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Leona Maguire secures best major finish; Ken Early on why the rules are there in the first place

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

“As Leona Maguire navigated a route from tee to green on the terrain of the Honourable Company of Edinburgh Golfers in this historic edition of the AIG Women’s Open, each step was taken as if this turf belonged to her as much as anyone.” Phillip Reid followed Leona Maguire around Muirfield during the final round of The Open to produce a report on the Cavan golfer’s bogey-free effort that secured a career-best finish at a major. She finished in a tie for fourth as South African Ashleigh Buhai fought through four playoff holes to take home the crown. There was also plenty of Challenge Tour action over the weekend where John Murphy took a big step towards earning his full tour card.

Denise Gaule knows all about dramatic last minute set-pieces. 20 months ago in an empty Croke Park in 2020 she slotted a late penalty to break Galway hearts. On Sunday, up she stepped again to split the uprights against Cork and secure Kilkenny a dramatic 15th All-Ireland camogie crown. It was perhaps the most challenging year of all for manager Brian Dowling who overcame retirements, withdrawals and rank injury luck aplenty to lead the county to glory. In Sunday’s other finals, Galway held on in a close intermediate final while four goals from Dervla Cosgrove - including three in the space of 84 seconds - fired Antrim to the junior title over Armagh.

“In England they now seem to think of these rules as just so much red tape, but their efforts to create a faster and more furious form of football will end up reminding us why we have the rules in the first place.” The Premier League is back which means Ken Early and his usual Monday morning column returns. This week he delves into the rule change that allows what used to be blatant fouls to go unpunished and how there were plenty examples of this over the weekend. In terms of the results over in England, the biggest storyline that emerged was the slow start of Manchester United, with new manager Erik ten Hag admitting that his side lost belief during their home defeat to Brighton. In Sunday’s League of Ireland action, supersub Max Mata came off the bench to score twice in Sligo Rovers’ come from behind victory over Bohemians.

There were some excellent results for Northern Ireland in the final day of Commonwealth Games action on Sunday. Cyclist Matthew Teggart came agonisingly close to a bronze medal as he was pipped at the line by a while to finish in fourth. On the athletics track. Ciara Mageean produced arguably her best performance in a major championship to take home a silver medal in the 1500m.