The Morning Sports Briefing

Validity of International Rules questioned, Katie progresses, Ireland’s new expectation, McIlroy and Lowry lead in Dubai, ITV’s Match of the Day and the rest of your morning’s sport headlines

Ahead of the International Rules test tomorrow morning between Ireland and Australia, and the validity of the hybrid game has been called into question.

Former Asada head Richard Ings is concerned with the participation of Australian players Jobe Watson and Dustin Fletcher despite both being under investigation for doping offences.

While the AFL has a discretion in the rules to allow provisionally suspended players to play, Ings questions whether this should be exercised to allow provisionally suspended players to represent their country.

The entire fiasco even has the potential for an Australian victory to be overturned based on a future anti-doping hearing.


Boxing: Katie progresses

Katie Taylor had a rare morning off today as she received a walkover in her eagerly awaited World Championship quarter-final bout with Russia's Sofya Ochigava. Following a tight encounter yesterday the world number two, Ochigava, picked up an injury which has forced her out of the tournament.

Yesterday Taylor overcame Mira Potkonen in the sort of tough scrap she felt would be perfect for today's planned Olympic final rematch, although following the walkover she now prepares for China's Jinhua Yin in the last four.

Rugby: High standards

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt has been explaining how Ireland need to now embrace their new favourites tag in retaining the newly acquired status of third in the world.

"I have no doubt that we are feeling more pressure this week. I'm not sure you can shield a team from the public eye and the public expectation because in the end they live in amongst it," he told Gerry Thornley.

There may be some form of distraction provided with tonight's PRO12 action though, a number of the Irish squad have been released to their provinces as Munster, Ulster and Connacht all feature. The big news from the Sportsground is that All Black centurion Mils Muliaina's will make his belated Connacht debut.

Golf: Irish eyes

There's plenty of Irish interest in today's round two of the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai as Shane Lowry and Rory McIlroy tee off together. The pair currently share the lead after they both shot opening rounds of 66 yesterday.

There was some disappointing news though as Peter Lawrie's bid to win back his European Tour card agonisingly came up short by just one stroke on the final day of Tour School in Spain yesterday.

Soccer: Martinez responds

Last week Roy Keane questioned Everton's commitment to releasing their Irish players for International duty, the argument centring on James McCarthy who withdrew from another Irish squad last week ahead of the Scottish defeat, but has yet to be ruled out of this weekend's Premier League fixture with West Ham.

Yet Everton manager Roberto Martinez has dismissed the claims as nonsense, saying that Keane has jeopardised McCarthy's relationship with Republic of Ireland's supporters.

The Everton manager's old chairman at previous club Wigan, Dave Whelan, has apologised for his perceived 'anti-Semitic' remarks made yesterday. Addressing the topic of the club's new managerial appointment of Malky Mackay the Wigan chairman condoned referring to Chinese people as "chinks" and said that Jewish people "chase money".

GAA: Slow death

"I'm inclined to wonder is Perth the place Australians take a dead horse to be flogged. Surely, if they were still serious about the International Rules, tomorrow's Test would be in the 'Footy' capital, Melbourne," Tomás Ó Sé tells the Irish Independent that the series need either a calendar window or to be scrapped.

Former AFL and now returning Kerry footballer Tommy Walsh feels that drug testing is not necessary in the GAA. He told the Irish Examiner that such is not necessary given the games' amateur status.

The big news in this morning’s GAA headlines comes though with the retirement of Walsh’s Kilkenny namesake.

The nine-time All-Ireland winner was honoured by one of his most heralded opponents, Tipperary's Lar Corbett, as one of the all-time greats.

Formula 1: Button in limbo

Jenson Button's F1 future is left dangling by dithering McLaren as SebastianVettel departure from Red Bull to take Fernanado Alonso's place at Ferrari was confirmed yesterday, with the Spaniard poised to move back to McLaren. He talked to the Guardian about going into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix still in the dark about next season.

The Guardian also report that ITV is set to launch a raid on Match of the Day's rights to top-flight highlights as broadcasters gear up for the Premier League auction despite a recent intervention from the media regulator.

Meanwhile The Telegraph have an interesting interview with Stoke City's Bojan Krkic, where it all went wrong from being hailed as the new Messi to arriving at the Britannia Stadium.

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue

Eamon Donoghue is a sports journalist with The Irish Times