What’s on, where to watch, where to go – your guide to the weekend’s sport

World Cup qualifiers, a double helping of league GAA action and Formula One returns

What’s on?

March madness continues with the sporting weekend getting underway with a jolt on Friday evening as the Republic of Ireland take on Wales at the Aviva Stadium in Group D of the World Cup qualifiers.

The Six Nations is disappearing in the rearview mirror but the Guinness Pro 12 returns as the competition heads towards the business end following the international break.

There’s a double-header of action in the Allianz Leagues with the penultimate round of football matches over Saturday and Sunday and the final round of hurling matches on Sunday to decide the quarter-finals and the various promotion and relegation decisions.


The Airtricity Premier Division schedule switches to Saturday and there are World Cup qualifiers through the weekend.

Formula One takes its usual bow in Australia over the weekend with the new-look bigger, wider and faster cars getting their first run over the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne.

Katie Taylor is back in the ring on Saturday night when she takes on former world title challenger Milena Kolena at the Manchester Arena as part of the Anthony Crolla v Jorge Linares undercard.

There’s racing at Thurles on Saturday while the Irish Flat season gets underway at Naas on Sunday.

And you’ll have to do it all on one hour’s less sleep as the clocks go forward on Sunday morning at 1am.

The main events

1 Republic of Ireland v Wales (Friday, 7.45pm)

2 Cork v Dundalk (Saturday, 3pm)

3 WGC-Dell Match Play Final (Sunday)

The daily highlights


Football: Martin O'Neill's Republic of Ireland side will be looking to continue their great start to World Cup qualifying by dealing a blow to Wales' chances in Friday night's Group D clash, with the game kicking off at 7.45pm (RTÉ 2 and Sky Sports 1 from 7pm). Irish fans will also be hoping Georgia can take a point or more off Serbia in Tbilisi in the earlier group kick-off (Sky Sports 1 from 4.55pm). There's also live action from the Group G game between Spain and Israel in Gijón (Sky Sports 5 from 7.40pm).

Rugby: Ulster have won their last five games in the Guinness Pro 12 to move into fourth position in the table. They return to action away to a Dragons side that are held off the bottom of the table by just the two Italian sides. The game kicks off at 7.35pm at Rodney Parade (BBC Two from 7.30pm).

Golf: It's the final group games at the WGC-Dell Match Play in Austin, Texas but as far as Irish interest goes, both Shane Lowry's game against American Kevin Chappell  nd Rory McIlroy's game with Argentina's Emiliano Grillo are now dead rubbers. The battle between Spanish veteran Sergio Garcia and young pretender Jon Rahm is juicy to say the least. Live coverage starts on Sky Sports 4 at 6pm.


Formula One: It's an early start for the petrol heads with the first qualifying session of the new Formula One season taking place between 6am and 7am (Sky Sports 1 from 5am; Eir Sport 1 from 5.55am).

Rugby: Three Irish provinces are in action in the Guinness Pro 12 with Munster looking to go top of table for a while if they can account for Zebre in Italy (2pm). There's no TV coverage of the game but both Leinster's home game against Cardiff Blues at 3pm (Sky Sports 2 from 2.45pm; TG4 from 2.50pm) and Connacht's visit to play Glasgow Warriors at 5.15pm (Sky Sports 2 from 5pm) are on the box.

Gaelic Games: Dublin can end Roscommon's stay in Division One of the Allianz Football League and also make it a record 35th game without a loss in league and championship action at Croke Park. The throw in is down for 7pm (Eir Sport 2 from 6.55pm). There's also two Division 3 games set for 7pm with the all-Ulster clash of Armagh and Antrim at the Athletic Grounds and the meeting of Laois and Longford at O'Moore Park (Eir Sport 1 from 6.45pm).

Football: Cork City and Dundalk meet at Turner's Cross in the game of the season so far in the Airtricity Premier Division. Cork are unbeaten so far while champions Dundalk have four wins from five games to date. Kick-off is set for 3pm and the match is live on RTÉ2 from 2.45pm. It's one of five Premier Division matches on Saturday.

There’s also World Cup qualifier action with Sweden taking on Belarus in Group A at 5pm (Sky Sports 1 from 4.55pm) and the Group H meeting of Belgium and Greece in Brussels at 7.45pm (Sky Sports Mix and Sky Sports 2 from 7.30pm).

Golf: We're down to the 16 group winners at the WGC-Dell Match Play in Austin, Texas with the weekend action seeing both the round of 16 and quarter-finals taking place (Sky Sports 4 from 2pm).

Boxing: Katie Taylor is back in action in her fourth professional fight when she takes on Milena Kolena from Bulgaria at the Manchester Arena as part of the Anthony Crolla v Jorge Linares undercard. (Sky Sports 1 from 7pm).


Formula One: It's the opening race of the season with the Australian Grand Prix taking place in Melbourne. The race gets underway at 6am Irish time but remember to put your clock forward. (Sky Sports 1 from 4.30am; Eir Sport 1 from 4.55am).

Gaelic Games: Two points is all that separates the top five in Division One of the Allianz Football League with just two rounds of matches to go. Cavan enjoyed a successful trip to Castlebar when beating Mayo last Sunday and they host a Kerry side that drew with Dublin in Sunday's first game at 2pm. Tyrone host Mayo at 3pm (TG4 from 2pm) while Donegal host Monaghan, also with a 3pm throw-in.

Tipperary lead the way in Division 1A of the Allianz Hurling League and they travel to Páirc Uí Rinn to take on a Cork side that have had a mixed campaign to date (3pm). The final round of league games also sees Clare take on Waterford (deferred coverage on TG4) and Dublin host Kilkenny at Parnell Park with the losers set to be involved in a relegation playoff. Galway travel to the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick in the key Division 1B encounter with both sides on six points behind Davy Fitzgerald’s’s Wexford, who have already secured promotion. They are at home to Laois in their final game ahead of the quarter-finals.

Allianz League Sunday will wrap up all the weekend action on RTÉ 2 from 9.30pm.

Golf: Just four golfers remain at the WGC-Dell Match Play in Austin, Texas with the semi-finals and final down for decision (Sky Sports 4 from 2pm).

Racing: The Irish Flat season gets underway at Naas with theIrish Lincolnshire topping the bill at 4.40pm (Live on At The Races).

Football: A busy night of World Cup qualifiers gets underway at 5pm with England taking on Lithuania at Wembley (TV3 from 4.15pm), while Azerbaijan host Germany in Group C (Sky Sports 1 from 4.55pm). Northern Ireland will hope to keep on Germany's tails when they host Norway at Windsor Park (7.45pm; Sky Sports 2 from 7.30pm). The meeting of Scotland and Slovenia is shown live on Sky Sports 5 from 7pm with a 7.45pm kick-off.