Thursday Lunchtime Sports Update

RUGBY

England captain Owen Farrell has been passed fit to start Saturday’s Six Nations clash with Ireland at the Aviva Staidum.

The Saracens out half had been a doubt for the game after undergoing thumb surgery, but has been handed the number 10 shirt.

Manu Tuilagi is named in the centre.

It will be the Leicester players first England start since 2014, and he will partner Henry Slade in midfield.

The Irish Rugby squad trained at the Aviva Stadium this morning before Joe Schmidt names his team to face England in Saturday’s Six Nations opener

The session was moved from their Carton House base due to fears over a frozen pitch.

Schmidt looks set to name three centres in his starting 15.

Reports claim Robbie Henshaw will play at full back, with Garry Ringrose and Bundee Aki forming the midfield partnership.

England are expected to hand Manu Tuilagi his first Six Nations start in almost six years.

The Ireland coach thinks it will be highly physical battle.

GOLF

Paul Dunne has carded a 2 under par first round of 63 at the Saudi International in Saudi Arabia.

The Wicklow man has carded four birdies and two bogies in his opening 18 holes.

That leaves Dunne five shots behind the leader Thomas Pieters of Belgium.

SOCCER

Republic of Ireland international Scott Hogan has joined Sheffield United on the last day of January Transfer Window.

The Aston Villa striker will be playing at Bramall Lane until the end of the season on a loan deal.

The Blades are currently third in the Championship, three points behind Norwich in second.

Martin O’Neill has strengthened his Nottingham Forest squad.

The former Ireland manager has signed Guinea international Pele on loan from Monaco until the end of the season.

Marouane Fellaini has left Manchester United.

The Belgium midfielder has been at Old Trafford for five and half years, but is on route to China to complete a lucrative move to Shandong Luneng.

Arsenal have finally confirmed the loan signing of the Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez.

The 25-year-old worked with manager Unai Emery at Sevilla, and there’s an option to make the move permanent at the end of the season.

Wolverhampton Wanderers have completed the permanent signing of on loan Spanish full back Jonny Otto from Athletico Madrid.

The fee is believed to be a club record equalling 18 million pounds.

The transfer window shuts in England at 11 o’clock this evening and midnight in Scotland.

RACING

Trainer Henry De Bromhead is having the most successful season of his career to date and will head for next weekend’s Dublin Racing Festival with a strong hand in many of the festival’s principal races.

He’s been discussing his plans for the festival with Dave Keena.

Jockey Rachael Blackmore still in search of her first Grade 1 success and will ride Henry De Bromhead’s Petit Mouchoir in this Saturday’s BHP Insurance Irish Champion Hurdle.

Rachael is delighted to have forged a successful partnership with Henry De Bromhead this season and she thinks Petit Mouchoir has a very good chance in the race.