Thursday Lunchtime Sports Update

SOCCER

Arsene Wenger admits the difference between winning the Europa League or not will impact on the future of Arsenal – even though he will not be there to see it.

The Gunners take on Atletico Madrid in Spain tonight for a place in the final – with their semi-final tie finely-poised at 1-1.

Wenger has already announced he will step down as Arsenal boss at the end of the season following a tenure extending over more than 21 years.

He wants a happy ending to his ‘love story’ with the Gunners

AUDIO – WENGER-LUNCH


Liverpool will take on three in-a-row chasing Real Madrid in the Champions League final.

Jurgen Klopp’s side survived a late scare in Italy to go through – as they lost 4-2 to Roma on the night but held on 7-6 on aggregate.

Former Republic of Ireland player Kevin Kilbane is expecting a thrilling final in Kiev on May 26th.

AUDIO – KILBANE


Liverpool supporters hoping to go to the final may have to pay up to 350 Euro for a ticket with a restricted view.

Over 16-and-a-half thousand have been made available to the club for their meeting with holders Real Madrid in Kiev later this month.

The most expensive seat’s priced at 400 Euro – while the cheapest is 50 – but that’s also with a restricted view. 
Islam Slimani’s been banned for Newcastle’s next three matches after being charged with violent conduct.

The on-loan Leicester forward was involved in an off-the-ball clash with West Brom defender Craig Dawson in last weekend’s 1-nil defeat to the Premier League’s bottom team.

It means he won’t play again this season.

The S-S-E Airtricity League First Division’s basement side Athlone Town are on the search for a new manager.

Aaron Callaghan has quit the struggling Midlanders after nine games – citing his frustrations at the structures of the club.

He says the ‘final straw’ was the lack of warm up gear or a physio for Monday’s Leinster Senior Cup tie against Shelbourne.

Callaghan’s former assistant Terry Butler has been placed in temporary charge of the team.

SNOOKER

(Wil v Hig starts 1300, Haw v Wil starts 1900)

Four-time champion John Higgins takes on Kyren (pron: kye-ren) Wilson in the semi-finals of the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible this lunchtime.

It’s after he beat Judd Trump 13-12 in last night’s dramatic quarter-final.

In the other last-four tie, Barry Hawkins will go up against two-time winner Mark Williams.

RUGBY

Former Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll thinks Joe Schmidt’s advice will be a major influence on whether Joey Carbery opts to join Ulster for next season.

The versatile Leinster back is reportedly seriously considering a short-term move to Ulster next season – in a bid to get more game-time at out-half ahead of the 2019 World Cup.

Ulster are seeking an out-half to replace Paddy Jackson, and Carbery has played most of his rugby at 15 for Leinster this term.

O’Driscoll feels the 22-year-old has to listen carefully to Schmidt

AUDIO – DRISCOLL


GOLF

Tiger Woods returns to action for the first time since the Masters later.

He’s among a strong field at Quail Hollow for the Wells Fargo Championship.

Woods playes alongside Masters champion Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka (pron: kep-ka) today.

Shane Lowry, Seamus Power and Graeme McDowell are all among the field. Rory McIlroy is also back in action today, playing alongside Paul Casey and James Hahn.

McIlroy’s hoping for a third tournament win at Quail Hollow and he says it’s a course that means a lot to him.

AUDIO – McIlroy


CYCLING

Britain’s four-time Tour de France cycling champion Chris Froome says he’s confident he can prove he’s done nothing wrong.

He’s set to take part in this month’s Giro d’Italia, while his anti-doping case is still ongoing. Twice the allowed limit of an asthma drug was found in his system last year.

Froome hopes people won’t judge him until the results of an investigation are revealed.

AUDIO – FROOME

RACING
There’s a seven-race card at Clonmel this evening where the first is off at half-five.

There are five meetings in the UK:

On the standard tracks at Lingfield, Southwell and Chelmsford from 2pm, 2.20pm and 5.50 respectively.

At Redcar from 2.10 and Musselburgh from 5.40 – where the going is good and good to firm in places at both venues.