Thursday Lunchtime Sports Update

GOLF

Rory McIlroy has carded a 3 under par opening round at the D-P World Tour Championship in Dubai.

The Ulsterman carded five birdies and two bogies during a first round of 69.

That hands him a share of 10th place, three shots behind the leaders Jordan Smith and Adrian Otaegui.

Shane Lowry has reached the clubhouse on 2 under.

He says he had chances to record a lower score.

Paul Dunne is level par after his round.

He’s frustrated by his form.


RUGBY

Former Leinster and Scotland coach Matt Williams is warning Irish rugby fans not to get carried away.

Joe Schmidt is preparing to name his team for Saturday’s crucial November Test against New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium.

Rob Kearney and Devin Toner are among those who are expected to be recalled.

Two years after the historic win in Chicago, many are tipping Ireland to finally beat the All Black on home soil.

Williams says the Kiwis still have a score to settle.

Ireland will face New Zealand’s best ever second row partnership at Lansdowne Road on Saturday.

That is the view of All Blacks coach Steve Hansen who has selected Brodie Retallick and Samuel Whitelock for a record 50th time.

Centre Ryan Crotty replaces the injured Sonny Bill Williams in the only change to the side that beat England last week.

Retallick dominated the line out during the Twickenham game.

Hansen says he is out of this world.

England Head Coach Eddie Jones has made 11 changes to his side for Saturday’s international against Japan.

George Ford will captain the side, with Owen Farrell and Dylan Hartley both on the bench.

Winger Joe Cokanasiga (pron Coc-ana-see-ga) will make his England debut while Zach Mercer is given his first start for his country.

SOCCER

7.45 is the kick off time for tonight’s international friendly between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

It will be the 11th meeting between the Irish rivals and the first full match in seven years.

Both teams will be desperate for a good result ahead of next week’s Nations Cup games against Denmark and Austria.

Neither side have won a game in the new European tournament.

The Northern Ireland manager Michael O’Neill feels they are facing very similar challenges.


GAELIC GAMES

Dublin look set to maintain home advantage for two games in next year’s All Ireland Super 8s.

Croke Park is regarded as both a home and neutral ground for the Sam Maguire holders.

The G-A-A’s Central Competitions Control Committee have dispatched a document to counties reiterating that stance.

They claim the Jones Road stadium has been considered a neutral venue for quarter finals since 2001 and to change that status would be a matter for Congress.

MOTORSPORT

The finalists for Motorsport Ireland’s Billy Coleman Young Rally Driver of the Year award have been announced.

Armagh’s Jason Black and James Wilson as well as Jordan Hone from Co. Derry in the running to take home Irish rallying’s most prestigious awards.

The three drivers were chosen from a shortlist of eight candidates from throughout Ireland who were nominated for the award on the merits of their performances during the year.

The winner will be announced at the Beta Irish Motorsport Awards in Dublin next month.