Bluffer’s Guide to the weekend’s best sporting action

All the action from desert swings in Dubai to Ireland looking for redemption in Perth

Ireland’s  Paul Dunne tees off on the second hole during the first round of the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates  in Dubai. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Ireland’s Paul Dunne tees off on the second hole during the first round of the DP World Tour Championship at Jumeirah Golf Estates in Dubai. Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

 

FRIDAY

DP World Tour Championship, Earth course, Dubai (8am-1pm, Sky Sports Golf)

Fleetwood would, would Fleetwood?

I see what you’re doing here, that was the old catch-line for a television ad for Fleetwood Paints Ireland. Whatever you do, don’t Google it. But I presume this is an opaque reference to England’s Tommy Fleetwood who leads the Race to Dubai in this the last counting event.

Can anyone deprive him of the title?

Yes, Justin Rose, who won back-to-back starts recently (WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines tournaments) but didn’t play last week and this year’s US Masters champions Sergio Garcia. It’s a four round shootout and Rose (-6) has made the best start but he trailed Fleetwood by over €250,000 going into this final tournament.

What about the Irish?

Greystones’ Paul Dunne opened with a five-under 67 and is in a share of third place while Shane Lowry’s 69 leaves him in a tie for 16th place; aside from the filthy lucre both will be hoping that they can make the World’s Top 50 by year end and gain an invitation to the 2018 US Masters. Dunne is 77th, Lowry 85th. There are 50 ranking points available to the winner of this event.

Grand Slam of Darts, Wolverhampton Civic Hall (7-10pm, Sky Sports Action)

I thought we covered this ground last week?

We did but the tournament has reached the quarter-final stage and the BDO world champion Glen Durrant is the last man standing from his organisation among the PDC heavyweights. ‘Duzza’ beat ‘Chizzy,’ Dave Chisnall, to reach this stage.

So who’s going to win?

‘Mighty’ Michael van Gerwen or ‘The Flying Scotsman’ Gary Anderson are both in form but there’s plenty of heavy hitters still left including Phil Taylor, Raymond van Barneveld and Daryl ‘Super Chin’ Gurney from Northern Ireland.

Roger Federer is in action at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images
Roger Federer is in action at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena in London. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

ATP World Tour Finals, London (Sky Sports Arena 12-4pm and 5.45-10pm, BBC 2, 2-4.45pm)

The ATP must be offering up a few prayers that Roger Federer makes Sunday’s final?

Absolutely, especially after Rafael Nadal withdrew last Monday through injury.

So who else is involved?

Put it this way unless you’re a tennis fan, I’ll leave it at 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic.

So he might make the final?

No, he’s already lost too many matches in the group phase. Federer, chasing his eighth title of the season, that includes the Grand Slams of the Australian Open and Wimbledon, is guaranteed a place in one of Saturday’s semi-finals but for the sake of the tournament, everyone will hope he’s playing tennis on Sunday.

SATURDAY

Rugby League World Cup quarter-finals, Australian and New Zealand venues (from 3.30am, eir Sport 2)

One for the insomniacs but is there any Irish involvement?

No, despite winning two matches against Italy and Wales and losing to Papua New Guinea, an Ireland team who acquitted themselves so well headed for home; it’s particularly galling considering that Samoa won none and drew one of their pool matches and made it through to the knockout stakes.

Any surprises?

The Cedars are still there.

Who?

Lebanon, that’s their nickname, the Cedars and they take on Tonga in a quarter-final. Australia will win the whole thing before you ask.

Ireland’s International Rules squad walk to training at Langley Park in Perth. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Ireland’s International Rules squad walk to training at Langley Park in Perth. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

International Rules second Test, Australia v Ireland, Perth (RTÉ2, 8.30am)

So what’s the story here?

Australia bring a 10-point lead into the second Test.

It’s over then?

If Ireland play like they did last week, that’s a yes. The Australians were very comfortable with the round ball and scored two goals (worth six points apiece) to Ireland’s one. They pulled away in the third quarter to a lead of 15 points but Ireland managed to shave that slightly in the last 15-minutes.

Are there any silver linings for Ireland?

They missed a shed-load of chances, so if they can be more accurate then they have a chance, but for now and one suspects at the conclusion of the second Test it’ll be ‘Aussie Rules.’

Soccer, Arsenal v Spurs, Emirates stadium (Sky Sports Main Event, 11.30am)

So what goes on in the North London derby these days?

Draws are what goes on. The last three leagues matches between the teams at Arsenal’s place have ended in 1-1 draws. So get your money out and place a bet.

Ireland are in action against Fiji at the Aviva stadium on Saturday at 5.30pm. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Ireland are in action against Fiji at the Aviva stadium on Saturday at 5.30pm. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Rugby, Ireland v Fiji, Aviva stadium (RTE 2, 4.30 and Sky Sports Action, 5pm)

What country did Ireland play in the last ever international at the old Lansdowne Road?

Well for a start it wasn’t one but an amalgam of Tonga, Samoa and Fiji under the umbrella of a Pacific Islands team. It took place in November, 2006.

Any links with today’s game?

Well yes. Ireland captain Rory Best played in that match 11 years ago and Ireland’s forwards’ coach Simon Easterby scored two tries.

SUNDAY

English Championship soccer, Leeds Utd v Middlesbrough, Elland Road (Sky Sports Main Event, 1pm)

Why are they showing this match on the Main Event channel?

Nostalgia, it’s for people of a certain vintage, who remember when . . .

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