Ireland set for busy spell of Tests; remembering Pat Hickey’s fateful Rio morning

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

Fintan Nally jumps into the sea at the Forty Foot on Wednesday after it reopened to the public. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Fintan Nally jumps into the sea at the Forty Foot on Wednesday after it reopened to the public. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

If all goes to plan and the coronavirus threat continues to decrease as it is currently doing so, the Irish rugby team will be set for one seriously busy spell at the end of August and into Autumn with a rescheduled Six Nations capping a seven-Test schedule. Leinster v Munster on August 22nd will hopefully get professional rugby back underway, leading into a non-stop run of matches finishing with the Lions touring South Africa in the summer of 2021, writes Gavin Cummiskey. Speaking of Munster, they are unlikely to recruit a new number 10 after Tyler Bleyendaal called time on his career due to injury yesterday. The province boasts a roster that contains Ireland international Joey Carbery, JJ Hanrahan, Jake Flannery, Ben Healy and Jack Crowley. Also this morning, Gerry Thornley looks back on the day Irish rugby came together to give peace a chance. It came after the Canary Wharf bombing in 1996, writes Gerry Thornley, as Hugo MacNeill and Trevor Ringland decided to make a stand.

In our sporting controversies series this morning, Johnny Watterson looks back on the early morning knock on the door which brought Pat Hickey’s world crashing down. It came at the 2016 Rio Olympics and set in motion the downfall of Hickey’s career. “The disturbing question as he was hauled into the hallway after years of a harum-scarum presidency and a pox on everything he saw as being on the wrong side of his beloved International Olympic Committee (IOC) was whether anybody even cared about the raid’s dubious integrity,” he writes. Meanwhile, Ireland’s queen of motorsport racing – Rosemary Smith – looks back on her career which included many highs, including becoming the oldest person ever to drive a Formula One car three years ago. Also in our women in sport pages, Rhasidat Adeleke tells Ian O’Riordan about a big year which has fallen away piece by piece after the Leaving Cert was cancelled and the World Under-20 Athletics Championships in Kenya went the same way.

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