Delaney supporters’ show of force; Champions Cup quarter-finals loom

Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team

Shane Lowry and Patrick Reed shake hands on the 18th green after halving their match during the second round of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas. Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Shane Lowry and Patrick Reed shake hands on the 18th green after halving their match during the second round of the World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club in Austin, Texas. Photo: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The John Delaney saga rolls on. It’s been almost a week now since the long-time FAI chief execeutive was strategically moved to a brand new position of exectutive vice-president but the fallout shows no signs of abating. Tuesday’s tennis ball protest during the game between Ireland and Georgia was followed, reportedly, by FAI board meetings which did not included Delaney and all the while we move ever closer to April 10th when the new executive vice-president will have to face an Oireachtas committee. It’s a rollercoaster ride that shows no signs of stopping and last night it took another twist as a number of officials from leagues around the country released a joint letter in support of Delaney. “It is that very parish pump political style he employs in order to maintain his popularity that is routinely seized upon by his critics,” writes Emmet Malone. Expect plenty more twists and turns in this saga which will also be analysed in depth by Emmet Malone in tomorrow’s Irish Times.

Moving on to rugby and this weekend sees Leinster take on Ulster in a Lansdowne Road Champions Cup derby while Munster travel to Edinburgh also looking for a place in the last four of Europe’s premier competition. You can read all you need to know about the Champions Cup quarter-finals here, while Matt Williams writes that the Irish teams must follow the certain golden rules of knockout rugby. “To be successful in sudden death rugby there are unwritten truths. “Lore” passed down through the generations by the wisdom born of joyous victory, and the pain of bitter defeat,” he writes. Meanwhile, Michael Cheika was in town yesterday and he looked ahead to the clash between his former club Leinster and Ulster which he says is sure to bring a special atmosphere. “Mate, it’s interesting. I’ve experienced a few derbies in the Heineken Cup and both ends of the derby sword, and the one thing I’ve noticed is that there’s a really different atmosphere around the game,” he told Gerry Thornley. This evening Connacht go into their Challenge Cup quarter-final clash with Sale as the undoubted underdogs but that is not a tag that will faze them.

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