Thursday Lunchtime Sports Update

GOLF

Shane Lowry is the outright leader at the Abu Dhabi Championship once again.

The Offaly man, who carded a record equalling first round, has overcome a disappointing start to day two.

He suffered two bogies in his first three holes.

Lowry has since carded four birdies to climb to 12 under par.

That is one shot clear of the field, with Louis Ooshizen leading the chasing pack.

RUGBY

Eddie Jones has dubbed Ireland as the best team in the world.

The England coach was speaking after unveiling his squad for the upcoming Six Nations opener at the Aviva Stadium.

A knee injury has ruled captain Dylan Hartley out of the trip to Dublin, so Owen Farrell will lead the side.

It has been six years since England last won at Lansdowne Road, but Jones is confident his team can beat the best.

Former Ireland captain Keith Wood says Ross Byrne shouldn’t be too disappointed after being left out of the Irish squad.

Coach Joe Schmidt selected Connacht outhalf Jack Carty as back up to Johnny Sexton and Joey Carbery.

Byrne made his first two appearances for Ireland during the November Test series and helped Leinster beat French giants Toulouse in the Champions Cup at the weekend.

Wood feels the 23 year old is still in Schmidt’s plans.

SOCCER

The Republic of Ireland will play Bulgaria and New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium later this year.

The F-A-I have announced the addition of two international friendlies to the Boys in Green schedule for 2019.

Bulgaria will visit Dublin on Tuesday the 10th September, five days after the Euro 2020 qualifer against Switzerland.

Mick McCarthy’s men will host the Kiwis on Thursday November 14th, four days before their final Group D match at home to Denmark.

Damien Duff has told for his new Celtic player, they must be prepared to do anything.

The Republic of Ireland legend left his post at Shamrock Rovers to become the reserve coach at Parkhead.

Duff believes modern players are not working hard enough to realise their dreams

He wants to help change that:

Mousa Dembele is leaving Tottenham.

Spurs have agreed to sell the Belgian International to Chinese Super League side Guangzhou R&F.

The 31-year-old joined Tottenham from Fulham in 2012 and has scored ten goals in 250 for the North London club.

TENNIS

Novak Djokovic has won the first two sets of his Australian Open second round match with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.

Top Seed Djokovic beat Tsonga to claim his first Grand Slam in the 2008 Melbourne final.

He is now aiming to win the tournament for an unprecedented the seventh time.

Serena Williams wasted little time in securing her place in the third round.

The 2017 champion required just over an hour to overcome Eugenie Bouchard of Canada

Earlier, Women’s World Number One Simona Halep needed three sets to get past young American Sofia Kenin to reach the third round.