Jackie Tyrell on corner-back evolution; Johnny Sexton back for Ireland

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

2,000 fans were present for Arsenal’s win over Rapid Vienna on Thursday night. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

2,000 fans were present for Arsenal’s win over Rapid Vienna on Thursday night. Photograph: Adam Davy/PA

“Every corner-back is an island now,” - is what Jackie Tyrrell has written in his column this morning, with the nine-time All-Ireland winner looking at the evolution of his former position, in the wake of Kilkenny’s defeat to Waterford last weekend. “I retired from the game in 2016, a mere four years ago. But what was demanded of me back then and what’s demanded of a corner-backs right now are miles apart. Four years is a long time in the hurling world and the game is evolving at a breakneck speed.” But he believes it won’t be long before a new style of hurling which is being implemented by All-Ireland finalists Limerick will be nullified by other intercounty sides. He writes: “Natural evolution has always been part of the sport. Cork with their running game in the early noughties. Kilkenny with their deep-lying robust half-forward line to combat it. Tipperary with their emphasis on creating space in their forward division. Clare with a deep-lying sweeper. And now Limerick with this model. Every one of these set-ups have been hugely effective. The flipside is that they never last for long.”

Andy Farrell has named his Ireland side for Saturday’s Autumn Nations Cup clash against Scotland (kick-off 2.15pm), with Johnny Sexton returning to the fold after a two game absence. Sexton was last seen limping off in the early stages of a 32-9 win over Wales, and has since played the role of waterboy during a defeat to England and an unsatisfactory win over Georgia. Robbie Henshaw also returns to the starting line-up, along with midfield partner Bundee Aki. And as a difficult year draws to a close, Farrell has insisted Ireland are heading in the right direction under his stewardship. “You guys judge the performance at the weekend and you won’t necessarily see the steps we’re taking on a daily basis behind the scenes. We feel we’re working towards improving all aspects of our game.”

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