Morning Sports Update

RUGBY

Former Ireland and Leinster flanker Dominic Ryan has been forced to retire due to concussion.

Leinster confirmed the news this morning, saying the Former Gonzaga College man has had to hang up his boots at the age of 28.


He played over 100 times for the province before moving to Leicester Tigers in 2017.

Last night was a mixed night for the Irish provinces in the Pro14.

Munster lost 25-10 at Glasgow. Mike O’Halloran reports

Also looking back on the tie is President of the Killarney club Mike Fuller

John Cooney sent over a penalty with the last kick of the game as Ulster came back from 23-6 down to defeat Edinburgh 30-29 in Belfast.

There’s a repeat of last year’s final in the Guinness PRO-14 this evening as Scarlets host defending champions Leinster.

Leinster coach Leo Cullen has recalled eight of his Irish internationals with Jordan Larmour, Robbie Henshaw and Devin Toner among those brought into the starting 15.

Jack Conan will win his 75th cap for the province in the twenty-five-to-eight kick-off.

Toner says the blues know what to expect

Connacht look to recover from last week’s defeat to Glasgow when they host Zebre at the Sportsground at a quarter-past-five.

Connacht have welcomed back Sean O’Brien and Gavin Thornbury from injury while Ireland’s Quinn Roux starts alongside Thornbury in the second-row.


SOCCER

Dundalk, Cork City and U-C-D are into the semi-finals of the Daily Mail F-A-I Cup.

Patrick Hoban scored twice as Premier Division leaders Dundalk won 4-nil at Limerick.

U-C-D stunned Waterford with a 2-1 victory at Belfield while Kieran Sadlier scored a hat-trick as holders Cork City eased to a 7-nil win at Longford Town.

The other quarter-final between Derry City and Bohemians will take place on Wednesday week.

The Republic of Ireland’s under-21s are second in their qualifying group for the European Championship.

Noel King’s side were held to a 1-all draw by Kosovo with Ronan Curtis scoring a late equaliser.

Ireland are two-points behind group leaders Germany ahead of their clash next week.

Northern Ireland have their opening game in the UEFA Nations League this afternoon.

Michael O’Neill’s side, who have won just one of their last seven matches, take on Bosnia-Herzegovina in Belfast where there’s a 2 o’clock kick-off.

England will hope to build on their run to the semi-finals of the World Cup, when they start their Nations League campaign later.

They face Spain at Wembley from 7.45.

GOLF

Rory McIlroy resumes from nine-under-par at golf’s B-M-W Championship later.

The four-time major winner is four shots behind the half-way clubhouse leader Xander Schauffele, who holds a two shot lead over the field at 13-under.

Tiger Woods will tee off his third-round from eight-under.

Ireland’s hopes of a medal at the World Amateur Team Championships suffered something of a set back at the World amateur Team Championship at Carton House.

The lead held by New Zealand on 30 under par.

For the latest here’s Alan Kelly

TENNIS

Injury put an end to Rafael Nadal’s hopes of retaining his US Open tennis title.

The defending champion retired from his semi-final with Juan Martin del Potro with a knee problem – after going two sets down.

Del Potro will face Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic in the final – after the Serbian beat Japan’s Kei Nishikori in straight sets.

Serena Williams has the chance to join Margaret Court on 24 Grand Slam singles tennis titles this evening.

The six-time winner takes on 20-year-old Naomi Osaka in the final of the U-S Open at Flushing Meadows.

Osaka is the first ever Japanese woman to reach a Grand Slam decider, following her surprise victory over 2017 runner-up Madison Keys in the semis.

Williams missed last year’s U-S Open because she gave birth to her daughter Olympia during the tournament.

The 36-year-old has been in two slam finals since returning in February.

CYCLING

Nicola Juniper of Great Britain, guesting with Irish squad TC Racing, powered up the finishing climb to take her first stage win in Rás na mBan and, with it, take over the overall lead of the 2018 edition.

Juniper, the 36-year-old former British National Road Series winner, raced for Team GB at the recent European Championships and has carried that strong form into her second appearance in Rás na mBan.

112 riders signed on in Kilkenny ahead of the third and longest stage of Rás na mBan 2018, a 110km haul to the summit top finish on Mount Leinster.

Ahead lay three classified climbs and a final 7.5km uphill including the twin challenges of Corrabut Gap and Nine Stones.

Mountains jersey wearer Juniper led over the first two classified climbs to extend her advantage at the head of the Wicklow 200 Queen of the Hills.

Team Ireland and Team GB set the tempo racing into the final assault on Mount Leinster aand riders were soon in trouble as the gradient gripped.

Overall race leader Iris Sachet found the going tough and Irish national road race champion Eve McCrystal, nursing a broken scaphoid after crashing the day before were among the riders left chasing.

Juniper forced the pace on the climb and only Coralie Demay of Team Breizh could follow. Behind, 2016 Rás na mBan winner Rikke Lønne joined Britain’s Anna Henderson and Megan Barker of Team GB in pursuit of the lead duo.

In the end it came down to a match sprint with Juniper charging home for a first stage win in Rás na mBan ahead of Demay…

32 seconds behind, Lønne secured third ahead of Barker with Lydia Gurley from Athenry (Team Ireland) the first Irish rider home in 12th place.

Juniper now leads overall from Demay with Lønne just over half a minute in arrears.

Juniper also leads the Irish Dairy, The Complete Natural Points Classification and the Wicklow 200 Queen of the Hills.

Megan Barker is Best Young Rider for womenscycling.ie blue jersey while Maeve Gallagher from County Mayo has taken over the lead in the Kilkenny County Council Best Irish Rider category.

The riders face two stages today. First up is the uphill 6.4km time trial at Tullaroan followed in the evening by the spectacular one-hour city centre circuit race in the heart of Kilkenny City.

RACING

The Irish Stallion Farms EBF Premier Nursery (3.40) over five furlongs is the highlight on a seven-race Flat card at Navan today where the first race is due off at 1.55pm.

A field of seven faces the starter in the feature headed by the Aidan O’Brien-trained Isle Of Innisfree, successful in a Naas maiden over this trip last Tuesday. Consequently lumbered with a 6lbs penalty here, he faces among others stable companion North Wind who justified odds-on favouritism over a furlong longer in Naas last July along with dual winner Bailly from the in-form Ger Lyons yard.

Just three runners line up in the Irish Stallion Farms EBF Race (2.30) over an extended five furlongs where Tom Hogan’s stable star Gordon Lord Byron takes on the Aidan O’Brien-trained Battle of Jericho and Mr Scarlett from Sheila Lavery’s Summerhill stable.

Gordon Lord Byron has racked up an incredible 16 career wins to date for the Nenagh-based Hogan and will be partnered again by Billy Lee, who was also on board when the pair finished a creditable runner-up in a Group 3 contest in York last month.

The going at Navan is currently good, good to firm in places.

Jumping fans should be heading to Wexford this afternoon where an eight-race card gets underway at 1.10pm.

The Audrey McGrath Memorial Novice Chase (4.00) includes two Henry De Bromhead challengers with recent Roscommon winner Arcenfete, ridden by Brian Hayes, joined by stable companion and four-time winner Classic Theatre, the mount of 7lb claimer Hugh Morgan.

Gordon Elliott, who enjoyed several winners in Britain during the week, is represented here by Icario, carrying the same Gigginstown House Stud colours of Arcenfete, while the field is completed by the Paul Nolan-trained Miss Sassie under Ricky Doyle and Polar Present from the Seamus Fahy yard.

The going in Wexford is good.

Captain Morgan might be the drink of choice for the Garrinstown Aintree Syndicate, who were left toasting young Hugh Morgan, after the rider galvanised Henry de Bromhead’s Full Cry to win the €19,000 Sky Sports Racing Launching In 2019 Handicap Chase at Kilbeggan.

The syndicate, which is mostly made up by Dubliners, had little to shout about with the horse all year but he came good tonight to beat Freewheelin Dylan narrowly.

After a terrific year at Kilbeggan, it was only fitting that Gavin Cromwell got in on the action at the track’s final fixture of the year, with Brex Drago doing the business in the Adare Manor Opportunity Handicap Hurdle under Brien Kane.

Brex Drago was winning for the first time over hurdles but it wasn’t a surprise as he was returned a 9-2 chance.