Subscriber OnlySports Briefing

Crowley must play his own game, free from unending comparions with Sexton

Deal done at SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh; and why GAA shouldn’t be too hasty in rejecting the idea of using television match officials

It might be a vain hope, but Gordon D’Arcy wishes that Ireland’s likely new outhalf will “be allowed the scope to breathe at Test level”, free from unending comparisons with his predecessor. “He is not the next Johnny Sexton, he is the first Jack Crowley,” he writes, “and while he can take what he learned from working with [Sexton], he must play the game through his eyes.” What will be of no small help, he says, will be Peter O’Mahony’s presence alongside him which will bring “a level of familiarity and comfort that will allow Crowley to focus on managing the game for the team, leaning on the Ireland captain when required”.

Ronan O’Gara is no stranger to the pressures that come with taking over at outhalf for Ireland, but, writes Johnny Watterson, while there was a “certainty of succession” when he took the jersey from David Humphreys and then lost it to Sexton, no such certainty exists now. “There’s nothing set in concrete, far from it,” says O’Gara. “Jack gets first crack at it. If he does well, he’ll keep the jersey.”

Gerry Thornley expects Crowley to be given the nod for Friday night’s Six Nations opener against France in Marseilles, with Joe McCarthy’s form for Leinster likely to see him also included in the side. And Calvin Nash seems set to hold off the challenge of Jordan Larmour for the role of replacement for the injured Mack Hansen.

Tadhg Beirne has every confidence in Crowley who, he tells Gerry, he has seen mature appreciably in the last year. “He works incredibly hard. You see him at the video all the time, see him staying behind in Munster till all hours, doing video work. He has a real hunger to become the best player he can possibly be.”


In Gaelic games, the deal is done, Cork GAA’s home will be called SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh – and not SuperValu Páirc – for the next 10 years after they reached a sponsorship agreement with the supermarket chain. Gordon Manning brings you all the details.

Seán Moran, meanwhile, feels the GAA shouldn’t be too hasty in rejecting the idea of using television match officials, arguing that there are surely ways of using video technology to assist referees without making them feel redundant.

Seán also talks to 1993 All-Ireland winner Tony Scullion about his native Derry’s current football fortunes, which are “on an apparently inexorable rise”, while Gordon speaks with Cork manager John Cleary, who refuses to blame his team’s five-hour trek to Ballybofey last weekend for their double-digit defeat to Donegal.

And in soccer, Gavin Cummiskey updates us on the FAI’s search for a successor to Stephen Kenny, Lee Carsley seemingly reluctant – thus far – to leave his current position as England under-21s coach to take up the role.

TV Watch: The European cycling season gets under way in Spain today with stage one of the Tour of Valencia (Eurosport 2, 2pm-3.30pm). And there are three Premier League games on your screens tonight – Tottenham v Brentford (TNT Sports 2, 7.30pm), Manchester City v Burnley (TNT Sports 3, 7.30pm) and Liverpool v Chelsea (TNT Sports 1, 8.15pm). Match of the Day will have highlights at 11.10pm (BBC1).

  • Sign up for Sport push alerts and have the best news, analysis and comment delivered directly to your phone