Dundalk not feeling the pressure; Tyrone cannot think about holding back
Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
The Dundalk team during a training session at the Dalga Arena in Baku. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Dundalk have a place in the Champions League third qualifying round in their sights ahead of their second leg against Qarabag in Azerbaijan tonight. Gurban Gurbanov’s side are the hot favourites to advance having reached the group stages of the Europa League in four of the last five seasons and the Champions League group stages in the other in 2017/18. The tie is evenly poised after last week’s 1-1 draw in the first leg at Oriel Park and Vinny Perth, the Dundalk manager, believes all the pressure is on the hosts. Last night Celtic completed their Tallinn job by easing past Nomme Kalju to move a step closer to the group stages of the competition.
John Sugrue is the latest intercounty football manager to have stepped down, as he departs Laois after just two seasons in charge. The ninth managerial departure of the summer so far, he had some notable progress during those two seasons but decided against seeking another term. Seán Moran is writing about taking the pressure off referees and focusing on hurling: “The more the assistance, the better, as epic days like these deserve to be celebrations of the game rather than obsessive routines of finding fault with officials.” In his column this morning (Subscriber Only), Darragh Ó Sé explains that holding back against Dublin is a luxury Tyrone cannot afford this weekend: “All that stuff would be fine and you’d nearly see the sense in it if you were talking about a game between equals. If it was a pair of teams that regularly beat each other or there was only a kick of a ball between them, then you’d be right to keep a bit up your sleeve for later on down the line.”