Category Archives: Sports

Healy and Ross in line to come to Ireland’s aid for crucial England clash

Cian Healy and Mike Ross could be set to shore up Ireland’s creaking scrum in Saturday’s 6 Nations match against England at Twickenham.

The Leinster front-rowers have been named in a 34-man squad for the build-up to Ireland's third-round Six Nations clash.

Lock Dave Foley has replaced Mike McCarthy, sidelined with concussion, Jordi Murphy slots in for hamstring injury victim Sean O'Brien and Ulster's Craig Gilroy offsets Dave Kearney's absence through shoulder trouble.

Healy and Ross came through Leinster's 14-13 PRO12 victory at Cardiff on Saturday unscathed, and are now set for their first outings in this term's Six Nations.

"Cian Healy and Mike Ross return to the squad after proving their fitness," Ireland confirmed in a statement.

"Dave Foley, Jordi Murphy and Craig Gilroy come in for the injured trio of Mike McCarthy, Sean O'Brien and Dave Kearney."

Johnny Sexton has been named in Ireland's training squad as anticipated, despite turning his ankle in last week's open training session.

Powerful loosehead prop Healy has now fully recovered from knee surgery, while stalwart tighthead Ross is over his hamstring complaint.

Tighthead Tadhg Furlong has picked up a thigh muscle problem too, further opening the door for Ross to be ushered back into the number three berth.

"Tadhg Furlong and Rob Herring are both suffering with thigh muscle injuries so will remain with their provinces to rehab," the Ireland statement read.

Rumours: Manchester United put Jose Mourinho agreement in place?

Monday’s paper talk sees rumours of a gentleman’s agreement between Jose Mourinho and Manchester United for the Portuguese to become the club’s next manager.

Jose Mourinho has a gentleman's agreement with Manchester United to become their new boss, according to the Manchester Evening News. However, the Guardian reports that the former Chelsea boss will walk away unless he is offered the job before the end of the season.

The Daily Star, meanwhile, claims that Louis van Gaal will be axed as Red Devils boss should his side be defeated by 21st-placed League One side Shrewsbury Town in tonight's FA Cup fifth-round tie.

Whoever is in charge at Old Trafford next season, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be a transfer target. The Gabon striker, who plays for Borussia Dortmund, will be the subject of a £60million raid by United says the Independent.

The Sun suggests that star forward Wayne Rooney, who has been strongly linked with a move to the Chinese Super League, will not consider a switch from United until 2018 at the earliest.

United, along with Real Madrid and PSG, are also monitoring 22-year-old Fiorentina forward Federico Bernardeschi according to the Sun. The Italian, who netted against Tottenham Hotspur in the Europa League in last Thursday's 1-1 draw, has scored four times in the competition as well as once in Serie A this season.

Sergio Aguero has told Manchester City he wants to stay at the club for the rest of his career, reports ESPN. The 27-year-old is due to sign a four-year deal in the summer but is willing to stay beyond 2020.

The Mirror reports Spurs are in pole position to sign Gent striker Laurent Depoitre. The 27-year-old has impressed for the Belgian club this season, scoring 11 league goals in 26 appearances and one Champions League effort. He will reportedly cost the White Hart Lane side £12million.

Chelsea midfielder Oscar rejected a move to the Chinese Super League, according to the Daily Express. The Brazilian could have earned big money in the Far East but was not prepared to turn his back on the Premier League.

‘I can’t see Annie Power winning Champion Hurdle’ – Paul Nicholls

Paul Nicholls with his chasing star Silviniaco Conti

Paul Nicholls with his chasing star Silviniaco Conti

Champion trainer Paul Nicholls believes Identity Thief could be the one to beat in the Stan James Champion Hurdle next month.

Nicholls, who is set to run Old Guard in the race, feels Henry de Bromhead's Fighting Fifth winner has gone somewhat under the radar.

One horse who Nicholls thinks has a bit to find with the main contenders is the mare Annie Power, who was catapulted to favouritism even though she needs supplementing in the absence of stablemate Faugheen.

"I don't know whether Old Guard will win it but it is a lot more open now Faugheen is out of the race," said Nicholls, speaking at a Cheltenham preview after racing at Ascot on Saturday.

"Old Guard loves Cheltenham and he loves better ground. Although he was beaten on Boxing Day I was glad I ran him as I've now given him a month off so he will go there a fresh horse.

"Annie Power was talked about for the Mares' Hurdle and World Hurdle and now she is being talked about winning the Champion Hurdle but I can't see her winning it.

Willie Mullins stable jockey Ruby Walsh with star mare Annie Power

"It is a very open race. My Tent Or Yours has not been seen for two years so I can't see him winning while Peace And Co has had his problems.

"Nichols Canyon and Arctic Fire are good horses but only ran ordinary races the other day. The one I like is Identity Thief."

- PA