Ryder Cup – Day One; Ulster and Connacht kick-off United Rugby Championship

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 Pádraig Harrington’s European team are looking to retain the Ryder Cup trophy they won at Le Golf National in Paris three years ago. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Pádraig Harrington’s European team are looking to retain the Ryder Cup trophy they won at Le Golf National in Paris three years ago. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

At last it’s here - the 43rd Ryder Cup gets underway today at Whistling Straits, a year later than originally planned due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The action begins at 1.05pm (Irish time) with the Friday morning foursomes. Jon Rahm and Sergio Garcia lead off the European challenge with Rory McIlroy and Ian Poulter hoping to do the business in the last match - check out Philip Reid’s preview of the foursomes here. The formidable USA team may be favourites but Pádraig Harrington’s men are capable of upsetting the odds: “Europe have been here before, many times, cast as underdogs. Revelling in it; turning perceived wisdom into a motivational tool and, time and time again, defying the odds.” Our live blog tees off at 12.30pm - until then check out Ruaidhrí Croke’s all you need to know guide to the Ryder Cup here.

Also kicking off today is the United Rugby Championship, née the Celtic League/Pro12/Pro14/Pro16. Connacht and Ulster are both in action - with the latter hosting Glasgow. Ulster are looking to bring the flare as Kingspan gets ready to roar again in front of a crowd of 15,000. Connacht face a tough opener away to a Cardiff side packed with internationals. Both games kick-off at 7.35pm.

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