Thursday Lunchtime Sports Update

Brian O’Driscoll has shone a light on the use of painkillers at the top end of rugby.

It follows a survey of international players which revealed that almost half had felt pressure to play when not fully fit.

The former Ireland captain says he routinely took legal medication during the latter years of his career.


Kevin Kilbane says plenty of footballers take painkillers.

It has been suggested that the taking of painkillers gives players an unfair advantage.

Kilbane denies it had a big impact on his career.

SOCCER

Reading have sacked manager Paul Clement after just eight months.

The Championship strugglers have earned 18 points from 20 games so far this season and hover over the relegation zone following a run of four matches without victory.

Former Republic of Ireland Under 21 coach Clement only took charge of the Royals in March.

The Republic of Ireland have been drawn in the same pool as Russia, Azerbaijan and Romania for the European Under 19 Championship qualifiers.

The games will be played as part of a mini tournament in Russia in March.

The group winners will qualify to join hosts Armenia at the finals in July.


SNOOKER

Ronnie O’Sullivan awaits the winner of this afternoon’s U-K Snooker Championship last 16 encounter between Martin O’Donnell and Ding Junhui in York.

Judd Trump and Joe Perry will meet on the other table.


RACING

Champion trainer Willie Mullins has declared Un De Sceaux for the Betfair Tingle Creek at Sandown on Saturday.

He’s set to clash with Nicky Henderson’s star Altior who was declared earlier today.

Un De Sceaux, winner of the event under Ruby Walsh in 2016, is joined by Sceau Royal and bold front-runner Saint Calvados, who landed the Grade 3 Poplar Square Chase at Naas last time.

Then on Sunday, Willie Mullins has a great chance of winning the won the Grade 2 Kerry Group Hilly Way Chase in Cork for the 11th time in 12 seasons.

His talented speed-chaser Great Field is well fancied, while Mullins is also looking forward to finally having some proper winter ground for some of his stable stars.