The Morning Sports Briefing

Liverpool cruise into group stages, Stephen Rochford the risk taker, Rory McIlroy to play on with injury until October


Liverpool cruised into the Champions League group stages last night, after a 4-2 (6-3 on aggregate) playoff win over Hoffenheim at Anfield.

Most of the damage was done in a sensational 11-minute spell early in the first half when Germany’s Emre Can struck twice against the Bundesliga side and Mohamed Salah also got on the scoresheet. Roberto Firmino bagged the fourth, on a night when Jurgen Klopp’s team again showed their attacking capability, but a flawless showing was denied by some hapless defending.

Tonight Everton look to seal their Europa League qualification in their play-off second leg clash against Hajduk Split in Croatia - they already hold a 2-0 first leg advantage. The build up to that encounter has been dominated by the surprise decision of their striker Wayne Rooney to retire from international football. The 31-year-old netted a record 53 goals across 119 appearances for England.



In this week's GAA Statistics column, Eamon Donoghue takes an in-depth look at the success of Stephen Rochford's big risks as Mayo boss; including his Alan Dillon snare, his goalkeeper gamble, and of course Aidan O'Shea v Kieran Donaghy. Did they work . . . ?

Women In Sport

Joanne O'Riordan believes that women's sport needs to build on a high-profile summer. "How can we as fans ensure that women's sports are at the forefront of CEO's minds? Audience interest cannot be manufactured, it has to organically grow . . . "


Rory McIlroy was told he could not make his rib injury any worse and will try to win the overall FedEx Cup title – and $10 million (€8.5 million) bonus – for the second year in succession.

After this week’s Northern Trust, the 28-year-old will then play the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland with his father Gerry from October 5th-8th before calling time on his 2017 season in a bid to get fully fit for the new campaign.


Meanwhile Ireland's hopes of landing a second successive European Hockey Championships medal were dashed yesterday as they gave up a first-half lead, falling to England – the side they beat to bronze in 2015.