Thursday Lunchtime Sports Update

SOCCER

The Republic of Ireland’s inaugural Nations League match against Wales in Cardiff is only a few hours away.

The tournament provides a path to qualification for Euro 2020.


It will be Wales’s first competitive game under Ryan Giggs and they will be eager to avenge their defeat to Ireland in last year’s vital World Cup qualifier.

Martin O’Neill will field a very different Irish team tonight due to a number of retirements, injuries and self-imposed absences.

Captain Seamus Coleman says the desire for victory is still the same.

Kick off is at 7.45.

The newly crowned World Champions are also in Nations League action tonight.

The Allianz Arena in Munich is the venue for the clash between France and Germany.  

GAELIC GAMES

Kevin McStay has called on the G-A-A to better support smaller counties.

The Mayo native announced his retirement from inter-county management, calling time on his 3-year term with Roscommon.

In a statement, McStay says counties should be financially supported “in a way that reflects the demands and the need for fairness, equity and solidarity”.

McStay’s retirement also rules him out of the running to replace Stephen Rochford as Mayo manager. 

RUGBY

Tadhg Beirne is set to make his Munster debut tomorrow.

The former Scarlets lock has been named on the bench for the Pro 14 match against Glasgow in Scotland.

Centre Sam Arnold replaces Dan Goggin in the only change to the starting 15 that beat the Cheetahs last week.

Jaco Taute is also among the replacements.

The South African centre has spent the last 12 months recovering from a serious knee injury.

Jordi Murphy has been named in the Ulster team for the first time.

The former Leinster flanker will make his debut for the Northern Province against Edinburgh in Belfast tomorrow.

He comes into the back row as one of four changes to the side that beat the Scarlets last week.

Fellow Irish international Rob Herring will make his first appearance of the season, and captain the side from hooker.

TENNIS

Serena Williams resumes her quest for a record-equalling 24th Grand Slam title this evening.

The 36 year old plays Anastasija Sevastova in the semi finals of the U-S Open.

Williams is the only major winner left in the competition, but has lost her last two semi finals in New York.

Fellow American Madison Keys plays Japan’s Naomi Osaka in the other last four encounter. 

GOLF

Paul Dunne is the sole Irish contender at this week’s Omega European Masters in Switzerland.

He’s 2-over par after his first three holes.

The leader is Germany’s Max Kieffer on 6-under par.

Rory McIlroy tees off at the B-M-W Championship in Pennsylvanian today.

The Ulsterman currently lies 24th in the FedEx Cup play offs.

Only the top 30 players will qualify for the season-ending Tour Championship.

Tony Finau and Kevin Kisner will be among those looking to impress the U-S Ryder Cup captain.

Jim Furyk will pick the last of his wildcards after the tournament.  

Ireland are well in contention on day 2 of the World Amateur Golf Championships in Carton House, County Kildare.

Robin Dawson, John Murphy and Conor Purtill, have just started their round on the Mark O’Meara Course on 10 under par, which was two shots off the lead which was held by Denmark after yesterday’s opening day.

RACING

Top sprinter Harry Angel’s been given a big thumbs up by his trainer Clive Cox as he bids to get his career back on track in Saturday’s Group 1 32 Red Sprint Cup at Haydock.

He’s been on the sidelines since a bizarre incident in the stalls which cost him any chance at Royal Ascot and saw him pick up an injury.

But Clive Cox has been telling Mike Vince he hopes all those problems are behind Harry Angel as his stable star chases another big pot this weekend.


The 150th Laytown Strand Races take place in Meath today.

The historic event is the only official race meeting staged on a beach anywhere in Europe.

The first of six races goes to post at 3.45.