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Confusion continues to reign at FAI as Jonathan Hill steps down

CEO’s legacy will be one of plans with little execution; Leinster strengthen their hand; Michael Murphy looking forward to Harte v McGuinness

You know yourself, when the FAI pops up in the headlines, the news is rarely positive. And so it was again on Monday morning when word came through that Jonathan Hill had stepped down as the association’s chief executive. In his place, David Courell has been named as their fifth temporary CEO in five years, prompting some to conclude that ‘FAI’ must actually stand for ‘find an interim’. Gavin Cummiskey looks back at Hill’s three-and-a-half year reign which, for several reasons, “will not be deemed a success”. “His legacy looks to be one of big plans being talked about and promised, but never fully executed,” he writes. And, of course, we’re now approaching 150 days since the men’s team had a manager.

Leinster rugby has no such woes, Leo Cullen now in his 10th season as head coach. He might have been a touch irritated last week by a “Cork bandwagon” being firmly behind La Rochelle, but Leinster prevailed – handsomely. And Cullen’s selection for the quarter-final was, writes Gerry Thornley, “entirely vindicated”. He’ll have another reasonable option at his disposal for the second half of next season too in the shape of All Black Jordie Barrett. Owen Doyle, meanwhile, looks back at the weekend’s refereeing.

In Gaelic games, Michael Murphy was not impressed by the size of the crowds that attended the opening two weekends of the championship, but he’s expecting there to be considerably more interest in the meeting of Donegal and Derry next Saturday, “a renewal of Mickey Harte versus Jim McGuinness”.

And Malachy Clerkin has become a diehard Wicklow supporter since they opened their doors to him last week. “Access to intercounty teams is so incredibly rare these days that it’s natural for the visit to mean this little corner of the GAA press corps will retain a soft spot for the Wicklow footballers for the rest of the season.”


In horse racing, “it is,” Brian O’Connor tells us, “all of 155 years since a horse trained in this country won Scotland’s biggest race. He looks at Willie Mullins’s prospects of ending that drought in Saturday’s Scottish National.

Speaking of droughts. “Rory McIlroy’s tied-22nd place finish in Augusta was yet another week where great expectations fell flat,” writes Philip Reid. In contrast, Scottie Scheffler “has evolved from a player who didn’t know how to get over the line to one who can’t stop winning”. As David Gorman puts it in his ‘Five things we learned from the 2024 Masters’, Scheffler simply “underlined his greatness” with that second Masters triumph.

TV Watch: There are two decidedly tasty Champions League quarter-final games on tonight, Barcelona taking a 3-2 lead in to the second leg of their tie against PSG (RTÉ 2 & TNT Sports 1, 8.0), while Borussia Dortmund will hope home advantage helps them overturn Atlético Madrid’s 2-1 lead from the first leg of theirs (TNT Sports 2, 8.0).