Morning Sports Update

RUGBY

Munster are into the final of the Pro12.

Ospreys lost 23-3 at Thomond Park in the last four.

Scarlets will face Munster in the final on Saturday in Dublin.

Mike O’Halloran reviews the action

GAELIC GAMES

The 2017 All-Ireland Football and Hurling Championships get into full swing this afternoon with six games down for decision.

In hurling old rivals Tipperary and Cork do battle in the opening game of the Munster Championship at Semple Stadium from 4.

Cork manager Kieran Kingston told Red FM the game will be a learning experience for much of his side

At 4 in the Ulster Football Championship, Donegal and Antrim aim to become the first county through to the semi-finals.

The two sides meet in Ballybofey and Donegal manager Rory Gallagher told Highland Radio he’s keen to see their good Provincial record continue

The Connacht championship gets today’s action underway as Mayo face Sligo in their quarter-final encounter from 2, at McHale Park.

In the Leinster Football Championship three games are down for decision in the preliminary round.

Louth take on Wicklow, Laois face Longford and it’s Carlow against Wexford.

All those games throw-in at 3.

SOCCER

It’s the final day of the Premier League season with two Champions League spots to be decided.

Manchester City and Liverpool both have the upper hand, as they go into their games knowing a win guarantees them a top 4 spot.

City travel to Watford where a draw would be enough.

Liverpool are at home to the already relegated Middlesbrough, but failure to win would hand the advantage back to 5th place Arsenal.

Some pundits believe the prospect of the Champions League would make it easier for Liverpool to sign players in the summer, but manager Jurgen Klopp doesn’t support that theory

Arsenal host Everton.

Meanwhile, Chelsea will be awarded the Premier League title after their game at home to bottom club Sunderland, while second place Spurs travel to Hull.

In the afternoon’s other games, Manchester United are home to Crystal Palace, Burnley host West Ham, Leicester take on Bournemouth, Southampton meet Stoke and Swansea face West Brom.

All ties kick off at 3.

At lunchtime today, the top six sides in the Scottish Premiership also play their final games of the season.

Celtic will go the entire league season unbeaten, and finish on an incredible 106 points, if they defeat Hearts at Parkhead.

Elsewhere Rangers travel to St. Johnstone and Partick Thistle face Aberdeen.

BASKETBALL

Ireland’s Senior Men’s and Women’s basketball teams suffered defeat at the hands of Luxembourg this evening in two extremely competitive games. ireland-senior-women

The women’s team took to the court first hoping to improve on their performance against Luxembourg on Friday evening, which saw them lose out by just seven points (67-60). However, it wasn’t to be this evening as, despite a classy and hugely impressive display from Glanmire’s Grainne Dwyer, Luxembourg were on form, losing out 74-55 in the end. Kerry’s Aine McKenna and Emma Sherwood lined out for Ireland in that game.

The Men’s team played out a cracking game against the hosts in their first encounter in Luxembourg this weekend. Lorcan Murphy was the star of the show for the Irish squad, top scoring with 23 points in their 86-79 point loss. Indeed, Pete Strickland’s charges were impressive on all areas of the court, with Jason Killeen and John Carroll also standing firm in the face of the
Luxembourg attack and chipping in with 14 and 17 points respectively. ireland-senior-men

Games continue today.

Basketball Ireland has been awarded the hosting rights for the FIBA Women’s European Championship for Small Countries 2018 it was announced at the annual FIBA Congress in Berlin.

The announcement comes just a few short months after the national governing body was awarded the hosting rights for the FIBA Under 18 Women’s European Championship Division B which will take place in Dublin this coming August.

The Irish Senior Women’s team have competed well in this competition before, finishing in second place in 2016, and it is hoped that next year will see even more success for Mark Scannell’s charges as they showcase the best of Irish basketball on home ground.

Speaking about the announcement, President of Basketball Ireland, Theresa Walsh stated: “The awarding of the tournament is another great boost for Irish basketball and for Irish women in sport – an area in which Basketball Ireland continues to excel.”

Also welcoming the news, Coach Scannell added: “We are absolutely delighted with the news – it’s a huge honour for us. It will be challenge and a big ask, and it’s up to us now to get a great team on the floor and enjoy the home court advantage. We were delighted to get silver last year, and next year, in Ireland, we’ll definitely be going for gold.”

CRICKET

Ireland take on New Zealand today in their final Tri-Nations One Day International at Malahide.

It’s been a disappointing series so far for Ireland, with losses to New Zealand and Bangladesh.

Play gets underway at 11am.

GOLF

Seamus Power is tied for 52nd at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

A 72 dropped him to level par.

James Hahn, on 12 under, has a one-stroke advantage over Billy Horschel.

Lexi Thompson continues to lead the LPGA Kingsmill Championship.

14 under following a 69 that’s 3 better off than In Gee Chun.

MOTORSPORT

Britain’s Cal Crutchlow starts fourth on the grid for the French MotoGP at 1 o’clock.

Championship leader Valentino Rossi shares the front row with Maverick Vinales, who’s on pole.

HORSE RACING

Caravaggio, one of the most exciting three-year-olds in training, will make his eagerly-anticipated return to action in the EMS Copiers Lacken Stakes (4.15) at Naas today.

The Group 1-winning juvenile is unbeaten thus far and will be bidding to continue his winning streak for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore.

A one-time leading 2000 Guineas contender, his participation in this six furlong contest would almost certainly mean he is set to be campaigned over sprinting distances for the forthcoming season, and he is already a top-priced 4-1 favourite to record top sprinting honours in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

Jessica Harrington is another trainer hoping to book a Royal Ascot ticket with the hugely exciting Alpha Centauri, who tackles the Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies Sprint Stakes (3.45).

The daughter of Mastercraftsman made a big impression on her debut at this track at the start of the month when accounting for Actress, who reopossess for O’Brien and Moore again.

The Coolmore War Command Rochestown Stakes (3.15) is another interesting affair and Aidan O’Brien’s Dali goes toe-to-toe with his Dundalk conqueror True Blue Moon, who is trained by Joesph O’Brien.

Racing at Naas is underway at 2.05 and the ground is good to yielding.

Ruby Walsh galvanised Shaneshill on the run-in to overhaul L’Ami Serge as Willie Mullins recorded his fourth victory in just six years in the Grade 2 Prix La Barka Hurdle at Auteuil.

Walsh had dictated a moderate pace aboard Shaneshill, who had suffered a dip in form in his previous two starts since landing the Grade 2 Galmoy Hurdle in January.

“He made a mistake four out but Ruby just gave him a breather turning for home and I hoped he might have enough to get in the first three,” said Mullins. “Once they got over the last he just had that bit more left in the tank.”

Mullins added: “Shaneshill is a good horse who has training difficulties and maybe now he’s coming back to himself. He’ll definitely return here in three weeks [for the French Champion Hurdle].”

While Mullins accepted the trophy for the fourth time, Walsh appeared delighted with his more unusual prize, a hoverboard!

At Cheltenham in the County Hurdle it was Arctic Fire who swooped late to deny L’Ami Serge, and owner Simon Munir – who enjoyed an otherwise near perfect afternoon at Auteuil with three winners on the card – once again saw victory snatched from his grasp late in the day.

“He’s so enthusiastic and those obstacles are made for him, being halfway between a hurdle and little fence,” said trainer Nicky Henderson.

“He looked as if he’d come and won his race, and then Ruby’s has just stayed a bit better. Three miles has never been on the agenda but I wouldn’t want to rule it out.”