Morning Sports Update

SOCCER

Manchester United and Liverpool are the first two teams into the fourth round of the F-A Cup.

Goals in the last 10-minutes from Romelu Lukaku and Jesse Lingard gave United a 2-nil win against Championship side Derby County at Old Trafford.


While Liverpool’s record signing Virgil van Dijk enjoyed a dream debut – heading the winner in their 2-1 defeat of Everton at Anfield.

The action continues this afternoon with 25 more games.

Leicester striker Jamie Vardy is a doubt for their trip to his former club Fleetwood this lunchtime.

There’s a north-east derby between Middlesbrough and Sunderland at the Riverside Stadium at 1pm.

In the pick of the 3pm kick-offs, runaway Premier League leaders Manchester City host Burnley.

Bristol City, who face Man City in the League Cup semis next week, make the trip to Watford.

Last year’s beaten finalists Chelsea go to Norwich in the evening game at 5.30pm.

Everton have confirmed the signing of Turkey international striker Cenk Tosun.

Manager Sam Allardyce said earlier this week they’d agreed a fee with Besiktas for the forward.

Tosun’s agreed a four-and-a-half-year contract.

It’s understood he’s cost them around 27-million-pounds.

RUGBY

It’s second against third this evening in Conference B of the Guinness PRO-14 with Leinster hosting Ulster at the R-D-S at twenty-five-to-six.

Leinster have been in good form in recent weeks and have beaten their other inter-pro rivals Munster and Connacht this festive period.

Munster will be hoping to avoid a third straight defeat for the first time since 2015 when they host Connacht at Thomond Park from 7.45.

The Reds go into the game 15-points behind Conference A leaders Glasgow while fifth-place Connacht are aiming to bounce back from their three-point loss at Leinster on New Year’s Day.

NFL

The N-F-L Playoffs get underway this evening with the Kansas City Chiefs hosting the Tennessee Titans in the A-F-C Wild Card match.

The teams are in contrasting form heading into the game, the Chiefs have won four in-a-row while the Titans lost three of the last four of their regular season matches.

GOLF

Open golf winner Jordan Spieth has made up significant ground after a terrible start at the Tournament of Champions in Hawaii.

He’s recovered to 5-under-par at the halfway point – following a terrible first round of 75.

That’s five shots behind leader Marc Leishman of Australia.

HORSE RACING

Chepstow plays host to the re-fixed Coral Welsh Grand National meeting this afternoon.

The original fixture was abandoned due to waterlogging last week.

The McCarthy Insurance Group Raceday gets underway at 12.20 at Cork today with some quality jumping action in store for punters.

The €26,000 Gerardine McCarthy Memorial Handicap Hurdle (1.55) is the richest event on the card with 12 going to post. The field is headed by top-weight Grand Partner trained in Goresbridge Co Kilkenny by Tom Mullins who enjoyed two winners at the recent Leopardstown Christmas meeting compliments of Sparky Stowaway and Spider Web.

Also figuring among the dozen for the big one is the long absent Lite Duties train by Limerick handler Charles Byrnes. The three-time winner hasn’t been seen in public for almost three years so the market should be interesting with the stable also represented by Indian Monsoon, the mount of Andrew Lynch.

The most intriguing runner in the field though is 2016 Cheltenham Festival Cross Country hero Josies Orders who reverts to hurdles for the first time since finishing sixth at Galway after doing some good work in the closing stages of a 2m6f handicap hurdle last October. The three-time Cheltenham winner also has a Punchestown Festival victory in 2015 to his credit but this could well be another stepping stone towards the big festival in March.

Likely to figure prominently in the market is the locally-trained Westerner Point from the Eoghan O’Grady stable. The 9yo likes to race prominently and has already notched two course wins, including over further here last March. He ran well for a long way in the Becher Chase at Aintree last time and has to be respected on his return to the smaller obstacles.
Livelovelaugh should be fancied to step up on his chasing debut third place finish at Fairyhouse last month when he faces nine rivals in the McCarthy Insurance Group Beginners Chase (2.30). The Willie Mullins-trained challenger won twice over hurdles but he faces a few strong rivals namely the Noel Meade-trained Burglas, who has two decent placed runs to his credit over fences this term, and the experienced Midnight Escape from the Gordon Elliott yard.

The going at Cork is currently heavy.