Kevin McStay on the future for Dublin without Gavin; Lionel Messi should let his feet do the talking
The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
James Maddison of Leicester City celebrates with Kasper Schmeichel after the Premier League win over Everton. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images
The weekend that started with no signs that Jim Gavin would be anywhere other than in the Dublin hotseat next season ends with the five-in-a-row All-Ireland champions looking for a new manager. This morning Malachy Clerkin writes that a county board meeting will take place on Tuesday to consider just two names for the vacant post – those of Dessie Farrell and Pat Gilroy. While Gilroy is expected to be given first refusal on the job, Farrell is the favourite to get it. With six All-Irelands won in a seven-year tenure, Gavin’s impact on Dublin football is impossible to underestimate but it is where that team will go from here that will be interesting. In a column this morning Kevin McStay writes that he believes Dublin’s aura of invincibility will leave with Gavin and he’s unsure of how well the team will cope. “Remember the departure of Alex Ferguson from Old Trafford. You can believe that things will keep on running smoothly. But it doesn’t mean they will,” he writes.
On to soccer and in his column this morning Ken Early looks at the recently released Barcelona documentary and what it tells us about both one of the world’s greatest teams and one of the world’s greatest players. A key scene in the film is in the Anfield dressing room prior to Barca’s 4-0 Champions League semi-final second leg defeat to Liverpool last season where Lionel Messi’s speech proves only to summon up ghosts of the side’s 3-0 defeat to Roma the previous season. “Messi might be better off letting his feet do the talking,” he writes. On Saturday Ireland were drawn into a group with Spain, Poland and Sweden for next year’s European Championships (should they beat Slovakia away and then beat either Northern Ireland or Bosnia and Herzegovina away) and Emmet Malone writes that the presence of Poland for two matches in Dublin will be a welcome boost for the FAI given the high number of Polish nationals living here. With Sport Ireland last week referring the Kosi report to the Garda and interim CEO John Foley expected to start it looks like being another eventful week for the FAI but there was some positive news last night as general manager Noel Mooney said that the chances of a British and Irish 2030 World Cup bid have been given a boost by a “very strong presentation” from the English FA after the Euro 2020 draw in Bucharest. On a weekend of high drama in the Premier League, Leicester City managed to stay within eight points of Liverpool at the top of the table thanks to a last-gasp VA-assisted winner in their clash with Everton. Afterwards Brendan Rodgers said that, although his contract with the Foxes does have an exit clause, he is fully committed to the cause despite interest from Arsenal. Speaking of Arsenal, they were forced to hit back twice to to snatch a point at Norwich yesterday in Freddie Ljungberg’s first game in charge and Jonathan Liew writes this morning that the Swede has a lot of work on his hands to change the identity of the team.