Gordon D’Arcy on what went wrong for Leinster; Donegal final postponed

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 Marcus Rashford came off the bench to get Manchester United over the line at Luton last night. Photograph: PA

Marcus Rashford came off the bench to get Manchester United over the line at Luton last night. Photograph: PA

Following Leinster's Champions Cup defeat to Saracens, the next fear is that Ireland will be exposed in the same brutal fashion at an empty Twickenham on November 21st in a rivalry that has swung their way since February 2019. But in his column this morning, Gordon D’Arcy explains; “the ‘here we are again’ perspective after Leinster’s maul and scrum were dismantled presents a seemingly insurmountable problem for Irish rugby. I don’t buy that. There are multiple reasons for the season ending so abruptly last Saturday.” France’s successful bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup, beating off competition from Ireland and South Africa, is understood to be part of the investigation by French financial police which led to the FFR president Bernard Laporte being called into their Parisian offices for questioning earlier on Tuesday. The organisers of the Pro14 will reveal the fixtures for the first 11 rounds of the 2020-21 campaign, which begins the weekend after next, this afternoon. In order to complete those fixtures, each squad will be obliged to travel separately from the general public, which will mean hiring private charters. Saracens flanker Michael Rhodes’s citing for headbutting Leinster centre Robbie Henshaw in their Champions Cup quarter-final match last Saturday has been dismissed, leaving him free to play in this weekend’s semi-final.

The Donegal SFC final between Naomh Conaill and Kilcar has been put postponed from next Sunday and will now go ahead in Ballybofey on Wednesday, October 7th. Kilcar confirmed on Monday that a member of their panel had returned a positive Covid-19 test, while the entire Donegal panel are in isolation after one of their squad also tested positive. There are eight players on the Donegal squad from the two county finalists. Tyrone midfielder Colm Cavanagh has announced his retirement from intercounty football, cutting the last link with the All-Ireland winning team of 2008. Seán Moran explains why the fallout from the Tyrone senior football final celebrations will concern the GAA: “this isn’t just a problem for Tyrone. What happened in Omagh was amplified by the social media pile-on but after an encouragingly efficient club season, the GAA has entered the period of county finals, where temperatures will run higher than in previous rounds.”

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