Morning Sports Update

RUGBY

Johnny Sexton’s last-gasp drop goal means Ireland are off to a winning start in the Six Nations.

He sent the ball over from almost the half-way line to beat France 15-13 in Paris.


Joe Schmidt’s side are second in the early table.

They take on Italy in Dublin next weekend.

Ireland head-coach Joe Schmidt

Today in the Six Nations England kick off their campaign away to Italy at 3.

Ireland’s women’s team are off to a losing start.

Adam Griggs’ side, captained by Kerry’s Ciara Griffin, suffered a 24-nil loss to France in Toulouse.

Hugh Farrelly spoke to Joe O’Mahony on Weekend Sports

GAELIC GAMES

It’s two wins from two for All-Ireland champions Dublin in Division One of the Allianz National Football League.

Ciaran Kilkenny and Eoghan O’Gara scored the goals in their 2-13 to 1-11 defeat of Tyrone in Omagh.

Cavan enjoyed a 3-17 to 13-points win against Louth in Division Two.

Tipperary bounced back from last week’s loss to Clare by beating Waterford by 1-20 to 1-11 in Division One A.

Conor Whelan scored both goals in Galway’s 2-18 to 17-points victory over Laois in One B.

In Division 1 of the Allianz Football League, Kildare face Monaghan in Newbridge, with a 2 o’clock throw in.

Donegal take on Galway in Letterkenny from 2.30.

In Division 2, Down welcome Cork to Pairc Esler from 1.30.

Tipperary meet Roscommon in Thurles from 2.

And at the same time, Meath meet Clare in Navan.

Meanwhile, Kilkenny will look to pick up their first win in Division 1A of the hurling league today. They face Clare at Nowlan Park from 2.

At the same time, Wexford play Cork at Innovate Wexford Park.

In Division 1B, Offaly host Limerick and Dublin make the trip to face Antrim.

It’s Junior and Intermediate AIB All-Ireland hurling final day at Croke Park.

In the Junior decider, Fethard of Wexford meet Waterford’s Ardmore at 2pm.

While at 3.45pm, Ballyragget of Kilkenny face Cork’s Kanturk in the intermediate final.

In the Lidl National Football League, reigning champions Cork meet Monaghan in Mallow from 2 as one of four games in Division 1.

Holders Kilkenny meet Waterford at 1.30 in Division 1 of the Littlewoods Ireland Camogie League.

SOCCER

60-million-pound man Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has his first Arsenal goal – after scoring in a 5-1 thumping of Everton.

Aaron Ramsey managed a hat-trick.

Tottenham Hotspur will look to take another big scalp in the Premier League this afternoon, following their win over Man Utd midweek.

They’re away to Liverpool at 4:30.

Before that, Crystal Palace meet Newcastle United in a relegation six-pointer from 2:15.

Wolves are still eleven points clear at the top of the Championship.

The leaders strolled to a 3-nil win over Sheffield United. 

RACING

Four Grade 1 contests dominate proceedings on the second day of the inaugural Dublin Racing Festival at Leopardstown where the first of eight races gets under way at 12.40pm.

A field of 10 goes to post for the Unibet Irish Gold Cup (3.25) with the Jessica Harrington-trained Our Duke, winner of the Boylesports Irish Grand National on his penultimate start at Fairyhouse last Easter, the current market leader with Robbie Power in the saddle. Willie Mullins is doubly represented with Djakadam and Killultagh Vic while it’s a similar story with Gordon Elliott who also has two runners, Mala Beach and Outlander. The 3m race also includes sole British-trained challenger Minella Rocco, fourth in the Leopardstown Christmas Chase for Jonjo O’Neill here last time under Barry Geraghty who rides Paddy Power Chase hero Anibale Fly also owned by JP McManus but trained by Tony Martin.

The unbeaten Espoir D’allen from the Gavin Cromwell stable will be fancied by many to continue his winning ways under Geraghty in the Tattersalls Ireland Spring Juvenile Hurdle (1.15). He faces five rivals including the Gordon Elliott-trained Farclas, who chased him home when runner-up here under Jack Kennedy at Christmas, and his stable companion Mitchouka, the mount of Davy Russell. Also likely to figure prominently at the business end is Mr Adjudicator who made an impressive start to his jumping career over the course and trip also over Christmas for Willie Mullins and Paul Townend.

The unbeaten Samcro clashes with Cheltenham Champion Bumper runner-up Debuchet in the Grade 1 Deloitte Novice Hurdle (1.50), a race that includes the Willie Mullins-trained quartet of Sharjah, Duc Des Genievres, Whiskey Sour and Real Steel among the 11 runners declared.

The Flogas Novice Chase (3.00) looks a cracking affair with exciting chasers such as Sutton Place, Monalee, Al Boum Photo and Invitation Only figuring at the head of the market while the curtain comes down with the Grade 2 Coolmore NH Sires Mares Bumper (4.40) with a dozen declared including six previous winners.

The going at Leopardstown is soft.