Evening Sports Update

RUGBY

Johnny Sexton is fit to face Italy in the Six Nations on Sunday week.

The Leinster out-half trained with the squad today, a week after being forced off in Ireland’s win at Scotland after failing a head injury assessment.


Defence coach Andy Farrell says the world player of the year is good to go in Rome

Robbie Henshaw is expected to return to training early next week after recovering from a dead leg but Tadhg Beirne and Garry Ringrose remain doubts for the game with Italy.

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Ireland hooker Sean Cronin believes they can still retain their Six Nations title this season.

Joe Schmidt’s side sit in fourth place having won one and lost one of their opening two matches.

Ireland will need to win their last three games to have a chance of securing the Championship – and Cronin says they’ll keep battling

Kieran Marmion will play his first game since November tomorrow.

The Ireland scrum-half is on the Connacht bench for their Guinness Pro14 match against the Cheetahs at the Sportsground.

Marmion’s been sidelined since having ankle surgery after Ireland’s win over New Zealand.

Prop Andrew Porter starts for Leinster in their game at Zebre tomorrow.

Munster host the Southern Kings at Irish Independent Park tonight while Ulster are away to the Ospreys.

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Wales full-back Leigh Halfpenny’s chances of facing England in the Six Nations remain slim after he was ruled out of Scarlets action this weekend.

The 30-year-old was released back to his club but is not part of their squad to travel to Benetton.

Halfpenny has recently returned to full training but has not tasted match action since November owing to concussion issues.

SOCCER

Manchester United have been dealt a double injury blow ahead of their FA Cup fifth round clash at Chelsea on Monday night.

Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial have been ruled out for between two and three weeks.

Both picked up problems in the Champions League defeat to Paris Saint-Germain.

Dundalk begin life without Stephen Kenny tonight.

The reigning champions host Sligo Rovers on the opening night of the new S-S-E Airtricity League Premier Division season.

St Pat’s welcome last year’s runners-up Cork City to Richmond Park while Waterford welcome Shamrock Rovers to the R-S-C.

Last year’s First Division winners U-C-D go to Derry City while Bohemians host Finn Harps.

All five games kick-off at a quarter-to-eight.

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Queens Park Rangers will hope to pull off an upset and reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup for the first time since 1995 later.

The Championship side host Watford from the top flight in this evening’s opening fifth round tie.

QPR’s opponents head into the game in fine form though, having lost just two of their last 13 matches in all competitions.

Chelsea and Malmo are facing potential UEFA disciplinary action following last night’s Europa League match.

The Londoners have been charged with throwing objects, and their supporters invading the pitch, during the first leg of the last-32 tie in Sweden.

Meanwhile, their opponents have also been charged with throwing objects – as well as setting off fireworks.

Chelsea will take a narrow 2-1 lead back to Stamford Bridge.

RACING

The Bobbyjo Chase at Fairyhouse looks the next target for Cheltenham Gold Cup favourite Presenting Percy – after connections elected to sidestep tomorrow’s Red Mills at Gowran Park.

Owner Philip Reynolds insists the horse is in ‘good health’ and says they felt he just didn’t need a run this weekend.

Reynolds added that a pre Cheltenham run out in the Bobbyjo on February 23rd remains an option, though Presenting Percy could go straight to the festival next month.

GOLF

Michael Hoey is four shots off the lead at four-under-par heading into the weekend at the World Super Six event in Perth.

The Ulster man followed up yesterday’s 68 with a round of 72 today.

Wicklow’s Paul Dunne shot 68 to move to three-under-par after two rounds.

CRICKET

Ireland have suffered a six-wicket defeat to Scotland at the Quadrangular T-20 Series in Oman.

Kevin O’Brien scored 65 runs as Ireland set Scotland a total of 181 to chase – which the Scots achieved with nine balls to spare.

Captain Kyle Coetzer top scored for Scotland with 74 runs with George Munsey hitting 50.

SNOOKER

Former world champion Stuart Bingham is into the semi-finals of the Welsh Open.

The English Open winner has eased to a 5-2 win over Zhao Xintong (pron: Jow Zin-tong) in Cardiff.

Bingham will play either John Higgins or Joe O’Connor in the last-four.