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Malachy Clerkin: It’s Ryder Cup week and Rory McIlroy is laughing at himself

The fall-out from the weekend in Paris, anticipation of what’s to come in Rome and Mary Hannigan in Budapest, all in your Irish Times Sport this morning

It’s a huge week in golf and Philip Reid is on the ground for us in Rome at the Ryder Cup. His first dispatch of the week is his Different Strokes column, with Rory McIlroy taking aim at himself for his youthful dismissal of one of the biggest tournaments in sport. “‘Who said that?’ asked McIlroy, laughing. Before going on, “I said that in my naivety as a young swashbuckling lad. I now have been a part of the Ryder Cup a lot and what those quotes are couldn’t be further from the truth.’”

We also have a McIlroy interview looking ahead to the week, carried out by Ewan Murray. Europe’s number one traces his excellent form over the past two years directly back to the last Ryder Cup, which literally ended in tears for him. “Think of the struggles I had leading up to that and what I did afterwards. The whole run from the end of 2021, all of 2022, this year as well ... it all started from that last day at Whistling Straits.”

In rugby, even though it’s a down week at the World Cup – for Ireland at any rate – there’s still plenty to discuss and digest. Gerry Thornley’s column today assesses what the Springboks will do next and makes the very salient point that “there won’t be one Springboks coach, player or supporter who doesn’t believe they will retain their crown.”

John O’Sullivan is in Lyon this week, checking in with the All Blacks and former Ireland coach Joe Schmidt. Joe wasn’t on media duties yesterday but John did get in to watch 20 minutes of him in full flow on the training pitch. “Schmidt is animated, alive,” O’Sullivan writes. “You can see how much he’s enjoying a hands-on role, and there are little flecks of humour in some of the repartee but only in a lull, never during a drill.”


Gerry Thornley’s Paris Diary today has that morning-after feel to it, with so many Irish fans taking the opportunity to go home for a while before bigger tasks await down the road. “Like a plague of locusts the Green Army have left their mark too,” Gerry writes. “Meeting family at a restaurant near Gare du Nord on Monday night, three of us were set on having the whole sea bass. ‘I am sorry,’ the waiter said in perfect English, ‘but we have none left after all the Irish fans were here this weekend.’”

Owen Doyle’s refereeing column is required reading again today, as he takes World Rugby to task for their faceless, nameless bunker system. “Bunker decisions are perhaps the most vital calls in any match,” he writes, “but we are not told the rationale of the Foul Play Review Officers in reaching their decisions, nor do we even know who they are. There would be understandable uproar if judges in the central criminal court hid behind the veil of anonymity.”

In soccer, Mary Hannigan is in Budapest ahead of tonight’s Nations League match against Hungary. After the hoopla around the convincing win over Northern Ireland at the Aviva last Saturday, it’s back to basics in a game they should win. “Their hosts, 18 places below them in the world rankings, are coming off the back of a draw against an Albanian side in the nether regions of that list in what was the opening game of Ireland’s group last Friday,” Mary writes. “And they had to come from behind too to take a point.”

At home, it was a huge night in the League of Ireland title race. Gavin Cummiskey was in Dalymount Park for the 1-1 draw between Bohemians and Shelbourne. “The draw favours Damien Duff’s Shelbourne as St Patrick’s Athletic were beaten by a spectacular volley from Drogheda United’s Dayle Rooney across town at Richmond Park,” he writes.

On Telly: Ireland Women v Hungary, RTÉ Two, 6.30pm