Thursday Morning Sports Update

Two Irish men are at the top of the leaderboard after the first few holes of the Open Championship at Portrush.

The 2011 winner Darren Clarke birdied three of his first six holes to move to 3 under, but a bogey at the 7th put him level with Amateur Champion James Sugrue from Mallow and Romain Langasaque from France on 2-under par.

Two-time winner Padraig Harrington is one under par after three holes.

Rory McIlroy is the last of the Irish players to tee off – the 2014 champion will play with Paul Casey and Gary Woodland – the trio are due to start at 10 past 10.

Graeme McDowell, playing on his local course, has a 9.14 start time with Henrik Stenson and Xander Shauffele (PR: Zander Shaw-flee).

He says it’s amazing to have The Open back in Northern Ireland.

SOCCER

Sean Hoare and Gary Rogers were the heroes for Dundalk in Latvia last night as they advanced to the second qualifying round of the Champions League.

The Lilywhites beat Riga 5-4 on penalties after it finished scoreless between the sides over two legs and extra-time.

Hoare struck the winning penalty after a second save from Rogers of the shootout.

Dundalk will play Qarabag (PR: Karra-bag) of Azerbaijan in the next round.

Celtic also advanced with a 2-1 win at home to FK Sarajevo last night.

The Scottish champions sealed a 5-2 aggregate win and a second qualifying round meeting with Nomme Kalju (PR: Nom-meh Kal-yoo) of Estonia.

The Republic of Ireland under 19s are back in action at the European Championship in Armenia.

Tom Mohan’s side take on France at 6.00 in their second game in Group B.

Ireland opened their campaign with a 1-1 draw against Norway on Monday – France beat the Czech Republic 3-0.

CYCLING

Dan Martin will head for the Pyrenees ninth on general classification after yesterday’s 11th stage of the Tour de France.

The Irish rider finished in the pack as Caleb Ewan won in a sprint finish in Toulouse.

Martin is 2-minutes 9-seconds down on yellow jersey wearer Julian Alaphilippe.

Defending champion, Geraint Thomas is lying in second.