Ireland set for crunch Denmark visit, Connacht defy odds against Montpellier

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

Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford were both on target for England against Kosovo. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty

Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford were both on target for England against Kosovo. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty

The Republic of Ireland take on Denmark at the Aviva Stadium tonight, knowing a win will secure them a place at next summer’s European Championships (kick-off 7.45pm). Mick McCarthy’s side are currently third in qualifying Group D on 12 points, and can move level with the Danes by beating them in Dublin. If the two sides are level, Ireland would book their place at Euro 2020 by virtue of a superior head-to-head record, following June’s 1-1 draw in Copenhagen. Ireland and Denmark are familiar foes, having met five times since 2017 - with four draws, and one Danish win. But McCarthy is confident his side can level that record up this evening, he said: “We’ll just have to continue doing what we’re doing and see if we can score more goals than we have. But one will do if we don’t let one in.” You will be able to follow all of the action from the Aviva Stadium this evening via the Irish Times liveblog, which will be running from around 7pm.

Elsewhere Connacht made it a clean sweep for the provinces in Europe yesterday, as they delivered a mighty performance to beat the Top 14’s Montpellier 23-20 in Galway. The province’s injury crisis deepened ahead of the match, with Andy Friend having to make three changes in the hour before kick-off, with secondrow Cillian Gallagher forced off after just 10 minutes. However, Andy Friend’s side went on to defy injuries and the odds, with tries from Paul Boyle, Tom McCartney and Caolin Blade seeing them past their lofty opposition. Keith Duggan was at The Sportsground. Connacht’s win made it four from four for the provinces on the opening weekend of the Champions Cup, with Ulster seeing off Bath at The Rec on Saturday before Leinster beat Benetton at The RDS and Munster secured a bonus-point victory over the Ospreys in Swansea. There were certainly no signs of a post Rugby World Cup hangover, writes Malachy Clerkin in this morning’s Tipping Point column.

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