James Ryan scoops Rugby Writers award; what role will Lee Keegan play for Mayo?
Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Shane Lowry plays a shot on the 10th hole during a practice round for the Northern Trust at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
We begin this morning with the news that James Ryan was last night named as the Rugby Writers Player of the Year after another stellar season for the Leinster man. At 23-years-old Ryan became the youngest winner of the award ever but his sights are very much set on the World Cup at this stage. Ryan was on the tour to Japan in 2017 and says the climate makes it a huge task. “A lot of the work we’ve been doing so far has been strength and conditioning because of the heat and the humidity over there. It’s something that we’re not used to,” he said. Meanwhile Jack Conan was speaking yesterday ahead of Saturday’s first World Cup warmup match against Italy and the 27-year-old says that the team won’t be fixated on the results of these friendly games, even when it comes to playing England at Twickenham. “We’re going out in pre-season to be clinical in our phase of attack, and to build on to where we left – wasn’t in the best scenario – make sure we’re pushing rugby forward,” he said.
Moving on to soccer and Dundalk were put on the back foot late on last night as a Slovan Bratislava goal gave the home side a 1-0 victory in Slovakia. Dundalk hit the bar in injury time which was the closest they came to an away goal and they now know that they must score in Tallaght Stadium next week if they are to progress to the playoff stages where they could potentially play Ajax. In Transylvania Celtic were forced to work hard by Cluj to earn a 1-1 draw and a vital away goal in their Champions League qualifier. In the Premier League today is that wonderfully drama-filled (regularly, in fact, the opposite) day when the transfer window closes. On deal that is due to be completed is that of Romelu Lukaku to Inter Milan. The Belgian striker last night flew to the Italian city to finalise the terms of a deal which will see Manchester United receive ¤76m for the striker who scored just 15 goals last season.