Morning Sports Update

GAELIC GAMES

The Allianz National Leagues get underway today.

Croke Park plays host to a double-header with Pat Gilroy taking charge of a new-look Dublin hurling team against Offaly in Division One B at 5.


That’s followed by a repeat of last year’s Leinster Football Final with All-Ireland champions Dublin up against Kildare.

In Division Two of the Football League – Clare host Cavan at 2 while there’s a Munster derby between Cork and Tipperary at Pairc Ui Chaoimh at 5.

The second match at the Cork venue sees Cork take on Kilkenny in Division One A of the Hurling League from 7.

London host Carlow in Ruislip in Division Four of the Football League with Laois welcoming Limerick to O’Moore Park.

SOCCER

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho says Alexis Sanchez will be an “amazing addition”.

On his debut after signing from Arsenal, the forward provided two assists in a 4-nil FA Cup fourth round win at League Two Yeovil.

Sheffield Wednesday also progressed with a 3-1 victory over fellow Championship side Reading.

24 more teams are in fourth-round action later.

Leicester make the trip to League One side Peterborough in the lunchtime kick-off at half-twelve.

Tottenham will be looking to avoid an upset when they travel to Newport County at half-five while the late game sees Liverpool host West Brom.

There’s one other all Premier League clash this afternoon with Southampton hosting Watford at 3.

Wolves can extend their advantage at the top of the SkyBet Championship to 12 points this afternoon.

The leaders head to Ipswich.

Elsewhere, promotion chasing Bristol City host QPR, Fulham are at Barnsley and Brentford take on Norwich.

Celtic aim to build on their 11 point lead at the top of the Scottish Premiership this afternoon.

The champions host fourth placed Hibernian.

Aberdeen would re-take second if they avoid defeat against Kilmarnock.

Struggling Partick are at St Johnstone, Hearts face Motherwell and it’s Hamilton against Dundee.

GOLF

Tiger Woods has made the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego – after a second round score of 71.

He’s one-under-par at the halfway point, 10 shots behind leader Ryan Palmer.

Shane Lowry, Padraig Harrington and Seamus Power all missed the cut.

RUGBY

Ireland will face the U-S-A in tomorrow morning’s seventh place playoff at the Sydney Sevens.

The girls in green suffered a 36-nil defeat against New Zealand in the quarter-finals overnight before losing 17-7 to France in the fifth place playoff.

Ulster Bank League Division 1B
Naas 27 Old Belvedere 13

DARTS

It’s understood “walk-on girls” are to be scrapped by the Professional Darts Corporation.

The pre-match routine of women accompanying players on to the stage has been widely criticised for some time.

But already there’s a petition to overturn the PDC’s decision.

Five-time world champion Raymond van Barneveld tweeted it’s “part of the darts”.

Rob Cross made an impressive start to life as world champion with a 10-3 dismissal of Ian White at the Masters last night.

Mensur Suljovic beat Michael Smith 10-8 while Raymond van Barneveld edged Dave Chisnall 10-9 in a thriller.

Former world champions Michael van Gerwen and Gary Anderson and Derry’s Daryl Gurney are among the players in action later today.

RACING

The Grade Two Solerina Mares Novice Hurdle is the feature event on a seven-race card at Fairyhouse this afternoon – where the first goes to post at five-past-one.

Trainer Willie Mullins, who has won four of the last five renewals of the Grade Two contest, is responsible for three of the eleven runners.

It’s also trials day at Cheltenham, the last major card at the venue before the festival in March.

It was easy pickings for Clear Skies at Dundalk last night as the Aidan O’Brien-trained filly notched her fifth success at the track when running out a silky smooth winner of the €25,000 Phone Alarms Handicap.

The JP McManus-owned filly is entered in the Winter Derby at Lingfield next month and may well have booked her ticket. She was ridden to victory by O’Brien’s son, Donnacha.

Bansha-based handler David Marnane was immediately dreaming about Royal Ascot with Settle For Bay after the gelding stretched his winning sequence to four at Dundalk with victory in the D Hotel, Drogheda Handicap.

The winner was partnered by Donagh O’Connor and was returned a warm 11-8 favourite. It was Marnane’s first winner of 2018.

BASKETBALL

DCU Mercy’s fight for three Hula Hoops National Cup trophies in a single weekend got off to a dream start as their Under 20 side powered past Brunell 73-54 in the first underage final of the weekend to win back-to-back Under 20 titles.

With five of this squad suiting up for Sunday’s Women’s National Cup final, the Dubliners were eager to put the U20 decider to bed as early as possible, and with Bronagh Power-Cassidy, Rachel Huijsdens and Maeve O Seaghdha all practically able to consider the National Basketball Arena as their home court after last summer’s silver medal winning performance by Ireland Under 18 women, they certainly settled fastest tonight, opening up a 14-1 lead early on.

It was a lead they would not relinquish, with superb displays from Nicole Clancy and Aoife Maguire underpinning their dominance and despite a fantastic performance from Brunell’s Amy Murphy and Alex Macheta, DCU were clinical in their finishing and precision perfect in their passing and ran out 73-54 point winners in the end.

In the first game of the Hula Hoops National Cup final weekend meanwhile, Ballybrack Bulls overcame Killester WBC in a hotly-contested Wheelchair Basketball final, winning out 62-58 in the end. An MVP performance from Bulls’ star, Jonathan Hayes, drove them home to glory, as despite opening a gap on the scoring by the end of the third, Killester came back hard in the fourth and with less than a minute to go, Paddy Forbes leveled the game with a brilliant drive to the basket. Valene Ryan and Jack Shannon Coyle though kept their cool in the face of pressure and pushed Bulls home to victory.

CRICKET

England cricketer Ben Stokes will be paid almost 1-point-4-million-pounds to play in the Indian Premier League.

The all-rounder’s been sold to the Rajasthan Royals in the player auction.

But there were no bids for Test captain Joe Root – and he currently remains unsold.

Earlier this month, Stokes was charged with affray following an incident outside a Bristol nightclub in September.