Morning Sports Update

RUGBY

John Cooney must start at scrum-half for Ireland in the Six Nations ahead of Conor Murray – that’s according to former Lions out-half Stuart Barnes.

Cooney was again among the tries for Ulster away to Clermont on Saturday, continuing his impressive form.

While Murray could do little to prevent Munster falling to a 39-22 defeat away to Racing that all-but ends their hopes of European progress.

And Barnes says new Ireland head coach Andy Farrell doesn’t have as big a decision about who starts against Scotland next month as some may think


SOCCER

A high level UEFA delegation will arrive in Dublin today for talks with the FAI and the Government over Irish soccer’s financial woes.

It is hoped that a deal can be struck by all parties to honour the 29 million commitment to Bank of Ireland on the Aviva Stadium.

The FAI have asked for 18 million euro from the Government to deal with their current financial predicament.

Bohemians and Shelbourne have welcomed news of a 918-thousand euro grant towards the redevelopment of Dalymount Park.

The money accounts for nearly a fifth of the 5-million euro allocated by the government to seven major sporting projects.

Bohs say they look forward to working with Dublin City Council, local residents and Shelbourne to see the project through to completion.

The total cost of the Dalymount redevelopment comes in at just over 34-million euro.

Aston Villa have completed the loan signing of AC Milan goalkeeper Pepe Reina.

The former Liverpool keeper will stay with the Premier League strugglers until the end of the season.

First choice Villa goalkeeper Tom Heaton had his season ended by a knee ligament injury.

Reina hopes to play his part in steering Villa out of the relegation zone

Barcelona have sacked their coach Ernesto Valverde and replaced him with former Real Betis coach Quique Setien.

Barca won two La Liga titles under Valverde, but failed to land the Champions League.

Setien took Betis into Europe in 2018 and led them to wins over Barcelona and Real Madrid last season.


Three Premier League sides will hope to avoid shocks at the hands of lower league opposition tonight in their FA Cup third round replays.

Tottenham welcome Middlesbrough to North London, with Spurs boss Jose Mourinho warning that Harry Kane could miss the rest of the season following hamstring surgery.

The Portuguese is expecting a strong challenge from Boro

Watford manager Nigel Pearson says he will rest his key players for their game away to League One strugglers Tranmere.

Brian Barry-Murphy takes his Rochdale side to Newcastle.

Elsewhere, Liverpool will discover where they’ll be heading in round 4 with Shrewsbury facing Bristol City for the right to play host to the Premier League leaders.

Manchester United are believed to be close to agreeing a 58 million deal for Sporting Lisbon midfielder Bruno Fernandes.

United made the most revenue of any Premier League club last season.

The Red Devils earned 627 million, behind Real Madrid and top dogs Barcelona.

Spanish giants Barcelona generated 741 million in revenue last season.

Manchester City finished 6th in the table, with Liverpool 7th and Tottenham 8th.


YOUTH WINTER OLYMPICS

Emma Austin and Matt Ryan both get to compete in their preferred discipline in Lausanne this morning.

The Irish skiiers go in the women’s and men’s slaloms with Austin first on the slopes after 8.30 Irish time.

A crash on his second run denied Ryan a respectable finish in the Giant Slalom.

RACING

Today’s race meeting at Fairyhouse will proceed following a course inspection.

The going is heavy at the County Meath track with the first on the card off at 12.45.