Liverpool eyeing another comeback; Outline plan for return of club rugby
The Morning Sports Briefing: Keep ahead of the game with ‘The Irish Times’ sports team
Chelsea are into the Champions League semi-finals despite losing to Porto last night. Photograph: AP
Liverpool must deliver the perfect performance to overcome Real Madrid in their Champions League quarter-final second leg tonight. Jürgen Klopp’s team require another European recovery to salvage hopes of a third Champions League final in four seasons after last week’s 3-1 defeat in Spain: “We cannot just take comebacks for granted,” says the Premier league champions’ manager. “Especially not without a crowd in the stadium.” Last night Chelsea booked their place in the semi-finals despite a 1-0 defeat to Porto, while PSG went through on away goals after losing to reigning champions Bayern Munich by the same scoreline. Northern Ireland qualified for their first major finals as they reached the Women’s Euro 2022 with a 2-0 playoff second leg victory over Ukraine.
In his column this morning (Subscriber Only) Gordon D’Arcy says Béibhinn Parsons is the gift, IRFU must now do the giving: “the tipping point has yet to arrive, but it is no secret that professionalism has to be where female rugby ends up.” The return of club rugby will involve a non-contact element after a long lay off for the players. The outline plan would be to potentially return to provincial competition in August, a much earlier start to the season, before moving on to any All-Ireland Leagues. It is contingent upon medical advice and Government permission. Warren Gatland announced his Lions coaching ticket on Tuesday, and his squad - set to be announced on May 6th - is likely to have a greater spread than four years ago.