Morning Sports Update

TENNIS

Ireland’s James McGee has missed out on a spot in the Australian Open main draw.

He lost in three sets to Blake Mott in the final round of qualifying.

McGee was unlucky to lost the first set in a close tie-break (7-5) but his ability to raise his game was evident again today as he overcame the disappointment of dropping the first set to get the early break at 2-1 in the 2nd which he went on to win 6-3.

However it wasn’t to be McGees day and the young Australian was the one to get the early break in the deciding set. There were typical signs of McGee’s fighting attitude at 5-1 down to claw back to 5-3 as he gave it everything but Mott eventually held out to go through to his first Australian Open main draw 7-6(5) 3-6 6-3.

Irish hopes now focus on Mullingar teenager Simon Carr who will commence his main draw match in the Junior event when it commences on the 21st January.

Carr is currently in Australia where he plays his first round match in the AGL Loy Yan Traralgon warm up tournament in Victoria later today.

GOLF

Justin Thomas holds the halfway lead at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

He’s 17 under after a 64, with Gary Woodland next best on minus 12 also following a 64.

SOCCER

Castlegregory Celtic were 3-1 winners over Castlemaine United in Denny Division 1A.

Diego Costa’s not expected to play for Chelsea at Leicester in the Premier League later – after being dropped from the first team squad by Antonio Conte.

It’s understood the striker’s had a row with coaching staff – after being unsettled by a 30-million-pounds-a-year offer from China.

Costa’s scored 14 times this season for the league leaders.

The club’s not officially commenting.

It’s a busy day in the Premier League with eight games down for decision.

First up at 12.30 Tottenham will be hoping to make it seven straight wins in all competitions when they host West Brom.

And the evening game at 5.30 sees leaders Chelsea travel to champions Leicester.

Six more ties get going at 3.

Arsenal travel to Swansea looking for a win to keep the pressure on the chasing pack.

West Ham United will be hoping to end a turbulent week on a high when they host Crystal Palace.

And Hull boss Marco Silva has his first Premier League games as manager – they’re at home to Bournemouth.

Elsewhere today, Burnley face Southampton, Sunderland host Stoke and it’ll be an emotional afternoon at Vicarage Road where Watford will pay tribute to their late manager Graham Taylor before their tie with Middlesbrough.

Leeds are up to third place in the Championship – after a 1-nil victory over Derby.

It puts them within four points of the automatic promotion places.

AMERICAN FOOTBALL

The divisional round of the NFL Playoffs take place late tonight.

First up at 9.35pm the 2014 Superbowl Champions the Seattle Seahawks face the Atlanta Falcons.

And then shortly after 1am the favourites for this year’s trophy, the New England Patriots, take on the Houston Texans.

HORSE RACING

Kilmessan trainer Matthew Smith enjoys his raids on Dundalk and Friday night was no exception as he landed the feature vodatrade.ie sponsored 2m handicap under Wayne Lordan, the most valuable race of the night.

Lordan took advantage of an uncontested lead, quickening well turning into the straight and from there it was a breeze as he came home five-and-a-half lengths clear of Venezia and top-weight Mandatario. The winner looks likely to mix it between Flat and hurdling over the summer and should be one to look forward to on good ground.