Thursday Lunchtime Sports Update

SOCCER

Maurizio Sarri has emerged as the new favourite to replace Antonio Conte as the Chelsea manager.

The 59 year old Italian was sacked by Napoli yesterday.


He led them to a second place finish in Serie A this year, but has been replaced by Carlo Ancelotti.

Sarri’s agent is said to be heading London to begin negotiations, although he is also said to be considering the vacant post at Zenit St Petersburg.

Patrice Evra and James Collins will not be part of Manuel Pellegrini’s plans at West Ham.

The Hammers have announced that pair will leave the club at the end of June.

Evra was signed on a short team deal under David Moyes.

Collins made 214 appearances during his two spells at the club, and says he is heartbroken to be leaving. 

RUGBY

Johnny Sexton is said to have been passed fit for Saturday’s Pro 14 final against Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium.

Reports claim the Ireland out half has recovered from the calf injury which forced him out weekend’s win over Munster.

Robbie Henshaw looks set to miss out again, but captain Isa Nacewa and Dan Leavy look to have shaken off calf and hamstring issues.

Jordan Larmour has already picked up a Six Nations and Champions Cup medal in his debut season.

The 20 year old winger wants to end the campaign on a high.

AUDIO – LARMOUR

CYCLING

Swiss rider Cyrille Thiery wears the leader’s yellow jersey for today’s fifth stage of the Rás Tailteann.

Today’s route takes the peloton on a 150-kilometre route from Glengariff to Mitchelstown.

Meanwhile, Sam Bennett will look to put the disappointment of yesterday’s finish behind him when he goes in stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia today.

Bennett was pipped at the line by points race leader Elia Viviani.

Today’s stage is a largely flat one but it finishes with a climb to Prato Nevoso.

Simon Yates will be looking to protect his 56-second lead over Tom Dumoulin in the race for the leader’s pink jersey.

GOLF

Rory McIlroy has just started his first round at the BMW P-G-A Championship at Wentworth.

It is the Ulsterman’s first tournament on European soil since October.

Shane Lowry and Graeme McDowell also take to the course this lunchtime.

They will be playing alongside Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn.

Paul Dunne is leading the Irish challenge out on the course.

The Wicklow man holds a share of 8th place on 2 under par.

He has had back to back birdies on the 11th and 12th holes, to lie just three shots off the lead.

Richard Bland has joined fellow Englishman Matthew Fitzpatrick at the top of the leaderboard on 5-under par.

Things are not going so well for Padraig Harrington.

The Dubliner is 7 over after 16 holes. 

CRICKET

Irish Cricket legend Ed Joyce has announced his retirement from the sport.

Ireland’s opening batsman is stepping away from the game at the age of 39.

The Bray native made his international debut in 2006.

He had a three year spell with England, before returning to play for Ireland at the 2011 World Cup.

Joyce has announced his retirement just two weeks after scoring the opening runs in Ireland’s first test ever match against Pakistan in Malahide.

MOTORSPORT

Red Bull have set down a marker in the opening practice session for Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix.

Daniel Ricciardo set a new lap record to beat his team mate Max Verstappen to the top of the time sheets.

Carlos Sainz was third in the Renault. 

RACING

There’s an eight-race card at Tipperary this evening with the first going to post at 5.15.

In the UK they go at Goodwood, Catterick, Lingfield, Sandown and Chelmsford