Gordon D’Arcy on Leinster’s cyclical turnover; City cast PSG aside to reach final
The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Manchester City’s Riyad Mahrez and his teammates celebrate after beating PSG to reach the Champions League final. Photo: Martin Rickett/PA Wire
First to rugby where Gordon D’Arcy writes this morning that a period of transition awaits for Leinster after their Champions Cup semi-final defeat to La Rochelle. When reality bites, there has to be a cyclical turnover of players and D’Arcy references the end of his own career, writing that “As my career began to wind down (actually, well before then), I had to change my game. The line breaks dried up. The offloads evaporated. Either my speed vanished or the person opposite me got faster (I know which one). I had to evolve or die.” Meanwhile, Stuart Lancaster was discussing the defeat yesterday and the Leinster coach says he has faith in the province’s model despite the seemingly widening gap between the French teams in Europe and everyone else.
On to soccer and it’s 27 years since Alan McLoughlin wrote himself into Irish history with that famous goal at Windsor Park and the outpouring of tributes upon the news of his death yesterday are a mark of the esteem he is held in. Writing this morning, Keith Duggan says that the English-born player gave the country some genuine joy when it was in short supply. Moving on to last night’s action and a first ever Champions League final beckons for Manchester City. Realistically it never looked in doubt last night as a PSG side blunted by the absence of Kylian Mbappé struggled to create anything and then, as they often do, completely lost their discipline the further the game went on. City, for their part, were excellent and it was Riyad Mahrez’s double which sealed the deal in the end. Afterwards, manager Pep Guardiola hailed his players’ “incredible” achievement but was quick to say some improvements are needed for the final, picking out Oleksandr Zinchenko in particular who risked a red card late on last night. This evening Chelsea will meet Real Madrid in the other semi-final with that match locked at 1-1 from the first leg. Thomas Tuchel’s men will have work on their hands if they are to make it an all-English final against a Real Madrid side who seem to survive no matter what.