The Morning Sports Briefing
Taylor unguarded, Delaney’s silence, Sexton’s support for new protocol, Arsène Wenger gets approval from the top, calls for a changed club calender and the rest of your morning’s sport headlines
Jonathan Sexton goes off injured with Dr. Eanna Falvey against Australia. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho
Katie Taylor’s fifth consecutive World championship title dominates the sports pages this morning and rightly so. Johnny Watterson has been ringside in Jeju for the past week, marvelling at the Olympic gold medallist’s composure, commitment and class.
After yesterday’s fight he had a glimpse at the other side, the unguarded side of the Bray fighter, he spoke to Katie and her father about the “history-making fight,” as well as what’s next.
Soccer: Silence from FAI
The FAI has failed to respond to questions put to it regarding a video showing its chief executive, John Delaney, singing the republican ballad Joe McDonnell, a song written from the perspective of an IRA member convicted of firearms offences in 1977 following a bomb attack on a furniture shop the previous year.
FAI Chief Executive John Delaney was singing the song on the same night that the England football manager Roy Hodgson apologised “if anyone was offended” by the singing of anti-IRA songs by England fans at Celtic Park. Both England and Scotland are due to play against Ireland in Dublin next June.
Across the Irish sea and the debate continues over Wigan chairman Dave Whelan’s remarks about Chinese and Jewish people which have been largely perceived to be racist. According to Everton manager Roberto Martinez his former chairman is a good-natured person.
Last night’s Premier League Monday night football turned out a dull affair as Roy Keane’s Aston Villa held second-placed Southampton to a 1-1 draw. For Villa though a disappointing start to the season got even worse as they recorded their lowest league attendance for 15 years.
The Daily Telegraph are reporting that Alisher Usmanov, Arsenal’s second largest shareholder, is happy for Arsène Wenger to continue as the club manager.
Not before claiming that the club need to strengthen in every single position to seriously challenge the elite of English and European football.
Rugby: Concussion update
“Under the new rules it’s best to come off and do the tests. I would have liked to have stayed on until the end . . .” Like Rob Kearney, Gordon D’Arcy and Conor Murray, Jonathan Sexton presented with concussion like symptoms during Saturday’s test victory over Australia.
While he admits that given the choice he wouldn’t have left the pitch, he does back the new head injury protocol which he explains signals progression in the sport.
The Irish outhalf who now has his mind set on returning to action with Racing Metro next weekend gave his views on the areas highlighted for improvement within the Irish camp, Stuart Olding, Conor Murray and the lessons learnt from the New Zealand defeat.
Off-the-back of a promising Autumn series and The Herald are reporting that Connacht’s Robbie Henshaw is set for a move to Leinster, with the “decisive decision” being whether Connacht qualify for next season’s Rugby Champions Cup.
Back to the provinces and Munster’s Keith Earls looks set for a January return from injury, leaving a Six Nations’ inclusion on the cards. Ulster will have to do without Paddy Jackson for the next six weeks after he suffered a shoulder injury last weekend.
While ahead of England’s final Autumn test with Australia this coming weekend, The Guardian are reporting that Owen Farrell is set to be dropped to the bench, with George Ford and Gloucester’s Billy Twelvetrees set to get the nod at outhalf and and inside-centre respectively.
GAA: TJ shocked by Walsh retirement
As Kilkenny champions Ballyhale Shamrocks gear up for their provincial hurling showdown next weekend they know a victory would make them the most successful club in Leinster championship history.
Discussing the challenge ahead, and the surprise retirement text he received from Kilkenny team mate Tommy Walsh, key player TJ Reid insists nothing will be taken for granted.
Stacks manager Stephen Stack explains the dynamics of the Munster club championship in which Kerry teams do not have the best of records, and where clubs from the perceived smaller counties are always capable of a shock - the challenge for him then is “to maintain form in the face of favouritism.”
Leinster and All-Ireland club champion Ger Brennan is calling for an entire overhaul of the club calender, the St Vincent’s and Dublin defender feels the need for more to be done in terms of player welfare.
Golf: Australian Open
It’s been an amazing year for Rory McIlroy winning two Majors, the British Open and the US PGA, along with a maiden WGC title at the Bridgestone Invitational, but the Northern Irishman isn’t ready just yet to pack away the clubs for winter.
This week he defends his Australian Open title hoping for a good omen ahead of his Grand Slam bid. It was this time last year that the world number one kickstarted his season with a victory in Sydney.
Meanwhile the issue of doping and anabolic steroids within Irish horse racing has resulted in another disqualification with the former Department of Agriculture veterinary inspector John Hughes ‘warned off’ for five years and penalised €4,500 by the Turf Club.