Klopp praises Kelleher; IRFU’s Nucifora must answer questions

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Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson congratulates Caoimhin Kelleher after their win over Ajax. Photo: Jon Super/EPA

Liverpool’s Jordan Henderson congratulates Caoimhin Kelleher after their win over Ajax. Photo: Jon Super/EPA

It was a night to remember for Caoimhin Kelleher on Tuesday as his clean sheet helped Liverpool into the last-16 of the Champions League with a 1-0 win over Ajax at Anfield. The Cork goalkeeper pulled off a number of impressive saves as Jürgen Klopp opted for him ahead of Adrian in the absence of the injured Allison. Afterwards Klopp praised the 22-year-old who he said had deserved his chance. Elsewhere, Manchester City ensured safe passage into the last-16 with a 0-0 draw away to Porto. Earlier in the evening the Ireland women’s team had seen their Euro hopes dashed after a 3-1 loss to Germany in Tallaght which brings to an end a campaign which almost saw Vera Pauw lead the side to a first ever major tournament. And while the manager’s future remains uncertain, she insists that the team can reach the next World Cup after gaining experience from this near miss.

Moving on to rugby and Gordon D’Arcy writes in his column this morning that “there are way too many outstanding questions about what David Nucifora is doing for Irish rugby’s long term future and his refusal to answer them this week should not be accepted by anyone who truly cares about the game.” Nucifora has been guarded about discussing certain internal IRFU matters with the media in recent times and D’Arcy writes that “a media strategy that essentially sticks two fingers up at anyone who asks a question Nucifora does not have an answer to is bad business for everyone involved.” On the subject of things like player contracts, 90 or so players see their contracts run out next June and that gives a lot to think about for players on the other side of 30. Their futures beyond next June would normally have been resolved by now, but the IRFU has suspended all negotiations until next year. One of those – Johnny Sexton – has reiterated that he wants to continue playing.

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