Lunchtime Sports Update

RUGBY

Paul O’Connell has taken another step in his early coaching career.

The former Lions, Ireland and Munster captain has been appointed as an assistant coach with the Irish Under 20s.


O’Connell who retired in 2015 has been working in an advisory role with the Munster academy.

The Ireland Under 20s will step up preparations for the Six Nations, with a game against Leinster A in Donneybrook on Thursday.

They will then play Munster A at Thomond Park on the 29th of December.

Stuart Lancaster has rejected suggestions concussion could bring Johnny Sexton’s career to an early end.

The Leinster out-half is following return to play protocols after suffering a head injury in Saturday’s Champions Cup win over the Exeter Chiefs.

Sexton was stood down by doctors for 12 weeks in 2015, having had four concussive episodes in the space of a year.

Former England boss Lancaster, who is currently the Leinster senior coach, feels Sexton’s latest injury isn’t a case of serious concern…………

SOCCER

Manchester United are aiming to avoid an upset in the League Cup quarter-finals tonight.

They go to Championship promotion contenders Bristol City with kick off at 8pm.

Old Trafford boss Jose Mourinho says he’s wary of their opponents………………

Bristol City boss Lee Johnson says going up against Old Trafford boss Jose Mourinho’s something special and he hopes to catch up with him at full-time……………

Bournemouth get a break from their poor Premier League form this evening – but things don’t get much easier.

They face Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the League Cup quarter-finals at 7.45.

Eddie Howe’s side are now just a point above the top flight relegation zone.

But he says that doesn’t mean they’ll dismiss tonight’s competition…………..

Celtic will aim to bounce back from their first defeat in 70 domestic games tonight.

The Scottish Premiership leaders welcome bottom side Partick Thistle to Parkhead, just three days after their record-breaking unbeaten run was ended with the 4-nil defeat to Hearts.

Republic of Ireland Under 21 goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara has signed a new contact with Manchester United.

The Manchester born player, who qualifies for Ireland through his grandparents and has cousins in Ballyheigue, has put pen to paper on a deal which will run until 2020.

O’Hara has been a regular for the Red Devils’ reserves this season.

St Patrick’s Athletic have confirmed the signing of Kevin Toner from Aston Villa.

The former Republic of Ireland Under 19 defender made 4 Premier League appearances for Villa.

He is returning to Dublin following loan spells at Kidderminster, Bradford and Stevenage.

HORSE RACING

Jockey Paul Townend will be riding most of the big stars from the Willie Mullins yard at the Leopardstown Christmas festival as Ruby Walsh remains sidelined with injury.

Townend told Dave Keena it is a great opportunity for him and he is excited about the four big days ahead………

Of all the horses that Paul Townend will ride at the Leopardstown Christmas festival, he is most looking forward to riding Faugheen.

Townend was in the saddle when Faugheen won on his seasonal reappearance in the Morgiana Hurdle at Punchestown and he told Dave Keena he can’t wait to get back on board in the Grade 1 Ryanair Hurdle……….

The enigmatic Yorkhill is set to run in the Grade 1 Leopardstown Christmas Chase and he will be ridden by Paul Townend.

He says he faces a tough task as he steps up to three miles for the first time and even though he is hugely talented he can be quirky………….

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