nice and something I will remember forever. To be with so many other amazing people, in those surroundings, receiving their own Honours was really special.

"Being awarded this award outside of my sport it's makes me so proud of what I have achieved and to also be held in the same esteem as Joey Dunlop and Carl Fogarty means an awful lot to me.

"I was really lucky to be joined by my wife Tarsh and Mum and Dad in the audience to witness the presentation. They have been so supportive of everything I have done and achieved so I am super happy that they can be part of this day as well."

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