Morning Sports Update

RUGBY

Leinster aim to win a record equalling 4th Champions Cup this afternoon when they go head to head with Racing 92 in Bilbao.

Irish Examiner columnist Simon lewis was speaking on Radio Kerry


The Top 14 club look to create their own piece of history by winning a maiden European crown.

Leo Cullen makes 2 changes to the side which saw off Scarlets in the semi finals – Luke McGrath starts at scrum half, while 20 year old Jordan Larmour occupies the right wing.

Kick off is at 4:45 Irish time.

Cardiff Blues claimed the Challenge Cup in a dramatic final in Bilbao.

Gareth Anscombe kicked a last minute penalty to secure a 31 – 30 win over Gloucester.

CRICKET

Ireland’s Cricketers will make history this morning when they face Pakistan in their first ever test match.

Yesterday, what was intended to be the opening day of play was washed out due to steady rain in Malahide.

This morning’s first session is expected to get underway at 11am.

GAELIC GAMES

Galway kick off the defence of their Leinster Senior Hurling crown later today.

The champions travel to Tullamore to face Kevin Martin’s Offaly.

The Faithful County will be aiming to claim their first win over the Tribsemen in the Championship since 1994.

Throw in is at 7.

The Leinster Football Championship gets underway at Innovate Wexford Park, where Wexford play host to Laois.

When the side last met in the provincial championship – 10 years ago – todays home side prevailed by 6 points.

The yellow bellies will have to overcome a side eager to build on the success of a league campaign which saw them get promoted to Division 3.

Westmeath await the winners of todays game in the quarter finals of the competition.

SOCCER

Derby have the advantage after the first leg of their Championship play-off semi final with Fulham.

They secured a 1-nil home win thanks to a first-half goal from Cameron Jerome.

The teams meet again at Craven Cottage on Monday.

Middlesbrough host Aston Villa this evening in the first leg of their Championship playoff semi final.

Kick off is at 7.45.

There’s one game down for decision in the SSE Airtricity League First Division.

That takes place at St. Colman’s Park where Cobh entertain Cabinteely.

Cork City’s lead at the top of the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division has been cut to just a point.

The Leesiders dropped 2 points away to Derry City as it finished 0 – 0 at the Brandywell.

Dundalk lie a point behind Cork thanks to a 2 – 1 win over Sligo Rovers at Oriel Park.

Waterford remain 3rd after drawing 1 – 1 with Shamrock ROvers.

Bohemians moved 6 points clear of the relegation places by beating bottom side Bray 3 – 1.

Limerick fell to their 6th successive defeat at Market’s Field, going down 1 – 0 to St Pat’s.

In the First Division, Galway United closed the distance on league leaders UCD to 5 points with a 2 – 0 win over the students at Eamonn Deacy Park.

Elsewhere,

Athlone Town were beaten 1 -0 by Drogheda.

Shelbourne and Finn Harps finished scoreless.

Longford enjoyed a 2 -0 win over Wexford.


GOLF

Rory McIlroy has missed the cut at The Players Championship. The Ulsterman carded a 2 over par 74 yesterday to finish on 1 over and miss the cut by 2 shots

Shane Lowry has made the weekend at Sawgrass and will start his 3rd round from 1 under

American Webb Simpson is the runaway leader. H e’s 15-under-par – with a five shot lead.
TENNIS

Rafael Nadal’s 21-match winning streak on clay has come to an end in the quarter-finals of the Madrid Open.

He lost 7-5 6-3 to Austria’s Dominic Thiem – the last man to beat him on the surface in May 2017.

The defeat means Nadal will be replaced at the top of the world rankings by Roger Federer on Monday.

RACING

David Mullins was the toast of the Kilbeggan crowd last evening after riding a treble aboard three very well fancied horses.

First to score under Mullins was Tornado Watch, who completed a quick double under the management of Emmet Mullins, David’s cousin, when taking the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Handicap Hurdle.

Mullins went on to win the feature Midland Veterinary Novice Hurdle on Redhotfillypeppers before guiding Steel Wave to victory in the beginners’ chase.

Those two winners were trained by his uncle and 12-time champion handler, Willie.

The two-day Curragh May meeting continues on Saturday afternoon where the first of seven races gets underway at 2.10pm.

The Group 3 Plusvital Irish EBF Blue Wind Stakes (4.30) has a total prizefund of €75,000 and has attracted six runners headed by five-time winner Clear Skies owned by JP McManus. The Aidan O’Brien-trained Sea The Stars mare has recorded all five career wins on the Polytrack at Dundalk and bids to go a few places better than her recent third place effort behind subsequent Gowran winner Bloomfield in the Noblesse Stakes at Cork last month.

Jim Bolger, who won this race 12 months ago with Turret Rocks, is represented with Panstarr, runner up on her seasonal debut at Naas in March, while champion trainer Aidan O’Brien is double handed with Bye Bye Baby and Easter Lily.

In-form Jessica Harrington runs the useful 102-rated I’m So Fancy, not without her chance on her seasonal debut, but most eyes will be focused on impressive Leopardstown debut winner Jaega from the Dermot Weld stable under Leigh Roche. She holds on entry in the Darley Irish Oaks on July 21 and is held in high regard by connections, so a big run is expected.

The going at the Curragh is heavy.