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Mary Hannigan: PGA-LIV merger comes ‘like a lightning bolt out of the blue’

Darragh Ó Sé fancies Dublin for the championship; Ireland’s Leon Dwyer hopeful of making Olympics mark

Good morning,

Tuesday’s announcement that the PGA Tour and DP World Tour have agreed to merge with Saudi Arabian-backed LIV Golf was, writes Philip Reid, “like a lightning bolt out of the blue,” the news leaving Amnesty International appalled and Donald Trump chuffed. “A big, beautiful and glamorous deal!”

So, after all the acrimony that followed the split in the game, the various parties have come together, “all supping from the same source of filthy lucre and all hard feelings and wild words forgiven and forgotten,” writes Philip.

The deal, Padraig Harrington conceded, is proof that “sports washing works”, but, he said, “my own country thought it was acceptable to lock up unmarried mothers as late as 1996″ – so he’s hoping it will be a force for change in Saudi Arabia.


Thus far, the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund has shown no interest in the GAA, but give it time. For now, Darragh Ó Sé is focusing on the football championship where he’s sticking with his prediction that Dublin will win out, despite all the doubts about their form. “Like the heavyweight boxer coming back for one last title, if they can rustle up some semblance of that old form, they’ll be hard to beat.”

Seán Moran reflects on the competitiveness of the round robin fixtures so far, while in hurling, Gordon Manning hears from Limerick manager John Kiely ahead of Sunday’s Munster final against Clare. “If Clare intend to be the noisy neighbour muscling in on the lawn next door,” writes Gordon, “then Limerick are determined to shove them straight back out the gate”.

Gavin Cummiskey, meanwhile, brings us news of the FAI’s efforts to persuade the Government to invest some of their corporate tax windfall in Irish soccer, chiefly to modernise League of Ireland grounds and academy centres and to boost the game’s grassroots.

And Johnny Watterson introduces us to a language with which most of us are not familiar – eg “throwdown, top rock, freeze” – while talking to Navan’s B Boy Aleon (aka Leon Dwyer). He’s hoping – B Boy Aleon, not Johnny – to become the first Irish breaker to qualify for the Olympic Games, the sport having been added to the 2024 programme of events after the International Olympic Committee decided to take “a demographic moonwalk towards a younger audience”.

Telly watch: We have four more French Open quarter-finals to enjoy today, including the meeting of defending champion Iga Swiatek and Cori Gauff in the women’s singles, and the clash of the fourth and sixth seeds, Casper Ruud and Holger Rune, in the men’s (Eurosport, 9.30am-10.50pm). And in Prague this evening, West Ham will attempt to win their first major trophy in 43 years when they take on Fiorentina in the Europa Conference League final (Virgin Media Two and BT Sport 1, kick-off 8.0).