Chelsea thrash Arsenal in farcical Baku final, Martin Reilly conducting Cavan
Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Maurizio Sarri celebrates with the trophy after Chelsea’s Europa League final win over Arsenal. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA
A difficult season for Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri ended with silverware last night, as the Blues beat Arsenal 4-1 in Baku to lift the Europa League. The farcical choice of venue gave the final the feel of a pre season friendly, with only a small number of supporters from each side making the 5,000 mile round trip to Azerbaijan. After a cagey opening half Chelsea took the lead on 49 minutes through Olivier Giroud, before goals from Pedro and Eden Hazard effectively sealed things just past the hour mark. Arsenal threatened a famous comeback after Alex Iwobi’s stunner in the 69th minute but Hazard’s second shortly after - in what is likely to be his last appearance for the club - ensured Chelsea would enjoy the long journey home a lot more than their London rivals.
In this morning’s GAA Statistics column Eamon Donoghue has looked at the huge impact Martin Reilly has had for Cavan so far this summer, with the Breffni county one win away from a first Ulster SFC final since 2001. And he suggests Reilly has been key in transforming Cavan’s style of play from something stodgy and limited into something more creative. He writes: “As well as being one of the best kickpassers in the Ulster championship, the former soccer pro also has jinking feet that allow him to skip through the lines and make impacts both in transition and when given the time to get his head up. Against Monaghan he took his man on nine times.”