Thursday Lunchtime Sports Update

SOCCER

The dates have been confirmed for Tottenham and Liverpool’s Champions League semi finals.

Tottenham will host Ajax (PRON: Eye-ax) at the new White Hart Lane on Tuesday April 30th, with the return leg in Amsterdam on Wednesday 8th May.


Spurs were beaten 4-3 by Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium last night, but went through on away goals.

Their manager Mauricio Pochettino (PRON: Potch-i-teenyo) believes his men can go all the way.

Liverpool’s semi final first leg will be away to Barcelona at the Nou Camp (PRON: Nu) on Wednesday the 1st of May, with the second leg at Anfield the following Tuesday.

Reds manager Jurgen Klopp is not worrying about Barca talisman Lionel Messi just yet.

Arsenal start as the big favourites to reach the Europa League semi-finals this evening.

They lead Napoli 2-0 going into the second leg.

But with the Italian’s at home their manager Carlo Ancelotti says they aren’t out of the game.

Chelsea play Slavia Prague at Stamford Bridge 1-nil up from the opening match of their tie.

Benfica lead Eintracht Frankfurt 4-2 – while Valencia hold a 3-1 advantage over Villarreal.

Alex McLeish has been sacked as Scotland manager.

The Scottish FA say the decision was agreed in consultation with him, following a “disappointing” start to Euro 2020 qualifying.

They lost to Kazakhstan before narrowly beating the world’s lowest ranked team San Marino.

McLeish’s assistants James McFadden, Peter Grant and Stevie Woods will also leave their posts.

RUGBY

Rory Best has confirmed he will retire from professional rugby after the World Cup.

Ulster have released a statement this morning to confirm the news that the 36 year old hooker and Ireland skipper will be calling it a day.

Best has played 116 times for Ireland, winning 4 Six Nations Championships and 2 Grand Slams.

He has amassed 219 appearances for Ulster and has been on two British and Irish Lions Tours.

Jason Leonard has been appointed Chairman of the British & Irish Lions Board.

A former Lion, England international and Past RFU President in England, Leonard will replace Tom Grace.

Jason Leonard is a three-times Lions tourist having traveled to New Zealand in 1993, South Africa in 1997 and Australia in 2001.

SNOOKER

Amateur qualifier James Cahill will play five-time winner Ronnie O’Sullivan in the opening-round of the World Snooker Championship.

Cahill knocked out Dublin’s Michael Judge in the the final round of qualifying yesterday.

Defending champion Mark Williams will face Martin Gould in the first match on Saturday.

Antrim’s Mark Allen will face Zhou Yuelong (pron: jow you-long).

BOXING

Jarrell Miller says he’ll vigorously appeal against the decision to revoke his boxing licence in New York.

Anthony Joshua’s next opponent had it taken away last night following an adverse finding in a drugs test.

Miller denies knowingly taking a banned substance.

Joshua’s camp say they’re considering potential alternative opponents for the 1st of June.

RACING

The Willie Mullins-trained Burrows Saint is guaranteed a place in Monday’s Boylesports Irish Grand National at Fairyhouse.

The 3-day festival gets underway with the Grade 1 Ryanair Gold Cup on Sunday and looking ahead to the action here’s Dave Keena.

Following the cancellation of the Waterford & Tramore meeting on Monday 15 April, Horse Racing Ireland has announced that a replacement afternoon fixture will take place on Tuesday 14 May.

There’s an 8-race card in Clonmel today with the first race off at 3.55.

In the UK, they run at Newmarket from 1.50 – good to firm, good in places

Cheltenham at 2.05 – the going is good

Ripon at 2.15 – good, good to firm in places

Chelmsford City at 5.25 – standard