Evening Sports Update

RUGBY

Peter O’Mahony has emerged as a doubt for Munster’s crucial final Champions Cup pool game with Castres.

The captain is nursing an ankle injury following last Sunday’s bonus point defeat at Racing.


Head coach Johann van Graan says they’ll monitor the injury this week, but he remains hopeful O’Mahony will be fit for Sunday’s game at Thomond Park.

Van Graan is also backing their controversial lock, Gerbrandt Grobler.

The province have been criticised for signing a player that had previously served a drugs ban.

In 2014, Grobler was found to have used a banned steroid when tested following a Currie Cup match.

But Van Graan says Grobler has served his sentence and the press criticism hasn’t changed his stance

SOCCER

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte isn’t aware of any approach for Arsenal’s Alexis Sanchez.

It’s reported his club are interested – after Manchester City pulled out of the race to sign the forward.

Manchester United are the favourites to bring him in.

But the agent of Henrik Mkhitaryan says a deal to bring Sanchez to Old Trafford, is dependent on the Armenian moving to Arsenal.

Mino Raiola says if his client decides to stay or go elsewhere, then Sanchez will not become a Manchester United player.

It’s understood Theo Walcott could have a medical at Everton today ahead of a potential move from Arsenal.

The England forward’s on Merseyside to negotiate a transfer.

Southampton were also thought to be interested in re-signing Walcott – who left the south coast club in 2006.

SNOOKER

Ronnie O’Sullivan is comfortably through to round 2 of The Masters.

He needed just an hour and 22-minutes to beat Marco Fu 6-frames to nil at Alexandra Palace.

The seven-time Masters champion will face Mark Allen in the second round.

Later, Barry Hawkins takes on Kyren Wilson.

BOXING

An April homecoming for Katie Taylor remains up in the air, according to her promoter Eddie Hearn.

The WBA women’s lightweight champion was slated to defend her title in Dublin on April 14th.

But with Andy Lee emerging as a potential opponent for Daniel Jacobs in Brooklyn on April 28th, Hearn is hoping to double the Irish involvement on that card.

Hearn claims politics are standing in the way of Cork’s “Spike” O’Sullivan getting that Jacobs fight.

If Taylor fights in New York on April 28th, then Hearn says they’ll aim for a September Dublin date for her.

CRICKET

Andrew Balbirnie’s 67 helped Ireland to a six-wicket victory over Scotland in their first One Day International in Dubai.

Balbirnie reached his total from just 55-balls, as Ireland easily reached their winning target of 220.

The sides will meet again on Thursday.

TENNIS

Novak Djokovic has played down reports that he called for an Australian Open boycott in a demand for more prize money.

The former World Number One is said to have suggested forming a breakaway players’ union during a meeting on Friday.

Djokovic beat Donald Young in the first round of the Grand Slam in Melbourne this morning

It was his first competitive match since July due to an elbow injury.

Defending champion Roger Federer needed just 99-minutes to beat Aljaz Bedene in straight sets.

Women’s top seed Simona Halep breezed past Destanee Aiava 7-6 6-1.

Karolina Pliskova, Garbine Muguruza and Caroline Garcia all safely moved into round 2.

While Maria Sharapova dispatched Tatjana Maria of Germany 6-1 6-4.

RACING

Last year’s Irish Grand National winner Our Duke is one of 22 entries for the Unibet Irish Gold Cup.

The 8-year old was a disappointing seventh on his last appearance at Down Royal in November.

Our Duke faces stiff competition from the Noel Meade-trained Road To Respect on the second day of the Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown next month.

Tomorrow’s meeting at Fairyhouse will be subject to a course inspection.

There is a possibility of heavy snowfall overnight at the County Meath course, with the ground currently described as soft-to-heavy.

If it passes an 8am inspection, the first of an eight-race card will go to post at 12.25.