Thursday Lunchtime Sports Update

GOLF

Rory McIlroy has confirmed he will miss this year’s Irish Open.

The Ulsterman will skip the Lahinch tournament to focus on the Open at Royal Portrush.

The oldest of the majors is returning to Northern Ireland for the first time since the 1951.

McIlroy is among nine of the world’s top 10 players who will tee off at the W-G-C Mexico Championship today.

He will be looking to improve on his joint fourth place finish at the Genesis Open in Los Angeles last week.

Shane Lowry is also in the field.

SOCCER

Arsenal look set to recall Mesut Ozil for tonight’s Europa League clash with BATE Borisov at the Emirates Stadium.

The German missed last week’s last 32 first leg due to illness, and has started just one game for the Gunners since St Stephen’s Day.

Alexander Lancazette sits out the tie having been sent off in the 1-nil defeat in Belarus.

Gunners boss Unai Emery says it is a great chance for Ozil to shine.

Kick off is at 5.55.

At the same time Celtic take on Valencia in Spain.

The Scottish champions face an uphill battle to avoid elimination following a 2-nil defeat in Parkhead.

8 o’clock is the start time for Chelsea’s game against Malmo at Stamford Bridge.

The Blues were 2-1 winner in Sweden last week.

Manager Maurizio Sarri needs another good result following humiliating defeats to Manchester United, Man City and Bournemouth.

RUGBY

Connacht scrum half Kieran Marmion has returned from injury to take his place in the Connacht side to play Glasgow Warriors in Scotstoun tomorrow.

Marmion came off the bench in Connacht’s victory over the Cheetahs last week, but this will be his first start since Ireland’s win over the All Blacks in November.

RĂ³nan Kelleher will become the 54th Leinster player to pull on a senior jersey this season when he makes his debut at hooker against the Southern Kings.

The Lansdowne player only turned 21 last month and is in his second year in the Leinster Academy.

He is also the younger brother of Connacht back Cian Kelleher.

England have made two changes to their team for Saturday’s Six Nations match against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

Jack Nowell is selected on the right wing and Ben Moon at loosehead prop.

The Exeter pair come in for the injured Chris Ashton and Mako Vunipola.

Peter Horne and Blair Kinghorn replace the injured Finn Russell and Stuart Hogg for Scotland’s game against France.

RACING

There is a seven-race card at Thurles this afternoon where the first is off at 2.00.

In the UK, they run at:

Sedgefield – good, good to soft in places at 1.35
Huntingdon – good, good to soft in places – at 2.15
Southwell – on the standard track – at 2.25
Wolverhampton – on the standard track – at 5.05
Chelmsford – standard – 5.50