No Irish domestic or international football fixtures are currently under threat from the coronavirus but the FAI are in regular contact with government and UEFA about the spread of the disease and say they will follow expert guidance about any measures which may need to be taken.
After a scarcely believable few nights of footballing drama, Europe’s two best rugby teams are this evening faced with the unenviable task of delivering a Heineken Champions Cup final to rival the beautiful game’s capacity to exhilarate.
We’ve been down this road before, on seven different occasions now since Paul O’Connell, in tandem with Ronan O’Gara, lifted the Heineken Cup aloft in Cardiff 11 years ago after Munster beat the tournament’s greatest side to that point in a memorable 16-13 win over Toulouse.
This time 12 months ago, Munster and Leinster felt bulletproof as they approached their respective Champions Cup semi-final deciders against Racing 92 and Scarlets, with both squads densely fortified with players from Ireland’s all-conquering Grand Slam team.
In the midst of the Six Nations hype, the provincial coaches beaver away with reduced playing resources, trying to keep the ship afloat and a season’s work on track over a series of Guinness PRO14 games which, by and large, pass unnoticed.
Neither Bath nor Leinster have taken a scalpel to their fifteens this week. The weather, that brutal cocktail of wind, rain and cold, will be more of the same. Talk to Leo Cullen, though, and he will tell you that little else stays the same come the second of these back-to-back European encounters.
It will take a while yet for that first-half no-show at Glasgow Warriors in round two to be erased from Munster’s collective memory banks but Mike Sherry believes the rebound against Ospreys a week later can provide the template for his province as their season ramps up over the next month or so.
Some of the world’s top urban thinkers biked and walked around Cork yesterday to see how a “city on the rise” is poised to become the fastest growing region in Ireland — but decision-makers need to realise its value for the benefit of the whole country.
The ideal scenario for the club where Paul Pogba played football as a kid might go something like this: The France midfielder shines so brightly at the World Cup that a money-no-object club — for argument’s sake, let’s say Real Madrid — decides that it cannot live without him and pays a nine-figure fee to shake him loose from Manchester United.
Keith Earls, named by his peers last night as Zurich’s Irish player of the year, is aiming to cap a memorable season by accounting for Leinster’s European champions and claiming a first trophy for Munster since 2011.
Johann van Graan is planning a revolution in the provincial hierarchy and there would be no better time to rally the downtrodden Munster masses, storm the palace gates of the RDS on Saturday and overthrow Irish rugby’s ruling elite.