Morning Sports Update

SOCCER

It’s one of the biggest fixtures of the Premier League calendar this lunchtime as Liverpool welcome their great rivals Manchester United to Anfield.

Liverpool have won once in their past seven games in all competitions while United are unbeaten in the fixture since 2014.

Kick-off is at half-twelve.

Reigning champions Chelsea make the trip to basement side Crystal Palace in one of five 3 o’clock games.

Leaders Manchester City host Stoke, Burnley take on West Ham and Swansea go up against Huddersfield while Spurs look to get their first league win at temporary home Wembley when they play Bournemouth.

The late kick-off sees Watford host Arsenal at half-five.

Limerick look to ease their relegation concerns with a win against Drogheda in the S-S-E Airtricity League Premier Division this evening.

Drogs travel to Market’s Field having already been relegated while Limerick are two-points above the drop zone.

Cork City can secure the S-S-E Airtricity League Premier Division title with a draw against Derry on Monday night.

The champions-elect were held to a scoreless draw at Bohemians last night while holders Dundalk beat Bray 1-nil.

Finn Harps’ slim survival hopes were further dented by a 3-nil loss to their rivals Derry City.

While Galway and St Pat’s drew 1-all.

Steve Cotterill’s off to a winning start as Birmingham manager.

His side beat Championship leaders Cardiff 1-nil in his first game in charge.

Bristol City against Burton finished goalless.

Rangers have moved within three points of Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic.

Pedro Caixinha’s side secured a 3-nil win at St Johnstone.

The home team had captain Steven Anderson sent-off in the second-half after he picked up two yellow cards.

RUGBY

Ulster are up and running with a win in Pool One of the Champions Cup.

Two tries in a three-minute spell in the second-half from Jacob Stockdale and Stuart McCloskey were the platform for a 19-9 victory over Wasps at Kingspan Stadium last night.

Leinster host French Top-14 side Montpellier at the RDS this lunchtime in Pool 3 of the Champions Cup.

Star out-half Johnny Sexton is out for the Blues with a dead leg while his Lions team-mate Sean O’Brien also misses out with a calf problem.

Kick off is at 1.

Bundee Aki has been rested for Connacht’s Challenge Cup opener against Oyannax in Geneva this evening – where there’s a 7 o’clock start.

Fly-half Andrew Deegan and loosehead prop Denis Coulson will both make their European debuts for the Westerners.

While Irish internationals Finlay Bealham and Kerry’s Ultan Dillane both start in the pack.

GOLF

Paul Dunne is seven shots off the lead heading into today’s third round at the Italian Open in Milan.

The Wicklow man will tee off from six-under with Marcus Fraser and Matt Wallace sharing the lead at 13-under.

Graeme McDowell is back out from four-under this morning.


GAELIC GAMES

For the second year in-a-row, it’s Cluainín Iomáint against Carrick in the Leitrim Senior Hurling Final.

Cluainín Iomáint won the 2016 decider by eight-points.

Throw-in at Carrick-on-Shannon is at 3.

It’s also football semi-final day in Dublin and Clare.

Reigning champions Kilmurry-Ibrickane continue the defence of their crown in the Banner County when they face Cratloe at Cusack Park from 4pm.

It’s a double header at Parnell Park in the last-four of the Dublin Senior Football.

Ballymun Kickhams face Kilmacud Crokes at 5 with Leinster Club champions St Vincent’s facing St Jude’s at a quarter-to-seven.

HORSE RACING

After Pat Smullen narrowed the gap to just two, Colin Keane regained his three winner advantage in the race to be crowned champion Flat rider with a win aboard Ben Rumson in the closing race at Dundalk last evening.

Ben Rumson, trained by Tom McCourt, had too much to spare in the finish of the Crown Plaza-sponsored handicap. He held the challenge of Jock Talk, ridden by Pat Smullen in second. Keane has never won the title before.

Goldrush, a daughter of Frankel out of the great racemare Alexander Goldrun, made it two out of two on the racetrack last evening, as she won the Al Basti Equiworld Carlingford Stakes at Dundalk.

Trained by Jim Bolger and ridden by Kevin Manning, the China Racing Club-owned filly narrowly got the better of Marshall Jennings. She was a 3-1 favourite.

The Navigation Stakes (3.20) over an extended mile is the feature event on a seven-race card at Cork this afternoon where both Pat Smullen and Colin Keane continue their duel at the head of the Irish title race.

Both riders have several fancied rides at the meeting. Keane teams up with Brendan Bracken in the feature event and the nine-time winner relishes testing ground and is the highest rated runner among the 10 declared. Smullen is booked by Piltown trainer Joseph O’Brien to ride Reckless Gold, a Curragh maiden winner last season, while Jessica Harrington is doubly-represented with Colm O’Donoghue teaming up on Pincheck with Shane Foley booked to ride stable companion Gymkhana.

Smullen (40) will fancy his chances on top-weight Sebastiano Ricci in the seven-runner Ricky Healy Appeal Nursery Handicap (3.55) while

Always Dancing has won twice this year for Ger Lyons and Colin Keane and bids for a hat-trick in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Fillies Handicap (4.30). This progressive filly won’t have things easy though in what looks a competitive heat with Smullen on Byron Beauty for in-form Ardee trainer Harry Rogers and Colm O’Donoghue aboard Rickrack for trainer Jessica Harrington among those with prospects.

The going at Cork is currently soft, soft too heavy in places.