Thursday Lunchtime Sports Update

SOCCER

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy is hoping his fringe players impress in tonight’s friendly against New Zealand.

Kieran O’Hara, Lee O’Connor, Jack Byrne and Troy Parrott will get their first starts in green while Ciaran Clark plays for the first time since last September.

McCarthy says it’s opportunity for everyone that plays later.

The Republic of Ireland’s under-21s are into the second half of their European Championships qualifier away to Armenia.

The Group One leaders drew with Italy and lost to Iceland in their last two matches.

Stephen Kenny’s side are 1-0 up.

Meanwhile the under-19s are taking on Switzerland in Salzburg.

That’s also in the second half and it’s 1-0 to Ireland.

England play their 1-thousandth international tonight when they take on Montenegro in a Euro 2020 qualifier.

Gareth Southgate’s team will seal their place at Euro 2020 if they avoid defeat.

Newcastle captain Jamaal Lascelles has been ruled out until the New Year.

He suffered a knee injury in Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Bournemouth.

GOLF

Padraig Harrington has opened with a one-under-par round of 71 at the Nedbank Challenge in South Africa.

Home favourite Louis Oosthuizen leads by three strokes at 9-under-par after shooting a round of 63.

Race to Dubai leader Bernd Wiesberger is two-under playing the 18th.

Scottish golfer Catriona Matthew has been named the European captain for the 2021 Solheim Cup.

The 50-year-old also held the role at this year’s tournament.

Her side produced a dramatic final day comeback to beat the USA at Gleneagles and regain the trophy.

Matthew tells Sky Sports News, she wants Suzann Pettersen, who retired after sinking the winning put in September, on her team again.

ATHLETICS

Greta Streimikyte (pron: strai-ma-keet-ah) says she can’t blame the heat for finishing outside the medals in the T-13 1500-metres final at the World Para Athletics Championships.

Ireland’s 2018 European champion placed fifth in a time of four minutes and 48 seconds in Dubai.

The Clonliffe Harriers clubwoman says all the athletes had to deal with the intense heat and that it can’t be an excuse for her performance.

RACING

Douvan makes his long-awaited return at Clonmel this afternoon.

He’ll get a first run in 18-months in the Grade Two Clonmel Oil Chase at the Tipperary venue.

Trainer Willie Mullins says it’s “nearly a victory” to have him back racing again.

The big race goes post at 2.50.