The Morning Sports Briefing
Superbowl final, Fitzmaurice has answers for Kerry’s losing start, Dublin edged on their travels, Martin O’Neill laughs off Keane debate, Conor Murray fit to face Italy and why the British Open cannot be sold to Sky
World number one Rory McIlroy won the Dubai Desert Classic golf tournament in United Arab Emirates on Sunday. He may be one of the game’s superstars but Phillip Reid is this morning discussing how rights to Sky is hard to justify as player numbers continue to decline in the sport. Photograph: Kamran Jebreili/AFP
Ireland Head coach Joe Schmidt has revealed that both Conor Murray and Dave Kearney have been passed it to feature against Italy in the Six Nations opener. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho
Republic of Ireland soccer manager Martin O’Neill is unconcerned about the latest episode involving his assistant Roy Keane and he cheerfully joked about the fact that somebody from a British tabloid had door-stepped Keane about it on Saturday. The former Manchester United midfielder was reportedly involved in an altercation with a taxi man in the UK last week. Photograph: David Maher/Sportsfile
All-Ireland football champions Kerry were defeated in their first league game of 2015 by Mayo on Sunday. Manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice conceded Mayo were the better team, hence the seven point win, but he says his team are a few weeks behind their Connacht rivals in terms of training time put in. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski and teammates begin to celebrate their 28-24 victory as Super Bowl XLIX ends. The victory and his performance in the game has added to Tom Brady’s legacy - this is his fourth Super Bowl triumph, equally the haul of his idol Joe Montana. Photograph: Chang W. Lee/The New York Times
New England Patriots were last night crowned the Superbowl champions following their 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks. Post match much of the furore centres on the cemented legacy of quarter-back Tom Brady, and the decision of Seahawks coach Pete Carroll to run a passing play while on the one-yard line with the final play, instead of asking Marshawn Lynch to try and make that yard.
GAA: Allianz League
Both Kerry and Dublin lost their league openers yesterday, yet neither results should be read into too carefully say the respective coaches.
Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s team were away on a celebratory holiday for last year’s All-Ireland success and hence he says his team were visibly a few weeks behind their opponents Mayo in terms of preparation.
As for Cork manager Brian Cuthbert who oversaw his team’s one point win over the travelling Dubs; “How much do you read into games like this? Dublin came down here minus 10 players. We are missing five of our main players.”
Rugby: Injury news
Conor Murray and Dave Kearney have been passed fit for Ireland’s Six Nations opener against Italy.
Yet as a precautionary measure factoring in Eoin Reddan’s fitness, four scrumhalves are included among the 38 players in contention for the match day squad.
Meanwhile Gerry Thornley explains why Marty Moore is “proof, were it needed, that the Leinster system, and specifically their Talent Identification Programme, works.” At 15, in his transition year at Castleknock, one of his work experience placements was with Leinster.
Golf: Sky debate
Golf participation among 18-34-year-olds, the age when most people take up the game for the first time, has declined by 30 per cent in the past 20 years.
Nonetheless the British Open looks set to be sold to Sky limiting viewing to the “hardcore fans”. Golf correspondent Phillip Reid looks at why the decision will be hard to justify.
Raging sense of persecution
“It was all there again: the noise, the bile, the electricity, the songs, the colours, the police, the flags, the sell-out, the stadium divide, the city divide and the mutual raging sense of persecution. Yes, the whole Glasgow shouting match was on display at Hampden Park. But where it matters most, on the pitch, the reunion of Celtic ad Rangers, after almost three years, revealed afresh the ragged state of domestic Scottish football” - Michael Walker was at Hampden Park for Celtic versus Rangers and it’s definitely worth the read.
What to watch out for:
We’re expecting some more team news from the Irish Rugby camp in Carton house later today, particularly on the injury front. You can catch up on all the GAA football league highlights on TG4 tonight at 8.30pm.
The return of Against the Head is also tonight with a view to the weekend’s Six Nations openers.
RTE 2 from 7pm to 8.05pm
Transfer Deadline Day is upon us, there’s been very little action thus far in the window but don’t write off a busy last few hours - no doubt some clubs are in desperate need.
BBC 1 from 11.10pm-11.55pm