Morning Sports Update

RUGBY

Munster can take a massive step towards the knockout stages of the European Champions Cup later as they travel to Welford Road to face Leicester.

Johann Van Graan’s side were comfortable winners when they met last weekend, but will be expecting a much tougher challenge this time around.


The Reds have made two changes from that game, with Kevin O’Byrne and Darren Sweetnam coming in for Rhys Marshall and Andrew Conway.

Kick off is at 5.30.

At 3.15 in Pool 2 Ospreys face Northampton and Clermont meet Saracens, and first up at 1pm Wasps meet La Rochelle.

SOCCER

Manchester City’s dominance of the Premier League shows no sign of stopping.

They swept aside Tottenham 4-1 to make it 16 top flight wins in a row – and are now 14 points clear at the top of the table.

Manchester City fan Mark Flanagan talked to Joe to give his verdict on the game.

Manchester United and Liverpool both have tricky away ties in the Premier League this afternoon.

At 2.15 United make the trip to a West Brom side searching for their first win under Alan Pardew.

That’ll be followed by the clash of Bournemouth and Liverpool at 4.30.

Cardiff are back within four points of Championship leaders Wolves.

Neil Warnock’s side held on to see-off Hull 1-nil.

Celtic’s lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership is just two points this morning.

Brendan Rodgers’ side have a couple of games in hand over second-placed Aberdeen though – the first of those is at Hearts at 12.30.

The champions are also 69 domestic games unbeaten.

GAELIC GAMES

The Leinster club senior football championship will finally be decided today, seven days later than expected.

Moorefield of Kildare take on Saint Lomans of Westmeath in their rescheduled provincial final at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise.

The sides were due to meet last weekend before poor weather resulted in the game being postponed.

Throw-in is at 2pm.

HORSE RACING

Despite Samcro not figuring among the declarations for the Monksfield Novice Hurdle (12.50) at Navan today Gordon Elliott still holds a strong hand in the 2m4f Grade 2 contest.

Elliott and Gigginstown House Stud still run three of the six declared with Jack Kennedy teaming up with three-time winner Cracking Smart who looks the pick of the trio. Ireland’s champion trainer Willie Mullins has one of the principal contenders with recent Naas maiden winner Next Generation, the mount of David Mullins.

The €50,000 Tara Handicap Hurdle at (1.20) is the most valuable race on the card with 16 runners declared headed by top-weight Oscar Sam from the Moone, Co Kildare stable of Jessica Harrington and ridden by Gold Cup-winning rider Robbie Power.

Gordon Elliott won this race 12 months ago with Automated and the Cullentra House trainer has two runners in this year’s renewal, Diamond Cauchois and stable companion Rightdownthemiddle. Willie Mullins also runs two here with David Mullins teaming up with the ex Rebecca Curtis-trained Racing Pulse who disappointed on his Irish debut over fences at Cork last month. He is joined by stable companion Camelia De Cotte ridden by Brian Hayes.

Gordon Elliott looks sure to be involved at the business end of the concluding Future Champions bumper with two fancied runners among the six declared. Nina Carbary teams up with the unbeaten Felix Desjy seeking his third consecutive bumper victory since opening his point to point account at Dromahane last March. Lisa O’Neill meanwhile is on board Rapid Escape, both runners owned by Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown House Stud.

The first of seven races at Navan is due off at 12.15 and the going is currently heavy.

The ISF EBF Boreen Belle Mares Novice Hurdle (2.10) is the featured event on a seven-race card at Thurles with a field of six going to post.

Gordon Elliott, successful in the corresponding 2m race 12 months ago, is surprisingly without a runner this year but his main rival Willie Mullins has strong claims with three-time winner True Self for the Three Mile Partnership. The course and distance winner last month faces four previous winners under Danny Mullins in the €32,500 contest.
High School Days trained in Waterford by Henry de Bromhead goes in search of her third consecutive victory in the Richard Brennan Fencing Services Handicap Hurdle (2.40). Dylan Robinson teams up for the first time with his valuable 5lb claim sure to help her prospects.

The same can be said of Call It Magic in the Horse & Jockey Hotel Rated Hurdle (3.10). His last two wins have been registered over fences and this looks a nice opportunity for trainer Ross O’Sullivan who only recently relocated to a new training yard with his wife Katie Walsh in Kill, Co Kildare.

The first of seven races at Thurles is due off at 12.30pm and the going is heavy.

BOXING

Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan has taken a big step towards a potential world title shot with a brilliant win in Montreal overnight.

The Cork native had a hugely impressive win over Antoine Douglas on the undercard to Billy Joe Saunder’s WBO middleweight title defence.

O’Sullivan was crowned WBO inter-continental middleweight champion with the victory, and improved his record to 27 wins and 2 losses.

DARTS

Two-time winner Gary Anderson is safely into the second round at the PDC World Darts Championship.

The Scot beat qualifier Jeff Smith 3-0 at Alexandra Palace in London – after losing last year’s final to Michael van Gerwen.

James Wade takes on Keegan Brown this evening, while Dave Chisnall gets his camaign underway against Vincent van der Voort.

SNOOKER

Neil Robertson takes on Cao Yupeng in the final of the Scottish Open later.

The afternoon session gets underway at 1pm.