Lunchtime Sports Update

RUGBY

Munster’s handling of a possible head injury suffered by Conor Murray at the weekend is set to be reviewed by the EPCR.

The scrum-half was examined on the field after a clash with Glasgow’s Tim Swinson, and was then called for a Head Injury Assessment after making a heavy tackle just moments later.

Murray then passed the HIA and returned to the game.

It’s understood the governing body is to set up an independent review group to look at the circumstances surrounding the incident.

In other Munster news the province have confirmed that this Saturday’s Champions Cup game at home to Racing 92 has now sold out.

Ulster have announced two new signings, just 24 hours after their European Champions Cup campaign all but came to an end.

Scrumhalf John Cooney has signed from neighbours Connacht, and South African flanker Arno Botha wil join up with the squad at the end of the Super Rugby campaign in the summer.

Botha was twice capped by South Africa in 2013 and captained his country in the Under 20 World Championships two years earlier.

SOCCER

Preston North End are the latest club to be linked with Ireland’s all-time record goalscorer Robbie Keane.

The 36 year old has been without a team since leaving LA Galaxy at the end of last year.

According to reports in Preston their manager Simon Grayson is interested in the striker, but his wage demands could prove to be a stumbling block.

Four Irishmen started for Preston in their win over Brighton last weekend, including Aidan McGeady and new signing Daryl Horgan.

Tottenham should learn the extent of Jan Vertonghen’s ankle injury today.

The Belgium defender suffered the injury in the win over West Brom on Saturday, and there are fears he may have sustained serious ligament damage.

Vertonghen has been a crucial member of the Spurs squad who have won their last six league games.

HORSE RACING

Jockey Jack Kennedy has secured yet another landmark by passing 50 winners for the season at the age of just 17.

The Dingle teenager reached the milestone at Fairyhouse yesterday, taking advantage of the absence of the injured Bryan Cooper.

Kennedy combined with his boss Gordon Elliott to land a double which included the feature event on Ball D’Arc.

He’s been speaking with Dave Keena

Supreme Racing syndicate manager Steve Massey is hoping his racing fairytale continues at the Cheltenham Festival with unbeaten mare Airlie Beach, who is most likely to run in the mares’ novice hurdle over 2m1f.

An impressive winner of the Grade 1 Royal Bond Novice Hurdle in December, Airlie Beach could go for the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle or the Trull House Stud Mares’ Novices’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, but Massey will leave running plans to trainer Willie Mullins.

“If Willie was to say we’ll run in the Supreme Novices’ we’d say great.

“However, it’s not every day you have a favourite for a race, which she is for the mares’ novice after her Grade 1 win,” Massey said.

“There’s the Supreme option for her, but I’d say she’s more likely to run in the mares’ novice. Both races are over two miles and Willie will have the final say.
“It’s possible she may run next in the Deloitte Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown or she could go straight to the festival.”

TENNIS

Women’s defending champion and top seed Angelique Kerber’s into the second round of the Australian Open.

She endured a tough match at the Rod Laver Arena though – beating Ukraine’s Lesia Tsurenko in three sets.

She won 6-2, 5-7, 6-2 in Melbourne.

Roger Federer, Andy Murray and Stan Wawrinka are some of the big names safely through to the 2nd round of the Australian Open.

The shock of Day 1 came in the women’s draw where fourth seed Simona Halep was knocked out in straight sets.