Ireland need a Plan C; Man City keeping an eye on goal difference

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

The Ireland team huddle at Carton House. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The Ireland team huddle at Carton House. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Now we know it, Gordon D’Arcy explains, Ireland will need a Plan C to get to a World Cup semi-final. In his column this morning (Subscriber Only), the former Irish centre writes: “The seeds of Plan C need planting if Ireland are to reach a World Cup semi-final. England did Schmidt a favour by showing exactly how the Springboks will go about winning a quarter-final against them.” Yesterday evening, both Garry Ringrose and lock Devin Toner were ruled out of Ireland’s clash with Scotland this weekend. Keith Earls though has quickly recovered from his hip pointer injury and will feature as Ireland look to get their Six Nations defence back on the road.

Liverpool’s draw with West Ham on Monday lowered their lead at the top of the Premier League to three points - and a win for Manchester City over Everton tonight can see them go top on goal difference. At least until the weekend. Their manager Pep Guardiola has urged his team to score as many goals as possible in the knowledge that it could decide the title race. Last night, Carlow native Pádraig Amond scored in Newport County’s 2-0 FA Cup replay win over Middlesbrough. Another Irishman, Matt Doherty, was on the scoresheet twice as Wolves finally edged Shrewsbury Town 3-2.

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