Irish granny keeping Luca Connell focused; Dublin hurlers proving a 50-minute team

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Kevin Long, John Egan, Luca Connell, Callum Robinson and Seamus Coleman during an Ireland training session this week in Portugal. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Kevin Long, John Egan, Luca Connell, Callum Robinson and Seamus Coleman during an Ireland training session this week in Portugal. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Bolton Wanderers’ 18 year-old Luca Connell will not follow the path of Declan Rice and Jack Grealish, because his grandmother Margaret Simpson wouldn’t allow it. One minute on the pitch for the Liverpoudlian in either of the Republic of Ireland’s Euro qualifiers next month, more likely against Gibraltar than the preceding trip to Denmark, would prevent another dual-eligibility saga. The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be a 32-team tournament as originally planned, after the world governing body dropped plans to increase it to 48 teams.

In this week’s GAA Statistics column, Eamon Donoghue explores how and why Dublin have been falling short in the Leinster round robin series despite being the provinces’s best team after 50 minutes: “In their two matches thus far in the 2019 championship, they’ve converted 1-9 from a possible 3-17 in the final 20 minutes. That’s a scoring efficiency rate of 46 per cent at the most decisive stage of the match.” Donegal’s Ryan McHugh has had to think about whether his experience with concussion might force him to change his style of play - he was sidelined for 10 weeks after back-to-back concussions towards the end of last summer.

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