Old Trafford needs a great European night; Racing in Britain will resume on Wednesday

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

Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking for a great European night in Old Trafford. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Manchester United caretaker manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking for a great European night in Old Trafford. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

 

Manchester United host PSG in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash tonight - and interim boss Ole Gunnar Solskjær says it’s been “too long” since a great European night at Old Trafford. The stars have aligned for Solskjær with regard to the absences of PSG’s Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier through injury and he will hope to build on his positive start at the club in moving the team up to fourth in the Premier League. Last night, Willy Boly’s last second strike denied Rafael Benítez’s Newcastle side a valuable victory at Molineux. They're now just a point outside of the relegation places.

It was confirmed yesterday evening that Seán O’Brien has agreed to join London Irish following this year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan, on a three-year contract reported to be worth €420,000 per annum. In his column this morning, Gerry Thornley explains why the kick is back in vogue but not so much for Ireland: “England kicked the leather off the ball against France at Twickenham on Sunday, but inventively and creatively.”

Racing in Britain will resume with four meetings on Wednesday, following a six-day shutdown because of an outbreak of equine influenza, the British Horseracing Authority announced last night. Brian O’Connor writes in this morning’s pages that; “fears about a threat to the Cheltenham festival going ahead next month are mostly in a context of memories of 2001’s foot-and-mouth outbreak. But equine flu is not a notifiable disease like foot-and-mouth. It isn’t a virulent infection like strangles. It doesn’t constitute the danger that equine herpes presents. The response to flu looks disproportionate.”

Following the Kerry footballers’ breathtaking win over Dublin in Division One of the Allianz Leagues on Saturday, Ian O’Riordan explains that despite 17 of the five-in-a-row minor All-Ireland winning players having now tasted senior football – manager Peter Keane is still spreading his net a little wider.

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