Lunchtime Sports Update

RUGBY

Joe Schmidt is hopeful that Jonathan Sexton and Tadhg Beirne will be fit for Ireland’s next Six Nations game against Italy in Rome.

Sexton is following return to play protocols after suffering a head injury during Saturday’s win over Scotland at Murrayfield.


Beirne has been sidelined with a knee problem,

The Munster lock’s absence has been compounded by injuries to Devin Toner and Iain Henderson.

Schmidt hopes there is a long term benefit from the recent disruption

SOCCER

Marcus Rashford and Victor Lindelof have returned to training ahead of Manchester United’s Champions League clash with Paris St-Germain.

The pair sat out Saturday’s win over Fulham but could be back for the last 16 first leg at Old Trafford.

P-S-G must plan with out star striker Neymar, and are hopeful that Edinson Cavani can overcome the hip injury he suffered at the weekend.

Oldham have confirmed the appointment of former Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes as their new manager.

The 44 year old is taking charge of the League Two side on an 18 month contract.

GOLF

Phil Mickelson is on the brink of a fifth victory at the weather delayed AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California.

The five time major winner was unhappy when bad light called an end to play last night.

On 18 under par, Mickelson holds a three shot lead, but must return to the course to play his final two holes this afternoon.

RACING

4 new cases of equine flu have been confirmed, just hours before the British Horseracing Authority announce if and when the sport can resume in the UK.

Mike Vince reports

Jack Kennedy kept up the good work at Thurles on Thursday where he partnered the Gordon Elliott-trained Moratorium to a narrow success in the rated novice hurdle. No one has ridden more Irish winners since the beginning of December than the Dingle man who brought his tally in that time frame to 22 winners with a battling success on the 11/2 chance which just held off the renewed effort of the Joseph O’Brien-trained Petit Tartare by a neck.

It got better again at Naas on Saturday afternoon where he again teamed up with Elliott for a single winner, with Roaring Bull recording a 14-length victory in the 2m4f handicap chase. Success could hardly have come any easier for the 7/1 chance which gave Kennedy an early scare with a mistake at the opening fence but hardly put a foot wrong afterwards.

Bryan Cooper and Tom Taaffe took the Richard Maher Memorial Rated Novice Chase with Riders OnThe Storm at Punchestown on Sunday. Clear before the second last fence, the 2/1 shot had to be ridden out by Cooper to hold off the late rally of the Jessica Harrington-trained Impact Factor. Owned by Paul Shanahan and John Magnier, the winner is heading to Cheltenham with the JLT Novices’ Chase among his Festival options.

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