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Liverpool back to winning ways; McStay ready to make a difference for Mayo

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

Liverpool got back to winning ways in the Champions League as Joël Matip rose high to see off Ajax and ease Anfield anxiety. A towering 89th-minute header got Jürgen Klopp’s side back on track after the Napoli defeat. Tottenham were left stunned as late goals from Paulinho and Arthur won the game for Sporting Lisbon. The game was goalless until the 90th minute before substitutes won it for the home side. Leroy Sané sealed Bayern Munich’s win against Barça on bad night for Lewandowski, as the Polish striker entered the Allianz Arena to a cocktail of boos and applause from the Bayern fans. Meanwhile in the Airtricity League, Derry City saw off Sligo Rovers to move within a point of leaders Shamrock Rovers. Will Patching’s first-half free-kick enough to earn the points for Ruaidhrí Higgins’s side.

Kevin McStay has been unveiled as Mayo boss feels he can make a difference after taking the only job that would bring him back. “I’m 60 now, I’d had a few goes at it. And I had no sense there was going to be a vacancy, I thought James would stay on for another year or two, he was doing really good work,” he said. “I didn’t want the job just so I could say I was the Mayo manager, I want the job because I feel I have a lot to contribute and I feel I can make a difference. We feel we will make a difference, that remains to be seen, I can’t tell the future.”

For Wexford, new manager John Hegarty is keen to push the wheel forward on the senior football team again. Hegarty has witnessed the highs and lows with the county as a player in over 100 appearances. Elsewhere, Zak Moradi has a truly unique journey from a refugee camp to moulding a new generation of Dublin hurlers. The culture shock of moving from Iraq to Leitrim was eased by developing a love of hurling.

In rugby, Denis Leamy believes more Munster players back in Ireland jerseys will be a sign of progress. The former Irish backrow has returned to work with the club he played for as their defence coach. “There’s great values in this province and we’ll go back to them. But we need to develop the skills of the modern game in terms of catch, pass, tackle technique, breakdown work. We need to be really good in those areas as well,” Leamy says. Former Connacht player Tadhg Leader came close to being a professional American Football player and now he wants to give Irish kickers a better chance. Leader kicked the game-winner on a Saturday and reality intruded on the Monday, such is the cut-throat nature of sport. He plans to help the next generation with his own training camp that aims to funnel Irish kickers with potential into the American college system.