Morning Sports Update

SOCCER

The Republic of Ireland kept their World Cup dreams alive with a pulsating 1-nil victory over Wales in their final Group D qualifier in Cardiff last night.

The Boys in Green beat their hosts to the play off spot, thanks to James McClean’s goal.


There were 57 minutes on the clock when the Derryman smashed home a cross from Jeff Hendrick, which Harry Arter had cleverly stepped over.

It was McClean’s 4th goal of the campaign.

The 28 year old says it is a sensational feeling to send his side to the play offs

O’Neill tells Sky Sports News, the fact they got the win they needed in Cardiff makes the achievement even more significant

Midfielder Jeff Hendrick tells Sky Sports News, they were always confident of success going into such a big match

Ireland will learn their next opponents when the draw for the play offs takes place in Zurich next week.

The games will take place next month.

The opening leg is on in the second week of November, with the second leg to be played 7 days later.

Serbia finished as Group D winners, and secured automatic qualification for next year’s finals with a 1-nil win at home to Georgia.

Italy and Croatia are among the sides that Ireland could face in the playoffs.

The Azzurri finished second behind Spain in Group G, and ended their campaign with a 1-nil win away to Albania last night.

Croatia secured second place in Group I with a 2-nil win away to Ukraine.

Iceland have qualified for their first ever World Cup finals, that to a 2-nil victory over Kosovo that secured top spot in Group I.


GAELIC GAMES

D-J Carey will take charge of the Kilkenny Under 21 hurlers next season.

The nine time All Star takes over from Eddie Brenan, who guided the team to the Leinster title and All Ireland final this year.

Carey takes the role having led Carlow I-T to their first Fitzgibbon Cup final in February.

HORSE RACING

The Turf Club referrals committee has ruled that there was insufficient evidence to convict anyone of a riding offence in the Killarney race in which Ana O’Brien suffered horrific injuries on July 18.

O’Brien was riding Druids Cross, trained by her brother Joseph, in a one mile rated race when her mount took a crashing fall after coming into contact with another horse under two furlongs from the finish. Druids Cross suffered fatal injuries and O’Brien has not ridden since.

The referrals committee, which comprised of Justice Tony Hunt, Nick Wachman and Phillip Caffrey, heard evidence from Shane Foley, Oisin Orr, Pat Smullen and Killian Leonard, who all rode in the race, and they were satisfied that no rules were broken by any jockey.

The referrals committee also looked into an incident at Tipperary on September 26 when the filly Sarah Ash Callum appeared to be struck on the face in the parade ring before the horses were mounted for a 5f handicap. Eoghan Norris, who was leading the filly at the time, was found in breach of rule 272 – guilty by conduct or behaviour of acting in a manner which is prejudicial to the integrity, proper conduct or good reputation of horse racing – but decided that a caution was sufficient punishment.

The committee found that the offence was of a lower category to the recent Vincent O’Brien case, where a seven-day suspension was handed out, and took Norris’ previous record and current circumstances into consideration.

We got glimpses of Fayonagh, Shattered Love and Tombstone at Fairyhouse on Saturday, now Gordon Elliott is really starting to spoil us as Poli Roi makes his eagerly awaited hurdling debut in the opening Mervue Maiden Hurdle (2.25) at Galway on today.

The half-brother to seven winners including Le Rocher was held in such high regard that he took on stablemate Fayonagh in the Racing Post Champion Bumper at Punchestown on only his second start under rules. He enhanced his reputation there with a fine third and is expected to rank highly among novice hurdlers this season. Davy Russell takes the ride.
Later on the card, Elliott unleashes Mala Beach in the Ryans Cleaning Chase (4.00) and few would begrudge owner Chris Jones a small slice of consolation after losing last season’s Triumph

Hurdle runner-up Mega Fortune in a fatal fall at Limerick on Sunday.
Mala Beach, runner-up in the 2016 Thyestes Chase at Gowran Park, has been out of action for 561 days but Elliott believes his knee troubles are behind him.
Elliott won the GalwayRaces.com Beginners Chase (4.35) with Diamond King last season and is doubly represented this time around with Davy Russell on Midnight Escape and Keith Donoghue partnering Minella Till Dawn.

The first of seven races is due off at 2.25 and the going is Yielding on the hurdle course and Yielding To Soft on the chase course.