Iain Henderson is out of Ireland’s tour of New Zealand. In a cruel twist of fate for the Ulster captain and a worrying sign for Ireland’s secondrow stocks, a knee injury picked up in training has curtailed his involvement, though it remains to be seen for how long he will be sidelined. No replacement has been called up as of yet. The news comes as Bundee Aki has been named to captain Ireland in their tour opener against the Maori All Blacks. All of Ireland’s uncapped players are starting: Jimmy O’Brien, Joe McCarthy, Cian Prendergast and Ciarán Frawley, the latter at outhalf with Harry Byrne out injured. The Maori All Blacks named their team yesterday but further news has come from their senior camp that Will Jordan is the latest player to be struck down by Covid. In the build-up to both the Maori game and the first Test, Gerry Thornley looks at Ireland’s near misses when trying to secure a maiden victory on Kiwi soil. Closer to home, the Champions Cup draw takes place today and Owen Doyle points out its tricky nature for the Irish sides.
Ireland are up to second in their World Cup qualifying group after an expected thumping 9-0 win over Georgia. Katie McCabe starred with a hat-trick as Vera Pauw’s outfit ruthlessly got the three points required to leapfrog above Finland with Sweden already guaranteed top spot in the group. Pauw has called on her side now to “finish the job” knowing that victory over the Finns on September 1st would guarantee Ireland a playoff for a maiden World Cup spot. In last night’s League of Ireland action, Shamrock Rovers opened up a 10-point lead at the top of the table by beating St Pat’s.
The fall-out from Sunday’s disgraceful brawl in the Galway vs Armagh game will continue to rage on and on - including in Leinster house as the Taoiseach offered his views on the matter on Monday. Kevin McStay weighs in this morning, arguing that there is a general culture of indifference in the GAA when it comes to such scenes: “On-field violence has been a curse since the foundation of the games. To me, it is a cultural issue that the association has shown no great stomach for addressing.” Following Sunday’s other game between Mayo and Kerry, Mayo manager James Horan stepped down from his position, ending his second stint as the county’s boss. Mike Solan has emerged as the early favourite to replace him.
Emma Raducanu remains a work in progress as she opened up her Wimbledon campaign yesterday with a win, taking 100 minutes to beat Alison van Uytvanck 6-4 6-4. On the men’s side of the draw, Novak Djokovic dropped a set against Korean Soon-Woo Kwon but ultimately prevailed 6-3 3-6 6-3 6-4. The cricket action continues this evening as Ireland look to bounce back from a thumping defeat in the first T20 international at Malahide as they square off against India once again at the Dublin venue.