Why Andy Farrell is doing an exceptional job; GAA release their annual report

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

An action shot from the Leinster Senior Cup clash between St Michael’s College and Gonzaga College. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

An action shot from the Leinster Senior Cup clash between St Michael’s College and Gonzaga College. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

There were two Irish goalscorers in last night’s six Championship matches - Scott Hogan scored the winner for Birmingham against Barnsley and his fellow Irishman Darragh Lenihan was among the goals in Blackburn’s win over Hull City. Second-placed Leeds were held away to Brentford, as they paid the price for a goalkeeping blunder from Kiko Casilla - click here for a round-up of all the night’s matches. Emmet Malone has written an interesting piece about the deep divisions on how to produce better young football players in Ireland: “the bigger question right now given the Rovers controversy and looming implications of Brexit, though, is how to improve standards and then bridge the gap between the under-19 league and the senior game . . .”

In his column this morning (Subscriber Only) Gordon D’Arcy explains how head coach Andy Farrell is putting a fresh shape on Ireland’s attack to partner the fundamentals from the Joe Schmidt era: “Farrell has seven weeks from late January to early March to prime this squad. That’s why a bonus point victory over Wales, keeping old ways yet implementing new methods, is exceptional.” St Michael’s overpowered Gonzaga to reach the last four of the Leinster Senior Cup yesterday - keeping their quest for back-to-back titles very much on track. The 34-3 victory was the result of a dominant performance from their pack and the accuracy of Chris Cosgrave’s boot. Today at 3pm Kilkenny College take on Newbridge College in the third quarter-final of the week. That’s live on Premier Sports 2 from 2.55pm.

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