The Morning Sports Briefing

Taylor does it again, Schmidt leads from the front, Lowry runs his luck, Tiger’s new trainer, Ched Evans set for six new offers and the rest of your morning’s sport headlines

Katie Taylor this morning put the icing on what's been a fantastic weekend for Irish Sport.

The Olympic gold medallist secured a fifth straight World Championship title, equalling the record of Mary Kom. Following a cagy affair with Azerbaijani opponent Yana Allekseevna, Taylor did enough to overcome her opponent and the again questionable judges' scoring, leading to a rare outpouring of emotion from her and as always a very proud father.

Leading by example, Irish rugby coach Joe Schmidt came through the pain barrier as his team beat Australia on Saturday, to augment a Six Nations title by completing a first November clean sweep since 2006.

Gerry Thornley dissects the Irish performance, one which leaves plenty of room for improvement, as well as the post-match views of both Schmidt and captain Paul O'Connell. Thornley also has the latest on the injury front following the bruising encounter.


Rugby: Pro 12

The four provinces were also in action this weekend, with some mixed results, the low point of which an underwhelming performance by Leinster away to Treviso where they can count themselves lucky to have emerged with a draw. On Friday night there were impressive wins though for Ulster, Munster and Connacht as a number of the Irish squad were released following the weekend before's Georgia international.

GAA: Cratloe’s dreams dashed

The weekend's provincial club action provided few surprises, perhaps the defeat of Cratloe by Kilmallock in the Munster hurling final providing the highlight. Between this weekend and the last Cratloe's dreams of a provincial double have been dashed, leading to the thought that perhaps they would have been better served focusing on one Munster title ambition.

In Leinster Ballyhale Shamrock's eased past the challenge of Dublin champions Kilmacud Crokes, into a Leinster final and no doubt beyond.

Whilst reigning All-Ireland football champions St Vincent's similarly overcame a plucky Garrycastle side, they will now meet Rhode of Offaly in the provincial decider - they impressed in an eight-point win over a Moorefield side desperately missing the full influence of Daryl Flynn.

In Connacht, Galway champions Corofin defeated Ballintubber in the football final. The Mayo champion's only two scorers being Alan Dillon and Cillian O'Connor as Mayo's Achilles' heel was hit once more.

The weekend's GAA action began at 9.30am on Saturday though as the International Rules team were defeated by Australia. A second-half come back re-sparking the contest and leading to renewed calls for the continuation of the series. A continuation which the Irish Daily Mail has been highlighting could at some point in the future take place in a venue in the USA.

Golf: Lowry’s rides his luck

As Sweden's Henrik Stenson successfully defended a title for the first time in his career after a thrilling finish to the DP World Tour Championship on Sunday, Shane Lowry's fifth place finish gave him the score he needed to break into the world's Top 50.

Stenson finished two shots ahead of world number one Rory McIlroy who returned from a six week lay-off, with attentions now turning to the Masters.

According to The Telegraph, Tiger Woods has appointed a biomechanics student as his new swing coach "as he prepares to relaunch his competitive career."

While Irish Golf is on a high, controversy continues to circle the world of horse racing on the back of trainer Philip Fenton being disqualified for possession of banned animal remedies. Turf Club will now offer cash rewards in exchange for doping information, as their clamp down continues.

Soccer: Evans set for contract offer

The Premier League returned this weekend with David De Gea inspiring Manchester United to a 2-1 victory over Arsenal despite just one shot on target in the entire 90 plus minutes.

Ken Early has been giving his views on a counter-attacking performance similar to that which got Holland into the last four of the summer's World Cup.

Similarly Liverpool's possession counted for little as they fell 3-1 to Crystal Palace in Selhurst Park yesterday, Brendan Rodgers conceding post-match that he’s now under pressure to turn things around.

Elsewhere in the English League and The Irish Mirror are reporting that convicted rapist Ched Evans will be offered a route back into football - "with six clubs vying to sign him".

Meanwhile Everton manager Roberto Martinez has defended his former chairman Dave Whelan after his perceived racist remarks about Chinese and Jewish people. He told The Guardian that the comments need not be taken out of context.

Formula 1: Contrasting weekend for Brits

While Lewis Hamilton won his shootout in the desert with Nico Rosberg in Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix to win his second Formula One world championship, Jenson Button's F1 career "comes to a likely end with a distinct lack of fanfare."

Although McLaren will not announce Button’s future until next month, The Telegraph report that the 34-year-old’s post-race message over the radio to his team said it all.

Finally, tennis all-time great Roger Federer secured the Davis Cup for Switzerland on Sunday to complete his collection of titles with the premier international team event having been the only title to have previously eluded him.

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue is a sports journalist with The Irish Times