Gerry Thornley on Ireland’s 2009 Grand Slam; Man City thrash Liverpool

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

Manchester City beat Liverpool 4-0 at the Etihad on Thursday night. Photograph: Dave Thompson/Getty

Manchester City beat Liverpool 4-0 at the Etihad on Thursday night. Photograph: Dave Thompson/Getty

It’s Friday morning and in the latest edition of our Best of Times series Gerry Thornley has looked back to Ireland’s famous Grand Slam victory in 2009, when a 17-15 win over Wales at the Millennium Stadium saw a 61-year drought come to an end. The 2009 Six Nations proved the defining moment for Ireland’s Golden Generation, as well as providing the catalyst for the success Irish rugby has since seen at international and provincial level. He writes: “Across the water especially, and to a lesser extent both at home and further afield, you always felt that Irish rugby was still sneered at a little. But not after that, and thereafter all changed.” Meanwhile in the latest entry into his lockdown diary, Andrew Porter has written about “contactless contact sessions,” as Leinster feel their way back into training at UCD. “To be honest, training in lockdown seemed tougher, perhaps because you were doing it in on your own and it involved plenty of running and weights,” he writes. “At least now we have a ball, as well as teammates, to distract us from the fitness demands.”

Meanwhile dethroned champions Manchester City thrashed Liverpool 4-0 at the Etihad last night. Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring before Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden and an Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain own goal steered Pep Guardiola’s side to a comfortable victory. Earlier Sheffield United got their bid for a European place back on track with a 3-1 win over a beleaguered Tottenham Hotspur at Bramall Lane. Victory moved the Blades back up to seventh with Jose Mourinho’s side still languishing in ninth.

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