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Ukraine beat Ireland at the Aviva; Rory McIlroy questions timing of Saudi-backed invitational

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

Ireland’s wait for a maiden home win in the Nations League goes on following last night’s 1-0 defeat to Ukraine at the Aviva Stadium. Watching the Ukrainian players celebrate with their fans after the match, it was hard to feel too bad about the outcome, writes Ken Early in his column. Explaining why Ireland may feel more at home in League C of the Nations League. Check out the match report from the Aviva here, and player ratings. In transfer news Liverpool have rejected a £30 million Bayern Munich bid for Sadio Mané and the Merseyside club have been told they’ll have to break their transfer record to sign Benfica’s Darwin Núñez.

Amid the controversy surrounding the Saudi-backed LIV Golf Invitational Series, Rory McIlroy echoes that he wants “to play on the PGA Tour against the best players in the world.” The Irishman’s opposition to the breakaway events has been very public, but in advance of this week’s Tour action in Toronto he is questioning the timing of the Saudi-backed invitational going head-on against the historic Canadian Open: “There’s a lot of things that they have done that don’t make sense to me. It’s very hard for me to put myself in their mind and think things through logically and get to the place where they have got to, I guess. For the game in general I think it’s a shame that it’s going to fracture the game.”

In advance of Friday night’s URC semi-final against the Bulls, Leinster’s Jordan Larmour admits a recall to the Irish squad is in the back of his mind as he aims to continue his excellent form since returning from injury: “When I was out injured, I said when I came back I’d just focus on doing the simple things really well, then those big moments come and you just have to be ready to take them.” Former Springbok Cornal Hendricks is aiming to again beat the odds and Leinster, eight years after he was told to stop playing rugby because of a heart condition.

Meanwhile, Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O’Rourke share The Irish Times/Sports Ireland Sportswoman of month award for May following their two World Championship gold medals in less than an hour in Istanbul last month. Both women collected prize money of $100,000 for their successes, which will be no small help in allowing them focus on their sport.