Shamrock Rovers’ first game in the Europa Conference League ended in a stalemate with the Hoops mixing things up for their European return but Djurgården held the fort in Tallaght. Stephen Bradley’s charges will be disappointed having carved out more chances than their far wealthier opponents, but €166,000 in prize money for this result and the surge of confidence that should follow will carry them to Belgium and next Thursday’s clash with Gent. In the Europa League, Manchester United lost their opener to Real Sociedad after Brais Mendez converted a penalty following a contentious handball decision against Lisandro Martinez. Marquinhos inspired Arsenal on his debut in opening Europa League win over Zürich. Tonight, Bohs head to Derry looking to build on derby win in the Airtricity League. Meanwhile, Graham Potter has been appointed the new Chelsea manager.
The Women’s World Cup European playoff draw takes place today and Lisa Fallon writes that Ireland can win ugly now and the evolution of style for Ireland can come later. She writes that the Irish team have become the sort of side that can control games without the ball. “The draw for the playoffs takes place today. The first-round matches will be played on October 6th so with just a five day turnaround the second round bye is an enormous advantage. These types of games are cup finals, you just need to get it right on the night.”
Several sports, including the Premier League, will hold emergency talks on Friday to discuss weekend plans following the death of the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II. Several sports held a meeting on Thursday to discuss plans, with one observer saying part of the talks centred on whether to have a one- or two-day pause to mark the queen’s death. Another person present said they believed sport would resume on Saturday, although they indicated that all would be mindful of the public mood over the next 24 hours. Play at the PGA Championship golf at Wentworth was suspended on Thursday evening when the news broke, and it was later confirmed that there would be no play on Friday. Racing at Southwell and Chelmsford on Thursday evening was also abandoned.
In rugby, Josh van der Flier is confident Ireland can carry form all the way to the World Cup this time as the Ireland back row’s busy summer saw him get married following the historic series win in New Zealand. In today’s subscriber only piece, Johnny Watterson writes that rugby was selling its values on the open market and Qatar saw a bargain as the recent announcement of a partnership between URC rugby and the Qatari airline hits a bum note. “Welcome to preseason training in Qatar, a country whose take on certain rights would make Ian Paisley’s 1977 ‘Save Ulster From Sodomy’ look like a liberal crusade,” writes Watterson.
Elsewhere, Ireland’s Ciara Mageean took an impressive second place in Diamond League finale in 1,500 metres as Kipyegon completed an unbeaten season as the Portaferry runner finished hard to pass Freweyni Hailu close to the line in Zurich. Joanne O’Riordan writes referees are doing their best, we should respect that as sport only makes sense with rules and we need someone to enforce them. Philip Reid writes that golf’s civil war is being played out in public view and frank exchanges of recent days, from players and tour hierarchy, suggest the rift is widening. Paddy Christie is hoping to build on air of positivity as he steps up to senior management with Longford. “I’m not going to start saying Longford are going to win this, that or the other, it’s about small notches,” he says.