Ireland to take on Fiji in one-off tournament; Galway races kicks off in ghostly silence
The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
It’s understood that Ireland’s matches against Wales and Fiji in November will be held in the Aviva Stadium either side of a trek to Twickenham to face England. File photograph: Inpho
Ireland have been drawn in a group containing Wales, England and Fiji in a new, one-off eight-team rugby tournament to be held over four consecutive weeks from November 14th. Scotland, France, Italy and Japan will be in the other pool, and the winners of the respective pools will meet on December 5th. In his column this morning, Gerry Thornley writes: “Leinster behind closed doors at the Aviva Stadium has to be preferable and advantageous to Munster, Ulster and Saracens, whom Leo Cullen’s men meet in the Heineken Champions Cup quarter-finals . . . for it is the wave of noise generated by near on 50,000 fans at the ground which underlines home advantage.”
Irish racing’s most famous meeting of the year kicked off in ghostly silence on Monday - the Galway racecourse faces a “seven-figure” loss on the back of this week’s festival taking place behind closed doors. Read Brian O’Connor’s preview of the festival’s day two feature (the Colm Quinn BMW Mile) here: “Magnetic North hasn’t won at Ballybrit but came up the hill well enough when third in last year’s Ahoonora Handicap at last year’s festival. That was over seven furlongs, so as a proven winner at a mile and a quarter Sheila Lavery’s runner could be one to relish a stamina test in the closing stages.” Across the Irish sea, and Aidan O’Brien’s decision to send the Irish Derby hero Santiago to the opening day highlight of the Goodwood festival serves up a potential inter-generational classic.