Warning Manchester United fans, today’s pages feature distressing images

GAA’s cashless tickets mistake; helter-skelter league football; a guide to running a marathon

You know the way news programmes warn you in advance if a report contains distressing images? Well, just to advise the Manchester United fans among you, the front page of today’s sports supplement features a photo of the Anfield scoreboard at full-time on Sunday.

Ken Early tries to make sense of Liverpool’s 7-0 annihilation of their beloved visitors, but admits he’s struggling. “Imagine trying to understand this nonsense for a living,” he writes. But he hails what he says was Mo Salah’s best performance since 2021, while wondering why Erik ten Hag approached the game so negatively instead of instructing his team to go looking for Liverpool’s “glass jaw”. In the end, it was United’s jaw that was left in smithereens.

Denis Walsh, meanwhile, uses his Tipping Point column to look at the impact of the GAA embracing the era of cashless tickets on those older people who have “no truck with credit cards or debit cards, or a working relationship with technology”, making it harder for them to buy tickets for games. Having one cash turnstile at each ground is, he says, the obvious solution. “To leave anybody behind is against everything the GAA stands for.”

There’s plenty of coverage of the weekend’s GAA games, Malachy Clerkin concluding that the only thing we know for sure about football’s “helter-skelter Division One” is that leaders Mayo are safe – beyond that, it’s all up for grabs.


John O’Sullivan continues the build-up to Ireland’s Six Nations trip to Murrayfield next Sunday, arguing that Andy Farrell must deploy his players – notably Caelan Doris, Peter O’Mahony and Josh van der Flier – in their best positions if the team is to continue producing those “moments of attacking cohesion that can make the difference”.

And now that Erik ten Hag knows that rebuilding United will be more of a marathon than a sprint, he should check out Ian O’Riordan’s guide to taking up the marathon. Ian strongly recommends doing just that, while warning that running 26.2 miles can result in “terrible muscle soreness, vicious blistering and crippling dehydration”. In other words, it’ll leave you feeling as rough as Manchester United fans do this morning.

Telly choice: It being Monday, we’re struggling here. It’s possible that neither Brentford v Fulham nor Sassuolo v Cremonese will float your boat, so the best we can suggest is the latest instalment of Against the Head (RTÉ2, 8.0), when Eddie O’Sullivan and Bernard Jackman will look ahead to that Six Nations game against Scotland.

Keep an eye on: Novak Djokovic’s latest unvaccinated woes. He has withdrawn from this week’s prestigious Indian Wells tournament in California, the assumption being that his application for a Covid-19 vaccine waiver to enter the US failed. There should be clarification on that later today, with possible implications for his hopes of winning his fourth US Open later in the year.

Be sure to check your inbox every morning as Mary Hannigan brings you your daily sports fix.