Thursday Morning Sports Update

SOCCER

Barcelona are on the brink of reaching the Champions League Final after they defeated a spirited Liverpool team 3-0 in the first leg of their semi final at the Nou Camp (PRON: Nu Camp) last night.

Lionel Messi (PRON: Lee-o-nell) once again had the X Factor, scoring two second half goals after Luis Suarez (PRON: Louis Swarez) had given Barca the lead.

Liverpool had more possession, shots on goal and completed more passes, but Messi’s genius has them on the back foot ahead of the second leg at Anfield on Tuesday.

Messi’s second goal and the third of the game was an amazing free kick from 25 yards out that flew into the top corner.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is proud of his men, despite the result.

Arsenal and Chelsea are in Europa League semi final action tonight.

The Gunners host Valencia in the first leg at the Emirates Stadium.

Chelsea are in Germany to play Eintracht Frankfurt.

Both games start at 8pm.

RACING

Ruby Walsh has announced his retirement from race riding.

The Kildare National Hunt jockey ended a glittering career on a high by calling it a day after he rode ‘Kemboy’ to win the Punchestown Gold Cup yesterday.

39 year old Walsh achieved everything in the game, 24 years after riding his first winner.

He is the leading Cheltenham Festival jockey of all time with 59 winners, rode the winners of the Irish, English, Welsh and Scottish Grand Nationals and in total was aboard 2,756 winners in Ireland and Britain.

Racing continues today at Punchestown.

The Stayers Hurdle is the main attraction at 5.30.

Dave Keena this preview

SNOOKER

It’s down to the last four at the World Snooker Championship at the Crucible today.

Past winner John Higgins is to meet David Gilbert, with Judd Trump to play Gary Wilson.

GOLF

Rory McIlroy returns to competitive golf for the first time since his Masters disappointment when he lines up in the Wells Fargo Championship on the US PGA Tour in North Carolina later.

Padraig Harrington and Seamus Power are also in the field.