Leinster poised for vengeange as La Rochelle showdown looms

The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game as Mary Hannigan brings you all the main sports news

Good morning,

Third time’s a charm? Leinster will certainly be hoping so. Having lost to La Rochelle in the Champions Cup semi-finals two seasons ago and in last year’s final, they now have a chance to avenge those painful defeats, as Gerry Thornley writes, after the two teams blew away their last-four opponents at the weekend. Indeed, L’Equipe likened Leinster to a “tornado”.

Toulouse indiscipline – looking at you, Rodrigue Neti – gave them little chance of weathering that storm, Leinster ruthlessly punishing them with clinical finishing, says Gerry. John O’Sullivan doffs his cap to Jamison Gibson-Park’s contribution to the victory, the scrumhalf one of four Leinster men to receive a nine of out 10 in John’s player ratings. And John doesn’t dish out nines lightly.

Nicky English, meanwhile, had a notion that the Limerick hurlers would blow everyone away this year, but after they were hit by that Clare squall on Saturday, he thinks “they may be in trouble”, their form dipping since the league final. Malachy Clerkin was at the Gaelic Grounds to witness Clare give everyone’s summer “the kiss of life”.


And Denis Walsh was up the road in Páirc Uí Chaoimh to see the Cork hurlers keep their summer alive too with “a performance that was full of guile and the required amount of grunt” against Waterford.

The Dublin footballers needed a bit of grunt themselves to get past Kildare on Sunday, Gordon Manning on hand to see them produce “a sloppy and turgid display” in what was “their biggest scare in Leinster for over a decade”.

Speaking of sloppiness: Liverpool threw away a three-goal lead against Spurs, before saving the day with an injury time winner. Ken Early had his work cut out trying to analyse “a ridiculous game in which nearly everybody made a fool of themselves”. Among them Jürgen Klopp for “gracelessly celebrating the winning goal in the face of the fourth official”, and then launching a personal attack on referee Paul Tierney. Fine and touchline ban incoming?

While Klopp ended up in pain after pulling his hamstring during his celebrations, it’s nothing to the suffering Spurs fans are enduring this weather. Denis writes about the “vacuous ... tone-deaf and patronising” gesture from the club when the 3,200 fans who travelled to Newcastle for that 6-1 hammering a week ago had the cost of their tickets refunded by the players. Pain, argues Denis, is as much part of the life of a football fan as pleasure. A heap more pain than pleasure for the Spurs faithful these days, though.

Telly watch: It’s the final day of the snooker World Championships, with Luca Brecel leading Mark Selby 9-8 – BBC2 (1.0-4.0 and 7.0-10.0) brings us the closing sessions. Katie McCabe, meanwhile, leads Arsenal in to the second leg of their Champions League semi-final against Wolfsburg (DAZN’s YouTube channel, kick-off 5.45) and this evening second plays third in the league when Derry City host Shamrock Rovers (RTÉ2, kick-off 7.15), while Leicester City meet Everton in the mother of all relegation six-pointers (Sky Sports, kick-off 8.0).