O’Gara on Ireland’s past mental mistakes; McStay says Murphy and O’Shea are key

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Racegoers shelter during a rain shower at the opening day of the 2019 Galway Festival. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Racegoers shelter during a rain shower at the opening day of the 2019 Galway Festival. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

There are less than two months to go now until the start of the Rugby World Cup and the build-up is beginning to step up a notch. Yesterday Ronan O’Gara spoke to Gerry Thornley about what Ireland must get right when it comes to Japan in September. The former outhalf has recently left Crusaders to take up a coaching role with La Rochelle and he points out some of the mental mistakes he feels they made in 2003, 2007 and 2011. “I don’t think we reacted well to winning four games in a row (in 2011). We didn’t reset and get the mental side right for the games against Wales in Wellington. It cost us badly,” O’Gara said of that quarter-final defeat.

On to GAA and the focus this weekend turns to football and the final round of the Super 8s. Most attention will be on Castlebar where Mayo and Donegal face off in what is a do-or-die battle. If Kerry are to beat Meath, as expected, then the winner at MacHale Park will advance to the semi-final stage. Writing in his column this morning Kevin McStay feels that this clash of the heavyweights will be defined by the two star men – Michael Murphy and Aidan O’Shea. “I remember when I first saw them both properly. O’Shea got man of the match on a losing Mayo team at under-21 level. And I saw the emergence of Murphy at under-21 level in Donegal that same year,” he writes. Meanwhile, Seán Moran writes this morning that hawk-eye is proving to be quite the frustration for Tipperary, despite them ultimately coming out on top against Wexford on Sunday. Finally, the news broke last night that Rory Gallagher has stepped down as Fermanagh manager after two years in charge which saw him lead them to an Ulster final and promotion to Division One.

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