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James McClean doesn’t hold back on the FAI’s manager hunt

Never a dull moment in the Munster hurling championship; Lee Chin speaks about last year’s racist abuse

When he popped over to Dublin on Wednesday, James McClean took the opportunity to pay tribute to the FAI for how they are conducting their search for a manager for the men’s international team. Kidding. You know James McClean. “I think it’s an absolute shambles,” Gavin Cummiskey heard him vent. “They are trying to give it to every Tom, Dick and Harry and nobody seems to want it. It’s leaving them with egg on their faces. It’s embarrassing.” There was also a dig or two for his old boss Stephen Kenny, and a hint that he might come out of international retirement if called upon by the new gaffer. There really is never a dull moment with James McClean.

And Ciarán Murphy is confident there won’t be too many dull moments either in this year’s Munster hurling championship, which starts at the weekend. Waterford get their campaign under way against Cork at Walsh Park on Sunday, Gordon Manning hearing from Davy Fitzgerald ahead of that game. Gordon also talked to Wexford’s Lee Chin who spoke for the first time about last April’s incident when he was subjected to racist abuse by a spectator at a challenge game in Carrick-on-Suir.

In rugby, while they have URC business to attend to first, Leinster would be forgiven for having half an eye on that Croke Park date with Northampton in the Champions Cup. Jamison Gibson-Park is highly excited about stepping foot on that turf, as he told Johnny Watterson. Leinster are a bit excited too about the appointment of Tyler Bleyendaal as their new attack coach, the New Zealander due to arrive in the summer. Johnny spoke to his former Munster team-mate John Ryan who has a notion he’ll do rather well.

How well will Ireland do at this summer’s Olympic Games? They’ll win a record seven medals - two gold, three silver, and two bronze. How do we know this? Because, Ian O’Riordan tells us, that’s the forecast of the reliable enough Gracenote Virtual Medal Table.


How well will Willie Mullins do in Saturday’s Scottish Grand National? With “half a dozen hopefuls” in the field, Brian O’Connor reckons he’s in with a shout, and should one of his horses prevail, it will become the first trained in Ireland to win Scotland’s biggest race in 155 years.

Meanwhile, in his America at Large column, Dave Hannigan brings us the story of …. actually, it’s hard to know where to start. The gist is that 50 years ago, New York Yankees pitchers Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich swapped wives, kids and pets. You know, like you do.

TV Watch: Leona Maguire and Stephanie Meadow are in the field for the Chevron Championship, the first major of the women’s season (Sky Sports Mix, 3pm-7pm, 11pm-1am), while Masters winner Scottie Scheffler is back in action at the RBC Heritage (Sky Sports Golf, 12.15pm-11pm). There are a bunch of Europa League and Conference League quarter-finals on tonight, Liverpool needing an Istanbul-esque recovery away to Atalanta after losing the first leg 3-0 at Anfield (TNT Sports 1 and Virgin Media Two, 8pm). Among your other choices: Lille (1) v Aston Villa (2) (TNT Sports 3 and Virgin Media Two, 5.45), Roma (1) v AC Milan (0) (TNT Sports 4, 8.0) and West Ham (0) v Bayer 04 Leverkusen (2) (TNT Sports 2 & Virgin Media More, 8.0).