Subscriber OnlySports Briefing

Ireland U-20s hoping to briefly park the devastation of recent days

Mayo are at a crossroads having collapsed like a bad soufflé, Novak Djokovic isn’t feeling the love in SW19

The tragic deaths of St Michael’s College duo Andrew O’Donnell and Max Wall while on holiday in Greece and the paragliding incident that took the life of former Scotland international scrumhalf and Munster elite player development officer Greig Oliver, father of Ireland Under-20 scrumhalf Jack, have made it a devastatingly grim couple of days for Richie Murphy’s squad at the World Under-20 Championship in Cape Town.

Today the Irish Under-20s take on Fiji in their final pool match (12.30, Irish time, live on Virgin Media). They were asked whether they wanted to play the game and indicated yes having consulted with their team-mate Jack, who may take his place on the bench. The team will wear black armbands and there will be a minute’s silence for Greig Oliver before all the tournament games in South Africa today.

It will be a hugely emotional occasion as Ireland try and earn the victory that will see the Grand Slam champions qualify for the Cup semi-finals.

Gavin Cummiskey writes that Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw has denied fresh allegations that she was “physically aggressive” to Houston Dash players in 2018. “Four former Dash players and three staff have spoken anonymously to The Athletic about the 60-year-old’s one season as head coach in America’s professional soccer league.


“Last December, Pauw was banned from coaching in the NWSL, following a report detailing systematic abuse in US soccer. She denies all charges, even working with Iowa-based discrimination lawyer Tom Newkirk to negotiate a settlement with the NWSL so Pauw can avoid having to acknowledge misconduct or commit to corrective measures. This process is ongoing.”

In his column Jim McGuinness believes that Mayo are at a crossroads, one where their conquerors on Sunday, Dublin stood 10 years ago. He explained: “You have to take a step back a little to understand this. Dublin in 2013 were what Mayo are trying to be now, a swashbuckling team that loved to kick the ball and were absolutely man-to-man at the back.

“But what happened in the 2014 semi-final made Dublin rethink. In Donegal, we knew from what Dublin were saying back then that they were absolutely wedded to that style of play, it was their identity, and it was how they believed in playing.

“And I believe Mayo are now in that same boat. The difference is Dublin adapted, in 2015 they went with a sweeper, and they won the next six All-Irelands.”

Malachy Clerkin employed a culinary metaphor to explain “that a season that looked to hold real promise ultimately collapsed like a bad soufflé,” as he too reflected on Mayo’s demise at Croke Park.

Novak Djokovic hasn’t lost at Wimbledon since July 12th, 2017, or 2,182 days a record he kept intact with a victory over Argentinian qualifier Pedro Cachin as he chases a fifth successive tournament win at the famous SW19 postcode. He may not be the most popular but there is no doubting his record or that he is a phenomenal tennis player.

Johnny Watterson wrote: “Djokovic may not ever win the most delightful personality award – although he does try hard – but his record at the All-England Club is becoming untouchable. If he wins all seven matches and the title to match Roger Federer’s eight, he will also become the oldest player to win the men’s singles in the Open Era.”

Republic of Ireland international defender Nathan Collins looks like swapping Wolves for Brentford ahead of the new season in the English Premiership.

Mary Hannigan is away


RUGBY: Ireland U-20 take on Fiji in their final pool match. Virgin Media will broadcast the game live (12.30, Irish time).

CRICKET: BT Sport 2 (9.45pm) will show the first Women’s T20 match between the West Indies and Ireland.

Reader Survey

Finally, we always appreciate feedback from our readers and you can help us provide the best newsletter service possible by filling out this quick survey.

Please rest assured that your responses will be held in strict confidence and will not be shared with anyone outside of The Irish Times Group. Thank you.