Ireland under-20s off to perfect start; Darragh Ó Sé on drama in Ulster

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

Aaron Hinkley of England competes for the ball with Angus Kernoghan of Ireland during their pool match at the World Rugby U20 Championship. Photo: Amilcar Orfali/Getty Images

Aaron Hinkley of England competes for the ball with Angus Kernoghan of Ireland during their pool match at the World Rugby U20 Championship. Photo: Amilcar Orfali/Getty Images

It was a dream start to the Junior World Championships for the Ireland under-20s last night as they overcame England in a thriller to take pole position in their pool. Noel McNamara’s Grand Slam champions never took a step backwards against a gargantuan England side, scoring six tries on their way to a 42-26 victory in Santa Fe. Ireland now roll on towards the second game of the tournament which sees them face Australia on Saturday. For a full guide to all of the pools you can read John O’Sullivan’s breakdown.

On to soccer and Juventus have told Manchester United that they are interested in re-signing Paul Pogba. The French midfielder has been linked with a move away from the English club despite Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s repeated desires to build his team around him. It has now emerged that the Italian club would be interested in taking the midfielder back to Turin while they are also looking to pay off the rest of Mauruzio Sarri’s contract at Chelsea in order to install the Italian as a replacement for Massimiliano Allegri. This week the focus is on international action with Ireland set to meet Denmark in Copenhagen on Friday and Gibraltar back in Dublin on Tuesday. Speaking yesterday Mick McCarthy said the ongoing crisis at the FAI has had no effect on the players. “I think if as a footballer you let all those daily things influence you to play badly, not play as well as you should, you’re not going to have a really good career. They’re all professionals (and) they’re going to do their job,” he said. Conor Hourihane looks set to be a key part of the Ireland midfield for the year to come and the Aston Villa man – who recently secured promotion to the Premier League – believes his route to the top from Sunderland to Ipswich Town to Plymouth Argyle to Barnsley and now to Aston Villa has helped him realise just how tough it is to make it. “That’s the sad thing to see – lads don’t realise it. They’re working harder on the table tennis table than they do in training, and that’s the honest truth,” the Cork man says.

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