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Mary Hannigan: Irish cricket has grown beyond losing its best players to England

Devin Toner trusts Andy Farrell’s decision-making; and overly-cautious Gaelic football underlines a need for urgent reform

Having represented both Ireland and England during the course of his lengthy career, Eoin Morgan is well qualified to be in the Sky Sports commentary box at Lord’s today for just the second ever test meeting between the nations.

Nathan Johns talks to the Rush native who captained England to 50-over World Cup success in 2019, his switch of allegiance prompted by the absence of a pathway for him to reach the top of the game while playing for Ireland. But, writes Nathan, “Irish cricket – for all its ongoing problems – has grown beyond losing its best players to England”.

Johnny Watterson, meanwhile, hears from Devin Toner who, having been left out of Joe Schmidt’s 2019 World Cup squad, can relate to the disappointment of the players who didn’t make it in to Andy Farrell’s selection on Wednesday. But, he says, Farrell has “delivered the goods over the last year or two so everyone will trust in him and the squad he picks”.

In Gaelic games, Ciarán Murphy has had his fill of watching excessively cautious football, citing the example of Roscommon holding on to the ball for over six minutes in their own defensive third against Dublin last weekend. “It might be time for the big idea,” he writes, among his suggestions a shot clock or a restriction on how many players you can have inside your own half.


Louth won’t have to deal with any such innovations on Sunday, but if Mayo find their form when the teams meet in Castlebar, they could end up with 15 players in their own half. Former Louth player and manager Peter Fitzpatrick is, though, excited about the progress of this team, telling Ian O’Riordan that while “no one is giving us a chance ... we’re going there with our own expectations”.

Leona Maguire has great expectations too for the remainder of the LGPA season, having notched up three top-10s so far, her latest challenge this week’s Americas Open in New Jersey. But, she tells Philip Reid, she has one eye on the upcoming majors, seeking advice from Graeme McDowell ahead of next month’s US Open which will be played at Pebble Beach – where, of course, he won his own major back in 2010.

Mercifully, neither Maguire nor McDowell were among the sports stars who endorsed FTX, the controversial crypto outfit that went bust last November. Dave Hannigan tells us about the class action being taken against the celebrities who promoted the company, among them Shaquille O’Neal, Steph Curry, Tom Brady and Naomi Osaka. What were the total losses of Americans who invested in FTX? $11 billion. Gulp.

Telly watch: The last time Ireland played a test match, back in 2019, they bowled England out for 85 before lunch on the first day. A repeat of that performance would do nicely when they take on the same opposition at Lord’s today (Sky Sports Cricket, 10.0-6.45). And later in the day, Sky Sports Golf has live coverage of The Memorial Tournament (5.0-11.0) where Rory McIlroy, Shane Lowry and Séamus Power will be in action.