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Sporting heartache hits hard from missing out on selection to painful defeats

Andy Farrell names 25 for South Africa; Tough Sevens calls; What went wrong for Irish sides in semi-finals; Dublin weak spots; Euro zingers

Jamison Gibson-Park will miss Ireland's tour to South Africa. Photograph: Deon van der Merwe/Inpho/Steve Haag Sports

It’s been a busy week for rugby on the squad-selecting front, first James Topping and Allan Temple-Jones announcing their men’s and women’s Sevens selections for the Olympic Games, and yesterday Andy Farrell’s 35-strong squad for next month’s Test matches against South Africa was unveiled. Selection is, writes Johnny Watterson, “a brutal process”, not least for the players who lost their Sevens places to Hugo Keenan and Andrew Smith, both of whom returned to the set-up last month after attending to their 15s business. Farrell will, then, be without Keenan in South Africa, and he’ll have to make do without Jamison Gibson-Park too, a hamstring injury ruling him out of the trip.

That injury was sustained in the URC semi-final defeat by the Bulls, Gordon D’Arcy analysing what went wrong for Leinster in that game and for Munster in their loss to Glasgow Warriors. “A killer feeling in the wake of a defeat is knowing that you contributed to your downfall, and that’s what Munster and Leinster players must deal with now.”

Over at Euro 2024, Ken Early and Gavin Cummiskey witnessed two zingers of games on Tuesday, Ken in Dortmund to see Turkey and Georgia respond “to an extraordinary atmosphere by producing an extraordinary match”, while Gavin savoured “a raucous night in Leipzig” where Portugal left Czech hearts in smithereens with an injury-time winner.

Back home, Darragh Ó Sé reflects on Dublin leaving Mayo a bit heartbroken themselves with an injury-time equalising point last Sunday, but he believes that Mayo “gave lots of counties a bit of belief”, Dublin showing “that they are a little bit more vulnerable than people thought”.


Aidan O’Shea made his 90th senior championship appearance for Mayo in that game, the most ever by any outfield player, Gordon Manning taking a detailed look at the 33-year-old’s “superb performance” in the draw.

Seán Moran, meanwhile, writes about the dilemmas that face the GAA when it comes to television coverage of their games, not least when they’re up against a major soccer tournament, as they are now.

In horse racing, Brian O’Connor reports on Willie Mullins’s Belloccio saving Irish blushes on day one of Royal Ascot, and he looks ahead to Auguste Rodin’s hopes in today’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes. The last time the horse pitched up at Ascot “he finished such a distant last it wasn’t binoculars that were needed to spot him so much as radar”. Which Auguste Rodin will turn up today?

TV Watch: Scotland are back in action at Euro 2024 this evening, and if they don’t take something from their meeting with Switzerland (RTÉ 2 and BBC 1, 8.0) they’ll be sent homeward tae think again (after their final group game). Earlier, Croatia play Albania (RTÉ 2 and UTV, 2.0) and hosts Germany take on Hungary (RTÉ 2 and BBC 1, 5.0).

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