Thursday Morning Sports Update

GOLF

Padraig Harrington has had a mixed start to the European Tour’s Maybank Championship in Malaysia.

The Ryder Cup captain is making his first appearance since November due to a wrist injury.

He’s had two birdies and two bogies on the front nine and a birdie on the 10th to lie on one under par, six shots behind the joint leaders, Australia’s Marcus Fraser and Nacho Elvira of Spain.

Graeme McDowell and Seamus Power both tee off at Valspar Championship in Florida later today.

Dustin Johnson, Patrick Reed and Jon Rahm are also in the field.

SOCCER

Sean Maguire says the Republic of Ireland are determined to ensure the Euro 2020 qualification campaign starts with a win.

Mick McCarthy’s men travel to Gibraltar today as the countdown continues to Saturday’s opening game.

Preston North End striker Maguire is tipped to make his first start for the Boys in Green this weekend.

Gibraltar are currently 194th in the FIFA World Rankings, but the former Cork City star says Ireland are taking nothing for granted.

Northern Ireland begin their qualification campaign tonight.

Michael O’Neill’s men welcome Estonia to Windsor Park

Scotland are away to Kazakhstan.

The F-A-I say they have written to the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement in an effort to further clarify the loan received from Chief Executive John Delaney.

Irish football’s governing body say they have responded to Sport Ireland’s request for clarification on a 100-thousand euro payment they say was used to resolve a short-term cash flow issue.

The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar has claimed the loan arrangement was “unusual”, and in response the F-A-I say they are willing to meet with Minister for Sport Shane Ross and Sport Ireland to discuss the matter.

RUGBY

Munster will be without Tommy O’Donnell for the rest of the season.

Coach Johan van Graan says the Tipperary flanker is facing a lengthy recovery period after undergoing shoulder surgery.

The former Munster player of the year was injured during January’s Champions Cup game against Exeter Chiefs, and is unlikely to feature until the start of the next campaign.

RACING

There is a seven-race card at Cork this afternoon with the first off at 2.10.

The going there is soft.

In the UK, they run at Sedgefield – soft, good to soft in places – at 2.05.

Chepstow, good to soft, at 2.20 and Ludlow, good to soft, good in places from 2.30.