Evening Sports Update

RACING

The rain continues to fall at Cheltenham ahead of the Festival which starts tomorrow, with conditions certain to favour mudlarks.

Mike Vince is trackside


RUGBY

The Irish management have confirmed that all 36 players are available for this Saturdays showdown with England although some are being treated for “bumps and bruises” after the win over Scotland last Saturday.

The news comes following the expression of concern for Cian Healy who took a knock in the first half of that game.

With more from the camp here’s Oisin Langan

Connacht have confirmed the signing of Robin Copeland.

The back-row forward has signed a two-year contract at the Sportsground after it was announced last week he was to end his four-seasons with Munster.

SOCCER

Michael O’Neill has attempted to clarify his position regarding the F-A-I’s approaching of players from Northern Ireland.

The Northern Ireland manager claimed in a Daily Mail interview that the Republic of Ireland only ever approached Catholic players.

In a statement on the I-F-A website today, O’Neill says that eligibility is not and should not be a political or religious issue.

He also states that the F-A-I have not broken any rules in approaching players.

Where O’Neill sees an issue is players representing a country between the ages of 17 and 21 and then being tempted to play senior football elsewhere.

Michael Carrick has announced he’s to retire at the end of the current season.

The midfielder turns 37 in July, and has made just 4-appearances for Manchester United this term.

Carrick joined United in 2006, helping them to win 5 Premier League titles, and the Champions League in 2008.

He’s in talks to join Jose Mourinho’s coaching team at Old Trafford.

GAELIC GAMES

The G-A-A have announced the details of this Sunday’s Allianz National Hurling League Division One quarter-finals.

Offaly welcome Kilkenny to Tullamore for a 1pm throw-in,

Wexford host All-Ireland champions Galway at 2,

It’s a 3pm start for the meeting of Dublin and Tipperary at Parnell Park,

And having secured promotion to One A yesterday, Limerick host their neighbours Clare at 4.

CRICKET

Ireland are a step closer to a place at the World Cup.

Will Porterfield’s side are through to the super-six stage of the qualifiers following a 226 run win over the United Arab Emirates.

Paul Stirling hit 126 runs as Ireland posted a total 313 before bowling out their opponents for just 91 runs.