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Heartbreaking defeat for St Pat’s in Europe; Davy Fitz back at Waterford

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

The European odyssey ends for St Patrick’s Athletic as Jesus saves CSKA Sofia’s blushes after the Bulgarian side won 2-0 in Tallaght and 2-1 on aggregate to knock the Dublin side out of the Europa Conference League qualifiers. So, CSKA Sofia progress to a playoff against Basel of Switzerland, to reach the group stages, as St Pat’s return to reality with a thump. Sligo Rovers visit Richmond Park on Sunday. Sligo Rovers themselves bowed out with heads held high after Showgrounds victory over Viking. Back home, Derry City are looking to take advantage of weary table toppers Shamrock Rovers tonight as Bohemians strive for consistency as they take on Dundalk side with poor away record.

Meanwhile in today’s subscriber only piece, Lisa Fallon writes about tracking the future stars of women’s football in Costa Rica as the Under-20 Women’s World Cup is where players begin to shine on the global stage. Fallon is with Fifa’s technical team to observe and analyse the trends that emerge from the tournament. “The higher standard of player that you encounter, the different questions they ask of you. The different playing styles presented by teams from other parts of the world helps develop the decisions that a player makes and forces them to find new solutions,” she writes.

Davy Fitzgerald has been confirmed as Waterford manager for a three-year term. It is Fitzgerald’s second tour of duty with the county. Appointed in 2008, he led the county to its first All-Ireland final since 1963 and although they had the misfortune to run into peak Kilkenny and lost by 23 points, the county would reach the last four for each of his seasons in charge. Irish crews let their rowing do all the talking on opening day of European Championships in Munich as Paul O’Donovan and Fintan McCarthy won their lightweight doubles heat to advance straight to Sunday’s final. There was a similarly convincing win in the heats of the women’s four for the crew of Eimear Lambe, Aifric Keogh, Natalie Long and Tara Hanlon.

In golf, a putting masterclass propels Leona Maguire into joint-second at the ISPS Handa World Invitational at Galgorm Castle in Co Antrim. The Cavan golfer battled for the first 15 holes with her marksmanship off the tee but struck late with three birdies in the closing holes to go five-under par, her 68 placing her just one shot off the leader American Amanda Doherty, who shot a 67. In cricket, Ireland continue their winning ways to take 2-0 lead over Afghanistan in Belfast as a disciplined bowling and fielding display restricted the visitors to 122 at Stormont.