Morning Sports Update

SOCCER

Martin O’Neill insists lessons have been learned from last month’s 4-1 defeat to Wales in Cardiff.

The Boys in Green face the same opposition in the Nations League tonight.


The Irish boss insists his team will be ready to come out firing at the Aviva Stadium.

A win would lift Ireland off the foot of the group, and O’Neill is looking to build on Saturday’s scoreless draw with Denmark
Wales are without Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.

It will be their first competitive match without either the Real Madrid star or Arsenal midfielder since 2008.

Welsh boss Ryan Giggs admits it is a challenge

Kick off is at 7.45.


England handed Spain their first competitive home defeat in 15-years last night.

Raheem Sterling scored twice as Gareth Southgate’s side won 3-2 in Seville.

It keeps alive England’s hopes of a Nations League finals berth.

Northern Ireland are facing relegation from League B.

Edin Dzeko scored twice as Bosnia Herzegovina beat the North 2-nil in Sarajevo.


With victory to the elite phase already confirmed, Ireland under-19s will aim to complete their UEFA Championship Group with a 100 per cent record this afternoon.

Tom Mohan’s team take on fellow unbeaten side the Netherlands at Longford’s City Calling Stadium where there’s a 1 o’clock kick off.


YOUTH OLYMPICS

Galway gymnast Emma Slevin capped a fine week in Buenos Aires with a fifth place finish in the women’s balance beam.

Slevin says she can scarcely believe a week that saw her compete in four separate finals.

Two Irish boxers can secure at least silver medals today.

Dean Clancy faces Great Britain’s Ivan Price in the semi finals of the men’s flyweight division.

While Dearbhla Rooney is in semi final action in the women’s featherweight class.

On the track, Miriam Daly goes in heat 2 of the women’s 400-metre hurdles.


RACING

There is a seven-race card at Punchestown this afternoon where the first is off at 2.05.

It doesn’t seem a million miles in the rear view mirror that Punchestown played host to a terrific end-of-season climax back in April, but the show moves on and new dreams abound as the track opens its doors to what promises to be another spectacular National Hunt campaign, with the opening two-day October fixture getting underway this afternoon.

Gigginstown House Stud dominated the maiden hurdle and beginners chase run at Fairyhouse on Saturday, enjoying a one-two in each race, and it wouldn’t be the biggest surprise if the champion owners got the forecast up in the 2m beginners chase (4.10) on Tuesday with Duca De Thaix and Trainwreck looking like nice recruits to chasing.

Henry de Bromhead’s Trainwreck was the best over hurdles with a rating of 138, while Gordon Elliott’s Duca De Thaix was no slouch over a hurdle and was rated just 6lb inferior.

Add Joseph O’Brien’s Us And Them into the mix and it should make for fantastic viewing.

Meanwhile, Shark Hanlon’s Hidden Cyclone is not the retiring kind and features among the four declared for the 2m rated hurdle (2.35).

Hidden Cyclone has won 17 of his 47 starts, including this race in 2016, and while he may be pushing 14 years of age and returning off the back of a 363-day layoff, he looks to have strong claims under Danny Mullins.

Another course and distance winner, Don’t Touch It, heads the weights for Jessica Harrington and Mark Walsh. The four-runner field is completed by the Francis Casey-trained Eight Till Late and Gordon Elliott’s Stooshie.

Fozzy Stack and his owner Brian Parker have decided to roll the big dice and reinvest some of their Ayr Gold Cup winnings on Son Of Rest by supplementing the progressive sprinter into Saturday’s Group 1 Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot now that the ground has come in their favour.

Heavy rain at Ascot over the weekend changed the going description on the straight course to soft, heavy in places, leaving Stack and Parker with no reason not to tackle the end-of-season highlight with Son Of Rest, who landed a tidy ante-post gamble when dead-heating with Baron Bolt in last month’s Ayr Gold Cup.

Stack, who reports his charge to have come out of that ultra-competitive sprint handicap in good shape, is looking forward to stepping his mud-loving four-year-old back up in grade on Saturday.

He said: “We’ve decided to supplement him. They got 44mm of rain at Ascot over the weekend so I think we’ll run.

“We know he handles that ground really well so the softer it is the better. He seems to be in good shape since Ayr and has been in good order. He looks well and is a fairly easy-minded horse who has taken everything is in his stride.

Stack added: “This will be his final start of the season as I don’t think there’s a whole pile else for him. Chris Hayes will ride him again.”

Son Of Rest was on Monday a top-priced 20-1 for the 6f contest whose market is headed by The Tin Man, winner of the race in 2016 and a general 11-4 chance.

Last year’s winner Librisa Breeze was available at odds of 11-2.

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