Morning Sports Update

SOCCER

Pep Guardiola will attempt to win his first trophy as Manchester City manager this afternoon.

The Premier League leaders take on Arsenal in the Carabao Cup Final at Wembley at half-four.


Tottenham can move back into the top four this lunchtime if they win their midday London derby at Crystal Palace.

Lucas Moura could make his Premier League debut for Spurs after playing against Rochdale in the F-A Cup last weekend.

And it’s second against third at five-past-two when Manchester United host Chelsea at Old Trafford.

Victory for United would see them rise to second place while Chelsea are chasing just a third away in their last 10 games across all competions.

Following their Europa League exit on Thursday night, Celtic’s attention returns to matters domestic this afternoon.

The Scottish Premiership leaders go to third place Aberdenn for a half-one kick-off.

Eoghan Stokes scored a last-minute equaliser to rescue a 1-all draw for Bohemians at Limerick in the S-S-E Airtricity League Premier Division.

Cian Coleman had given Limeick the lead at Market’s Field.

RUGBY

Ireland’s women’s team host their Welsh counterparts at Donnybrook at 3 this afternoon.

Ireland are captained by Ciara Griffin while fellow Kerry lady Ciara O’Connor also starts.

GAELIC GAMES

It’s four wins from four for Dublin in Division One of the Allianz National Football League.

Niall Scully and Paul Mannion got the goals in a 2-10 to 0-12 win over Mayo in Castlebar in a repeat of last year’s All-Ireland Final.

Monaghan are up to second after a 0-15 to 0-14 victory over Tyrone.

Tipperary boosted their promotion hopes in Division Two with a 2-15 to 1-10 win against Meath at Semple Stadium.

Fermanagh are the new leaders in Division Three after a 1-16 to 3-8 victory over Derry.

Reigning champions Kerry host Galway while Donegal are at home to Kildare in a relegation four-pointer.

The pick of today’s Division One A Hurling games sees old rivals Kilkenny and Tipperary clash at Nowlan Park.

Leaders Clare go to Wexford and there’s a Munster derby between Cork and Waterford.

Dublin have beaten Mayo in Division One of the Lidl Ladies National Football League.

Oonagh Whyte scored both goals in the All-Ireland champions’ 2-8 to 0-12 win at Castlebar.

RACING

It’s Cheltenham Trials Day at Naas where there’s an eight-race card starting at twenty-to-two.

A field of eight goes to post for the Grade 2 Paddy Power Onside App Novice Hurdle at ten-past-three, including the Gordon Elliott-trained Hardline.

Elliott also had three horses declaired for the Grade 3 Paddy’s Rewards Chase.

Davy Russell’s march towards a third Irish jockeys’ title continues at a relentless pace and he racked up his 100th winner of the season on Mitchouka in the Grade 3 Winning Fair Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse on Saturday.

The victory was as easy as his starting price of 4-9 suggested it would be and certainly more emphatic than the winning margin suggests. Next stop the Fred Winter at Cheltenham.
Gordon Elliott book-ended the card as Sometime Soon won the concluding bumper in the manner of a promising individual under Lisa O’Neill.

Cheltenham might be around the corner but Willie Mullins had Easter Monday on his mind at Fairyhouse on Saturday as he pencilled the BoyleSports Irish Grand National into Bellshill’s diary following a silky-smooth success in the Grade 3 Attheraces Bobbyjo Chase.

We had not seen Bellshill for 346 days but such a lengthy absence did not prove a barrier to success for the three-time Grade 1 winner who laughed at his rivals in the feature event of the afternoon, winning impressive by four and three-quarter lengths under David Mullins from A Genie In Abottle.

Of course his task was made much easier by the late defection of Mala Beach, but it was hard not to be impressed with the manner of victory over A Genie In Abottle and the Irish Grand National sponsors BoyleSports chopped him to 14-1 for Ireland’s richest jumps race on April 2.

MOTORSPORT

There are three weeks to go to the Quality Hotel Clonakilty West Cork Rally and already over 120 entries have been received for the event with 100 of these in the main field in whats shaping up to be a very competitive rally between some of Ireland top drivers. Donagh Kelly in his Ford Focus WRC will be coming back to attempt to take his fifth successive win. The popular Donegal driver who lists Ardfield as one of his favourite stages in the country will face a challenge from his fellow county man Declan Boyle who has entered his Fiesta WRC as well as current Tarmac Champion Sam Moffett, Robert Barrable and Brendan Cumiskey.

The National rally entry to date is also very strong with Kevin Eves back to defend his win from last year and looking to take the Bones O’Connor Modified Trophy to Donegal again. He will face tough opposition from Wesley Patterson, Adrian Hetherington, Gary Kiernan, Rob Duggan, Kevin Gallagher, Frank Kelly, Cormac Phelan and the returning John Dalton who hasn’t competed in Clonakilty since 2013. As usual there is a lot of interest from the U.K. with regulars such as Wayne & Adrian Evans and Colin Rowe being joined for the first time by Karl Simmons & Martyn England. The Historic Rally has received entries from Owen Murphy, Dewi Bowen, Alan Watkins, Duncan Williams, Neil Williams, Andy Johnson and Martin Freestone to name but a few.

The rally is the opening round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship, FIA Celtic Trophy and the PlasticBags.ie Southern 4 Rally Championship which should attract a lot of interest from both championship regulars and clubmen alike.