Jim Craig hits out at Leo Cullen; Kevin McStay on impressive Cavan

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

Leinster’s Andrew Porter during training. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Leinster’s Andrew Porter during training. Photo: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

The Pro14 final might sometimes have the feeling of “after the lord mayor’s” show about it what with European exploits ultimately defining Leinster’s season but this weekend’s clash in Glasgow may well have an edge to it after Warriors head coach Dave Rennie responded to remarks made by Leo Cullen. The Leinster boss had said that Glasgow players “all support Rangers I’ve been told” and Rennie has responded by playing it down and saying Glasgow have a mix of players who support all different football clubs. But one person who wasn’t so blasé about it is former Celtic player Jim Craig. “It’s nonsense, like a lot of things like that. But you’ve got to put up with it. If I ever meet Mr Cullen I’ll have a private word with him. He got publicity over his words, and maybe that’s what he was wanting,” said the Lisbon Lion. Johnny Sexton will look to make his return to the Leinster team this weekend after sitting on the bench for the win over Munster on Saturday. However, Leinster coach Felipe Contepomi has said it must be made clear that the Leinster No10 was not dropped. “I’m not saying journalists but you want to have a headline of ‘Jonathan Sexton dropped’. We don’t drop him, we all agree and are in the same boat, and Johnny is one of them,” Contepomi said. Meanwhile, in his column this morning, Gerry Thornley writes that Munster have ended the season banging off their glass ceiling having reached two semi-finals but losing in both of them. Munster’s season looks less successful by comparison with their high-achieving neighbours who have a superior in-house production line of talent and more financial resources but there is more to it, he writes.

In GAA Kevin McStay is looking at Cavan in his column this morning and how they came of age in their win over Monaghan at the weekend. After facing relegation from Division One just a few months ago they would have had weeks to build up to this game and focus on it, he writes. “Relegation can leave a squad and management feeling disoriented and just low. Certainly I know we felt terribly lonely and questioned ourselves having had such a drubbing of a league experience.” One of the results of the weekend in the hurling championship was Cork upsetting Limerick on Sunday. One of the more eye-catching decisions in that game was for Cork manager John Meyler to start Aidan Walsh. However, as Seán Moran writes, that decision very much paid off.

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