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Morning Sport Brief: Andy Farrell to return Ireland to full strength

Ciarán Frawley set to be the only change to the first choice XV; Jarlath Burns’ in-tray ahead of taking over as president of the GAA

With the exception of the injured Hugo Keenan, who is likely to be replaced by Ciarán Frawley, Andy Farrell looks set to revert to the team that beat France in Marseille three weeks ago for this Saturday’s visit of Wales to Dublin. That, writes Gerry Thornley, is an indication of the level of respect Farrell holds for Warren Gatland’s remodelled Welsh side. There’s talk, too, of Farrell opting for a 6-2 split on the bench again, Conor Murray most probably holding off the challenge of Craig Casey for the role of Jamison Gibson-Park’s understudy, Johnny Watterson talking to the Munster scrumhalf ahead of the game. The Under-20s take on Wales on Friday evening, coach Richie Murphy’s focus fixed firmly on the pursuit of a third successive Grand Slam. Only at the end of the campaign will his thoughts turn to Ulster where he has been named interim head coach following the departure of Dan McFarland.

In Gaelic games, Gordon Manning looks at the key challenges that Jarlath Burns will face when he becomes the 41st president of the GAA on Saturday afternoon, while Ciarán Murphy would very much like him to add the opening up of GAA facilities to everyone to his to-do list.

It looks there’ll be no need to open Croke Park up to boxing this year, Chantelle Cameron confirming on Wednesday that her third fight against Katie Taylor will take place at Dublin’s 3Arena in May, and not in GAA HQ as Taylor had hoped. Ian O’Riordan, meanwhile, talks to Dan Martin who retired from competitive cycling in 2021, but still spends a good chunk of time out and about on his bike. He talks about the dangers faced by cyclists on the road.

And Dave Hannigan writes about the efforts being made by some Penn State alumni to have the college’s stadium named after Joe Paterno despite him being removed as football coach in 2011 following a child sex abuse scandal involving a member of his staff. Victims of Jerry Sandusky alleged that Paterno knew about his offences as far back as 1976 and did nothing. The determination of these people, “evincing loyalty more usual in a religious cult, to wilfully ignore wrongdoing on the part of legendary coaches remains shocking.”


TV Watch: Ireland’s men are in hockey action against Australia today in the FIH Pro League in India (TNT Sports 1, noon), while Premier Sports 1 has coverage of rugby’s Leinster Schools Senior Cup quarter-final between Cistercian College, Roscrea and Blackrock College (3.0). Later, there’s a heap of Europa League and Europa Conference League games to choose from, among them the meeting of Roma and Feyenoord (Virgin Media Two and TNT Sports 1, 8.0).

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