Farrell to name strong team for Scotland; delving into Mayo’s high press
The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Neymar scores Paris Saint-Germain’s third goal during the Champions League win over Manchester United. PhotoL: Peter Powell/EPA
Andy Farrell will name his Ireland team at around midday today for their final run-out of 2020 against Scotland on Saturday. After an Autumn Nations Cup which has provided Ireland with more questions than answers, the head coach is expected to name his strongest outfit, writes Gerry Thornley. Saturday’s match will close out what has been a difficult year for Irish rugby both on and off the pitch but a win would at least put some sort of gloss on it. Yesterday Cian Healy said that he believes some patience is needed and that player-empowered culture will deliver. One talking point from this Autumn tournament has been the amount of time taken out of the game with scrums – Ireland’s win over Georgia on Saturday a particularly standout example. In his rugby stats column this morning John O’Sullivan has a closer look and says that all scrum and no play is making rugby an unbalanced game. For all you need to know ahead of Saturday’s match against Scotland you can read Patrick Madden’s guide.
On to soccer and Manchester United have work to do if they are to progress to the last-16 after a 3-1 loss to Paris Saint-Germain at Old Trafford last night. The result means United need a point from their last game against RB Leipzig to go through after what was an entertaining encounter on Wednesday night. Afterwards, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said he did consider taking Fred off before the midfielder was shown a red card in the second half after seemingly getting away very lightly for what appeared to be a headbutt before half-time. Elsewhere, Chelsea cruised past Sevilla thanks to a four-goal haul from Olivier Giroud which moves them up to first place in that group. On Tuesday Caoimhin Kelleher made his European debut for Liverpool and this morning Denis Hurley writes about a chance encounter which took the then teenager from Ringmahon Rangers to the Liverpool Academy. Kelleher was 15 when he made the move across but that well-trodden path for promising Irish teenager has been cast into some doubt by a lack of clarity on whether English clubs will still be able to sign Irish players under the age of 18 after Brexit, writes Emmet Malone.