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Mageean sets lofty ambitions ahead of 1500m final; Lowry in the hunt at BMW Championships

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

“I believe I’m one of the best athletes in that field and I’m going to go out and prove it. You put yourself up there and if you don’t get gold, hopefully it’s silver, and if you don’t get silver hopefully it’s bronze.” Strong words from Ciara Mageean ahead of her European Championships 1500m final today, but Mageean, who won bronze in 2016 and was fourth in Berlin four years ago, is running better than ever now, winning silver at the Commonwealth Games final in Birmingham two weeks ago. She imposed herself magnificently on the heat here, finishing second in a season best of 4:03.03, only Poland’s Sofia Ennaoui edged ahead of her down the straight. You can find a full list of the Irish in action on Friday in Munich here.

A first round 66 has Shane Lowry two off the lead at BMW Championships as Keegan Bradley took the initial lead with a seven-under-par 64. Fully aware that he needs a really good finish in this competition, Lowry said of his aim to make it to the Tour Championship for the first time in his career: “I’d love to get to East Lake, but I also want to get to East Lake with a chance to kind of do something special. I need to do something very good this week, so I need a really good finish this week, and hopefully that (66) will put me not too far off the leader going into next week, and then you never know what could happen.” Rory McIlroy is a further two strokes back after his opening 68, with Séamus Power carding a level-par 71.

It looks like Shamrock Rovers’ Europa League dream is over after a humbling 4-0 defeat away to Ferencváros in Budapest. For all a depleted Rovers’ honest endeavour, on the evidence of this with next week’s second leg in Tallaght to come, their autumn in Europe is now almost certainly set for the far from inconsiderable cushion of group stage football in the Europa Conference League. Looking at the U20 Women’s World Cup currently underway in Costa Rica, Lisa Fallon delves into her experience of travelling substantial distances to prepare teams for overseas games. She also looks at the standard of the respective countries: “One of the biggest things I’ve learned is a new level of understanding of the challenges that players and coaches can face in different parts of the world in order to reach the highest level of the game and realise their potential and ambitions. Globally, it’s not a level playing field in terms of opportunity.”

The trial of former Manchester United footballer Ryan Giggs continues. Giggs told a court on Thursday his ex-girlfriend was “happy” when he sent her repeated messages and turned up unannounced at her gym upon their relationship breaking down. Giggs said Kate Greville was “happy that I fought for us and that I persisted” when he pursued her after a fallout. The former Wales international is accused of controlling and coercive behaviour.

Nathan Johns

Nathan Johns is an Irish Times journalist