Thursday Evening Sports Update

SOCCER

Jonathan Walters has postponed his international retirement and will be staying on for the Republic of Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.

The 34-year-old’s endured an injury disrupted season and has managed just three appearances for Burnley.

Walters says he wasn’t ready to end his international career after missing out on a place at the World Cup.

AUDIO – WALTERS

Tonight – Chelsea’s flagging Premier League campaign takes them to Burnley, who’re chasing a Europa League place for next season.

Victory for Burnley would see them move above Arsenal and into sixth place.

There’s a huge match for Southampton at Leicester.

They’re in the relegation zone ahead of kick-off – five points from safety.

Both games start at 7.45.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he’s “confident” Jack Wilshere will sign a new contract at the club.

An offer’s on the table for the England midfielder, with his existing deal due to expire this summer.

Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton have all been linked with a move for him.

Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers says they’re not getting too worked up at the chance of winning the Scottish Premiership this weekend.

Victory over Hibernian on Saturday will seal a seventh-straight title.

He says he’s never worried about keeping his squad motivated.

AUDIO – RODGERS

Replays of incidents which are reviewed by video assistant referees will be shown on big screens at this summer’s World Cup.

One of the criticisms of the new technology has been that supporters at the ground were unable to see the footage.

Replays will only be shown after the referee has made his decision – to prevent influence from the crowd.

FIFA will not be taking any action against a Spanish player accused of racially abusing Morgan Gibbs-White during England’s Under-17 World Cup final win last year.

His team-mate, Rhian Brewster, claimed an opponent had called the Wolves midfielder a “monkey”.

FIFA had been investigating the matter but say there is a “lack of sufficient evidence” to back up the allegation.

RUGBY
Munster could leave Simon Zebo in reserve for their clash with Racing 92 in Bordeaux on Sunday.

The Irish Examiner reports that Andrew Conway will instead get the nod at full-back with Keith Earls on one wing and either Darren Sweetnam or Alex Wooton on the other.
Munster legend, Alan Quinlan, feels leaving Zebo out would be a bold move.

AUDIO – QUINLAN

Luke McGrath looks set to miss Leinster’s Champions Cup semi-final against the Scarlets this Satuday.

The scrum-half is still struggling with an ankle injury – which would mean a start in the nine shirt for Jamison Gibson-Park.

With Scott Fardy set to be selected in the pack, winger James Lowe would miss out under the ‘non-European’ rule which limits head-coach Leo Cullen to picking two of his foreign players.

GAELIC GAMES

Dublin forward Dean Rock is hoping that they’ll have Diarmuid Connolly back for their defence of the Leinster and All-Ireland Senior Football Championships.

Connolly has only played once this year, in their win over Mayo in the National Football League and manager Jim Gavin says the St Vincent’s attacker is taking a break from inter-county.

Rock says it would be a boost to have the two-time All-Star back next month.

AUDIO – ROCK

GOLF (correct at 5.30pm)

Paul Dunne is one-over-par after 14 holes of his first round at the Hassan Trophy in Morocco.

Gavin Moynihan’s 5-over through 16 while Michael Hoey is two-under after 9.

Oliver Fisher and Joakim Lagergren shared the clubhouse lead at four-under.

SNOOKER

Mark Selby will kick-off his World Snooker Championship title defence against Joe Perry in round one.

He’ll begin his campaign on Saturday morning at the Crucible.

Five-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan has been drawn against Stephen Maguire while Antrim’s Mark Allen will play Liam Highfield.

TENNIS

Amazon have secured exclusive broadcast rights in Ireland for tennis’ U-S Open for the next five years.

This 2019 edition of the tournament will become the first Grand Slam to be shown solely on a digital platform.

It will also mark the first time that Sky Sports have been without rights to a Slam in their 28-year history.
RACING

2017 Irish Grand National winner Our Duke has passed away – after suffering a heart attack.

Trainer Jessica Harrington says she’s ‘sad’ to announce the news and it’s a ‘great loss’ to his owners, the Cooper family.

Our Duke’s last run was in this year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup and he had been in training for the upcoming Punchestown Festival.

Trainer Gordon Elliott has been named the Philips Lighting Sports Manager of the Month for March.

The Meath handler was the top trainer at the Cheltenham Festival with eight winners.

He’s sent out over 200 winners this season and enjoyed victory in the Aintree Grand National with Tiger Roll last Saturday.