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Leinster left to fly the Irish flag in Europe, Mayo get the better of beloved neighbours

No joy for Munster, Ulster or Connacht in Champions and Challenge cups

Of all our rugby teams in action over the weekend, only Leinster came out on top in their contest, Ulster, Munster, Connacht and the Irish women’s team all going down to defeats of varying magnitudes.

Leinster march on, Gerry Thornley writing about their 30-15 Champions Cup win over Ulster at a rain-sodden Aviva Stadium, and bringing us reaction from both camps. There was no joy, though, for Munster in Durban, where they lost 50-35 to The Sharks, nor for Connacht who exited the Challenge Cup at the hands of Benetton.

Denis Walsh, meanwhile, was in Musgrave Park to see Ireland suffer another chastening Six Nations defeat, this time losing 53-3 to France. They were, he writes, “over-powered and outmanoeuvred and bamboozled by a French team that was miles better at everything”.

In Gaelic Games, Mayo prevailed in the all-Connacht division one football final, seeing off the challenge of their beloved neighbours Galway, while a second half blitz of goals saw Dublin over the line in the division two decider against Derry.


In soccer, it was a wild weekend in the English Premier League with Chelsea sacking Graham Potter and Leicester parting company with Brendan Rodgers. Liverpool, meanwhile, suffered a bruising 4-1 defeat to Manchester City, a result that leaves them eight points adrift of the Champions League places. The club’s supporters are directing their ire towards owners Fenway Sports Group, but Ken Early reckons spending money on the wrong players has been the biggest mistake, Jurgen Klopp now left, he says, with a mediocre team.

There was nothing mediocre about Katie McCabe’s Lazarus-like recovery from an injury that left her on crutches last week, the Republic of Ireland captain the player of the match in Arsenal’s key victory over Manchester City on Sunday, scoring a zinger of a winner.

In athletics, Ian O’Riordan picked a heck of a week to visit Texas, arriving in time to witness Rhasidat Adeleke produce yet more blistering runs as she helped her university win all four events on home turf in the Texas Relays, breaking three US collegiate records.

And Denis Walsh takes a look at Rory McIlroy’s chances of winning the one major that has eluded him, McIlroy about to embark on his 15th Masters.

Telly watch: The 87th edition of the Masters doesn’t get under way until Thursday, but Sky Sports Golf kicks off its coverage today (5.0-10.0) with previews, interviews and coverage of practice.