Subscriber OnlySports Briefing

To shootout or not shootout, that is the question

Michael Murphy on the art of the penalty; Gordon Manning wants to go for gold; while the form of Toulouse is ominous says Gerry Thornley

Are penalty shoot-outs “a pure lottery”, as Kieran McGeeney once described them? That’s a feeling that might have been reinforced for the Armagh manager after he saw his charges lose to Donegal in the shootout that decided Sunday’s Ulster final. For Michael Murphy, though, there’s more to them than luck. “You can practice and make yourself a reliable penalty taker. Unlike soccer, goalkeepers rarely save well-taken shots,” he writes, dismissing the notion that “there’s nothing you can do” to increase your chances of prevailing. But Gordon Manning isn’t convinced they’re the best way to settle a Gaelic football game, even if they do provide an “instant hit of sporting excitement”. He has a look at the alternatives to penalties, among them “next score wins”. “Can you imagine the tension and drama in a golden score period,” he asks. Would our hearts cope? Possibly not.

There was no such drama at the end of Sunday’s Leinster final. While Louth gave them a run for their money, Dublin finished up winning their 14th consecutive title, Gordon hearing from Paul Mannion about that achievement – and, in light of a paltry enough crowd turning up at Croke Park for the game, his wish for more of Dublin’s games to be played at Parnell Park.

In rugby, Gerry Thornley has troubling news for the Leinster faithful ahead of the Champions Cup final – Toulouse are in ominous form. Even having rested a number of their players, including Antoine Dupont and Romain Ntamack, they beat Stade Français 49-18 on Sunday to move top of their table. Owen Doyle, meanwhile, takes a look at World Rugby’s tweaking of the game’s laws, his chief concern that the action taken to punish dangerous play is nowhere near “as robust as it should be”.

In soccer, Gavin Cummiskey talks to Bohemians’ chief operating officer Daniel Lambert about Wednesday’s friendly against Palestine’s national women’s team at Dalymount Park, the game “a show of solidarity in the face of an increasingly hopeless situation in Gaza”.


Ian O’Riordan catches up with Rhasidat Adeleke – and that’s no mean feat – has just graduated with a degree in Corporate Communications at the University of Texas. She’ll be back on the track in Saturday’s Los Angeles Grand Prix meeting where she’ll aim to maintain her sparkling form.

Rory McIlroy’s form is of the sparkling kind too. His “mojo is well and truly back, that swagger, that aura,” writes Philip Reid, McIlroy heading in to this week’s US PGA Championship with successive victories at the Zurich Classic and Wells Fargo under his belt.

City Of Troy might have mislaid his mojo at Newmarket earlier this month, but Brian O’Connor hears Aidan O’Brien insist that the colt could still be the most talented Derby contender he has ever sent to Epsom. Even “above the likes of Galileo, High Chaparral and last year’s winner Auguste Rodin”. That’s some salute.

TV Watch: Ireland host Pakistan again in the decider of their T20 series in Dublin today (TNT Sports 1 from 2.45). And Arsenal fans will have a rare experience this evening – they’ll be cheering on Spurs when they take on Manchester City in the Premier League (Sky Sports, 8.0).