Stephen O’Brien cleared to play; How Ireland can top world rugby rankings

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

Stephen O’Brien has been cleared to play in the All-Ireland final. Photograph: Inpho

Stephen O’Brien has been cleared to play in the All-Ireland final. Photograph: Inpho

Kerry forward Stephen O’Brien has been cleared to play in the All-Ireland final against Dublin. The Kenmare club man had been facing an automatic one-match ban having received a third black card this season during the semi-final victory over Tyrone. Ahead of this Sunday’s hurling final between Tipperary and Kilkenny, Jackie Tyrrell explains why Cody and Kilkenny will just edge it when the sparks stop flying: “It is very hard to call but I think there might be Black and Amber confetti streaming from the top of the Hogan stand come 5.15pm. It will come down to that simple message. Do Your Job!”

Ireland can go top of the rugby world rankings this weekend without lifting a finger. To knock the All Blacks off the perch they have held for almost a decade will require Australia to win or draw against New Zealand at Eden Park on Saturday morning followed by a draw between number two ranked Wales and England (fourth) at the Principality stadium in the afternoon. Lynne Cantwell, Ireland’s outside centre in the heady days is on the board of Sport Ireland and chairs a committee on women in sport. Her team’s legacy is now in danger of being squandered, she explains: “I suppose there is a reality that there wasn’t any solid structures in place in rugby at that time and there wasn’t huge changes made afterwards.”

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