Morning Sports Update

47 Russian athletes have had their appeals against being banned for the Winter Olympics rejected.

The Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision has been welcomed by the International Olympic Committee.

The games begin in South Korea later today.

The flame will be lit in Pyeongchang this morning.

Snowboarder Seamus O’Connor will lead the five strong Irish team in the ‘Parade of Nations’.

He is honoured to carry the flag

RUGBY

The Irish Rugby team return to the Aviva Stadium this morning.

Joe Schmidt will put his side through their paces on the eve of their Six Nations clash against Italy.

Dan Leavy and Jack Conan are set to make their Championship debuts tomorrow, while Jordan Larmour could earn his first cap from the bench.

Schmidt expects the 20 year old Leinster star to shine

Leinster, Ulster and Connacht are all in Pro 14 action this evening.

The Eastern Province can replace the Scarlets at the top their conference, if they beat Edinburgh in Scotland.

Ulster begin life after Les Kiss with the visit of the Southern Kings to Belfast.

Connacht welcome the Ospreys to the Sportsground.

All of those games kick off at 7.35.


GOLF

Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry are in a good position heading into the second day of the A-T and T Pebble Beach Pro A-M in California.

The pair have both shot 4 under par opening rounds to lie just three strokes off the lead.

Kevin Streelman and Beau Hossler share the top of the leaderboard.

Paul Dunne and Graeme McDowell are 1 under, Seamus Power 1 over, with Padriag Harrington a further three shots back.


GAELIC GAMES

D-I-T last night completed the semi final line-up for the Fitzgibbon Cup.

They got the better of a tight quarter final with UCD at Belfield last night, winning on a scoreline of 19-points to 17 to set up a semi final meeting with D-C-U.

Niall O’Brien scored 11-points as they reached that stage of the competition for the first time in their history.


SOCCER

Philippe Coutinho scored his first goal for Barcelona last night.

The former Liverpool attacker hit the back of the net in the Catalan’s 2-nil win over Valencia in thier Copa Del Rey semi final second leg.

Cardiff City continue their push for a Premier League return tonight.

The Welsh side will move level on points with second place Derby in the Championship, if they win at Millwall.

Kick off at the Den is at 7.45.

HORSE RACING

Curragh-based trainer Darren Bunyan was celebrating in Dubai as his speedy stable star Hit The Bid won the Watch Again Handicap at Meydan and picked up a cheque for over €80,000 in the process.

The four-year-old sprinter travelled kindly for Kerry native Oisin Murphy and crossed the line with a length and three-quarters in hand over Dutch Masterpiece.

Political Policy will make his 51st appearance at Dundalk tonight as he enters the stalls for the ASM Chartered Accountants Race (6.00) and goes in search of a ninth success at Ireland’s only all-weather venue.

It is over two years since Political Policy last tasted success at Dundalk but he shaped with promise on his hurdling debut at Fairyhouse recently and trainer Gavin Cromwell has booked promising young jockey Conor Heavey to take the ride. He looks likely to be sent off favourite and should take some stopping.

The Shabra Charity Race (7.30) is worth €15,000 in prize-money and the sponsor of the race, the popular Rita Shah, will be hoping that her colours can be carried to victory on the Anthony McCann-trained Tell Me.

The first of seven races at Dundalk is due off at 5.30pm.