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D’Arcy on Ireland’s scrumhalf conundrum; Liverpool return to winning ways

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

“Criag Casey doesn’t yet possess a body of work at provincial, much less international, level that offers a persuasive argument about his capacity to run big matches from the first whistle. Is it time to take a punt?” Gordon D’Arcy has plenty to say on Ireland’s XV to take on the Springboks this weekend. He wants Ireland to avoid starting to depend on Jamison Gibson-Park in the way they do Johnny Sexton. With the Leinster scrumhalf yet to play this season, is it time to turn to Casey given his superior speed to the breakdown suits Ireland’s style of play better than Conor Murray? Speaking of Sexton, he has been reflecting on the first time he faced off against South Africa in that famous Croke Park win back in 2009: “It’s mad to think I’m still going.”

In last night’s Champions League action, Liverpool returned to winning ways as two late goals allowed them to see off Napoli at Anfield. Mo Salah and Darwin Nunez both struck beyond the 85th minute in a result that offers some sort of revenge for a thumping victory for the Italian side earlier on in the campaign, though Liverpool do still finish second behind the Naples outfit. In France, Spurs came from behind to beat Marseille to finish atop their group.

Last summer, Cork’s hurlers were knocked off their own main stage by a singer-songwriter. Diarmuid O’Sullivan, who was part of the Cork management team at the time, is adamant that being forced to play in Thurles instead of Páirc Uí Chaoimh had a negative impact. “Travelling to Thurles was a bit different obviously, the crowd wasn’t there. It is definitely a motivating factor, you want to win your home games, you want to have your games at home and I think we did fall foul of that over the course of the year.” Elsewhere, Gordon Manning reports on the GAA presidential race, with Armagh’s Jarlath Burns and Offaly’s Pat Teehan now lacing up for the contest.

After his second career PGA Tour win over the weekend, Séamus Power’s has had to adjust his goals following a landmark victory: “I still have other big goals for the season. I will reset them obviously, at least to a certain extent, but I want to finish the season in the top-25 in the world, I want to make Ryder Cup, and I’ve never got to the Tour Championship so that’s another big one that I want to reach.”

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns is an Irish Times journalist