John Delaney speaks; Gerry Thornley looks ahead to Pro14 battle

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

Trinity celebrate after they beat UCD to claim the 67th Colours Match in Belfield. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Trinity celebrate after they beat UCD to claim the 67th Colours Match in Belfield. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

John Delaney has spoken. It’s been two weeks now since the former FAI CEO was moved aside from his position to a newly created title of executive vice-president. Next week Delaney and other FAI officials will face an Oireachtas committee which will largely focus on the questions still surrounding Delaney’s €100,000 loan to the FAI a couple of years ago. However, yesterday he got the chance to wear a couple of his old hats when Dublin hosted the draw for next month’s European Under-17 Championships. Not much was said bar some reminiscing from Delaney before the draw went ahead but it took place off the back of more waves of support from clubs around the country, including Delaney’s hometown club of Waterford. Ireland, meanwhile, will face the tricky draw of Czech Republic, Greece and Belgium. In the Premier League this evening, Liverpool will look to go back to the top of the table when they take on Southampton while there is also domestic action across the country with four Premier Division games including table-toppers Shamrock Rovers’ visit to the Turners Cross to face Cork.

On to rugby, this weekend the race for Pro14 playoff places heats up as nine teams battle it out for the remaining berths. Leinster are already assured of a home semi-final but there are five other playoff spots up for grabs. Gerry Thornley wraps it all up ahead of this weekend’s action which gets underway tonight with Munster and Ulster both in action. Meanwhile, Matt Williams writes this morning that it’s time to outlaw the cheats and save the game of rugby. “Every team is cheating, and our officials are doing nothing about it. In every game I watched, every team was deliberately and purposefully offside,” he writes. Elsewhere, Josh van der Flier has called for more protection for poachers of the ball who he says are being taken out too much. “If someone comes in from the side you are pretty exposed, your knees, your ribs, that kind of thing. But refs are quite good about that,” he said yesterday.

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