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Jenkins having the desired impact at Leinster; Cork GAA happy with new split season

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

It may be unfair and overly simplistic to say that new secondrow Jason Jenkins will alone provide the solution to unlock a passage to European glory but there’s little doubt that he provides Leinster with a physical powerful presence that has been lacking in recent seasons. His impact to the side since joining from Munster - penny for your thoughts, Munster fans? - is there for all to see, including Leinster forwards coach Robin McBryde. “[It’s] a big ask to come and learn a different way of doing things, but he has taken it in his stride, and I expect him to grow even further.” Elsewhere, it is hard to look at the likes of Robert Baloucoune playing against the Griquas B side with Emerging Ireland and not say that playing in last Friday’s interpro vs Leinster would have been better for him - better for Ulster too given his finishing prowess and how they were found lacking in that area. Gerry Thornley this morning argues that, as a whole, this tour to South Africa, despite its merits, has devalued the URC. In terms of the fallout from Ulster’s defeat to Leinster, the northern province faces a nervous wait for news on Jacob Stockdale after the wing went for a scan on an ankle injury. It is not the same ankle that kept him out for much of last season.

In golf, both Rory McIlroy and Shane Lowry are to take two weeks off following their efforts at the Alfred Dunhill Links. Séamus Power is the sole Irish representative on the PGA Tour this week in the Shriners Children’s Open at TPC Summerlin in Las Vegas. Jonathan Caldwell, Cormac Sharvin, Niall Kearney, Paul Dunne and Gavin Moynihan are in action in the Spanish Open on the DP World Tour, and all of them need ranking points in a bid to preserve their tour cards. Next week at The Belfry, Ireland are one of a number of countries sending a team to compete at the Sport Parkinson’s Four Nations tournament. Philip Reid has more on the group heading over to represent Ireland here.

Last night saw one of the games of the season in the League of Ireland. Eight goals, three disallowed, three penalties and three red cards; not the worst Monday night’s entertainment as St Patrick’s Athletic overturned a two-goal deficit to rescue a point against Shelbourne at Tolka Park. In the Premier League, James Maddison was in irresistible form as Leicester secured a first win of the campaign that lifted them off the foot of the table. In Ireland news, Vera Pauw has been hit with more injury woe after Jess Ziu was ruled out of the upcoming World Cup play-off. Shelbourne defender Keeva Keenan replaces her in the squad but doubts have also been raised about the availability of Amber Barrett, Niamh Farrelly and Megan Campbell.

The split-season in GAA has garnered many detractors, but down in Cork, it has led to increased attendances at club matches, and that is no bad thing according to county chair Marc Sheehan: “We’ve got through a massive amount of games, had great weather and increased attendances. There’s huge interest in the pairing of Blackrock and St Finbarr’s in the hurling final. Club players that I’m interacting with are happy they’re getting a defined season.”