Thursday Lunchtime Sports Update

SOCCER

England manager Gareth Southgate says he’s picked a number of young players in his World Cup squad because they’re the best in their positions.

Liverpool defender Trent-Alexander Arnold was the big surprise in the 23-man group for Russia.


Joe Hart was left out in favour of less experienced goalkeepers Jordan Pickford, Jack Butland and Nick Pope.


Giuanluigi Buffon will play his final game for Juventus on Saturday.

The legendary goalkeeper has confirmed he will leave the Turin club at the end of the season.

Juventus paid Parma a record transfer fee of 23 million pounds for Buffon in 2001.

The 40 year old captained Juve to seventh straight Serie A title this season, and has suggested that he will continue to play.

Sam Allardyce feels he had the backing of most of the Everton fans.

The Merseyside club sacked the 63-year-old just six months into an 18 month deal.

Allardyce held talks with club officials yesterday, but felt the decision had already been made.

His style of football was heavily criticised by fans, but he claims only a minority wanted him to go. 

RUGBY

Munster Rugby and the IRFU have confirmed the one-year signing of South African back row Arno Botha.

The 26-year-old, currently with London Irish, will join Munster at the beginning of the 2018/19 season, subject to medical clearance and obtaining a work permit.

Botha, an explosive ball carrier who plays flanker and number eight, played his entire professional career with the Blue Bulls before moving to London in January.

A former South Africa U20s captain, he featured for the Springboks on two occasions in 2013.


GOLF

Lahinch has been named as the venue for the 2019 Dubai Duty-Free Irish Open.

Paul McGinley will host the event which will be held at the West Clare golf course just days before the British Open in Portrush.

The 2014 Ryder Cup Captain McGinley says he is delighted to head the event at the venue of his choice.


Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell and Seamus Power are among those who will battle the heat at the AT&T Byron Nelson in Dallas today.

The tournament is set to be played in temperatures in the mid to high 30s.

Local Jordan Speith is favourite to win, even though he is without a U-S P-G-A Tour victory since last July.


RACING

For the first time in 13 days Gordon Elliott will have runners in Ireland at today’s meeting in Clonmel.

The top trainer, who has pushed Willie Mullins so close in the last two trainers’ championships, has not had a runner since Cork on May 4th as his team were under a cloud.

Percy will be Elliott’s first runner back in 5.55 race under Dingle Jockey, Jack Kennedy.

The first of seven races at Clonmel is due off at 5.20 and the going is good to yielding.

They also go today at York at 2.20 – the ground is good to firm
Salisbury at 2.10 – good to firm
Perth at 2 – good, good to soft in places
There are evening meetings at Newmarket and Fontwell – the ground at both tracks is good, good to firm in places.