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Sexton and O’Gara meet again: GPA expenses dispute resolved

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

No one in their right mind would claim that anything other than Leinster's superiority on the day was behind their sizable victory over Toulouse on Saturday. Still, there is the lingering impression that referee Karl Dickson did not endear himself to the French side. Owen Doyle in his column today is adamant that those who suggest the result was down to his performance could not be more wide of the mark, though he does think there is an argument to be had about a controversial incident involving Jack Conan in the second half: "Conan's little take out of Romain Ntamack was clever, but he should not have been allowed to get away with it - Dickson considered it play-on. If it had been done to Johnny Sexton the crowd would have justifiably howled for a penalty." One of the great rivalries of Irish rugby gets another instalment on May 28th: Johnny Sexton vs Ronan O'Gara. The two are good friends at this stage, but still, that wasn't necessarily the case and their story is nonetheless fascinating. Gerry Thornley details their history of clashes.

The row between the GAA and the Gaelic Players' Association is over - for now at least. Their dispute was one largely over player expenses, the GPA's issue being what they saw as a failure to return to pre-pandemic entitlements once Covid restrictions were limited. Seán Moran explains what this resolution means for the dispute. "The Tailteann Cup will be live on TV. That matters. It won't sell out but local support would help. There are some smashing teams involved and it is wide open - an attraction that the senior All-Ireland cannot offer until the quarter final stage" - Kevin McStay is clearly a fan of the Tailteann Cup, the draw for which took place yesterday. It's by no means a perfect competition, but it has its perks over a limited championship campaign for so many teams, the hope is though that county boards don't kill it due to their attachment to traditional structures.

Arsenal had their Champions League fate in their own hands. That is, until an abysmal result away to Newcastle has handed arch rivals Spurs the advantage - they are ahead of their North London rivals by two points with just one game to play in the battle for fourth. Arsenal now need to beat Everton on the final day of the season and hope that already relegated Norwich do them a favour and beat high-flying Tottenham. I'll let you decide how likely that sounds. In more positive news, Blackpool's Jake Daniels yesterday became the UK's first gay player to come out openly since 1990.

It was a busy day in boxing circles on Monday. First of all Minister of State for sport Jack Chambers tore into those at the IABA who leaked that now infamous document that criticised Bernard Dunne's leadership, labelling the unsigned communication a "disgrace". The Minister then added that the governing body of Irish boxing, the IABA, must make radical changes to the way the organisation is run or face "immediate and severe financial sanctions." Inside the ring, at the World Championships in Istanbul, both Amy Broadhurst and Lisa O'Rourke have secured bronze medals at the very least after reaching their semi-finals with victories on Monday.

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