Ruane says they want someone who plays a good brand of rugby. First and foremost though the province say their new the coach needs to be quality.Ruane was speaking following the announcement of Pat Lams departure at the end of the season.Ronan O’Gara, Bernard Jackman and Nigel Carolan are among those being linked to the post.
There’s more good news for Connacht today as Jack Carty, Dennis Buckley and Quinn Roux have all agreed new deals with the Pro 12 champions.All 3 of those players started in last Saturdays dramatic Champions cup win over Wasps at the Sportsground.They join Tom McCartney, Bundee Aki, Ultan Dillane, Finlay Bealham Niyi Adeolokun, Sean O’Brien, James Connolly, Peter Robb and Caolin Blade in signing contract extensions with the side.
Casey Hennessy the star of the Lidl All Ireland Post Primary School Senior C-final – scoring a hat-trick of goals in Presentations Thurles’s win over Holy Faith in O’Moore Park.Their game finiahed Pres Thurles 4-10 Holy Faith 2-10.Not such good news for Loreto Clonmel. They lost out 1-8 to 3-12 against St. Joseph’s Rochfort in the Senior B football Final.
Photo: © FAI.ie Striker David Mc Goldrick was the only Irish player to sit out the Republic of Ireland session today ahead of their qualifier this weekend.The 29 year old Ipswich forward is being rested as a precautionary measure but is expected to be available for the weekend.Martin O’Neill is preparing his side to face Austria in a World cup qualifier this Sunday at the Aviva.
Photo: © pixabay Roger Federer is one win away from his 8th Wimbledon title and 18th Grand Slam.He takes on Marin Cilic in the men’s singles final this afternoon, and aims to become the oldest winner of the event since 1930.Cilic is playing his first Wimbledon decider, though he did win the US Open in 2014. Federer says he’s going to try make the most of the opportunity to claim yet another Grand Slam trophy.Play gets underway at 2pm.
The Coolmore Ivawood Stakes is the feature on the card at 6.55.Aidan O’Brien saddles recent Curragh scorer Ballet Shoes, ridden by his son Donnacha as well as smart Leopardstown winner Easter Lily with Seamie Heffernan aboard.The first at Limerick Junction is off at 4.45.
According to the International Tennis Federation (ITF), a total number of 109 players will compete for honours in the singles and doubles events of both the men and women’s categories.Interestingly, this year’s competition will see the return to the city of Lagos some former champions of the Governor’s Cup.Top on the list of these stars is Enrique Lopez-Perez, who won the two legs of the tournament in 2012. Ranked number 174 in the world, the Spanish star is the top seed in the Men’s Singles this year.Also in the train to the 16th Governor’s Cup is Boy Westerhof of The Netherlands, who won the competition in 2007 and was men’s doubles winner in 2010 edition.He is ranked number 313. Egyptian Karim-Mohamed Mohamed, Duncan Mugabe of Uganda and Mark Fynn of Zimbabwe are some of the old faces to play in the pro circuit event in Lagos.For the first time in the history of the Governor’s Cup, a Nigerian player, Christian Paul with the ATP rank 1290 is listed in the Main Draws of the first leg of the tournament which serves off on Monday, October 10.Other Nigerian players who will play, but will fight their ways to the main draws in the qualifying matches (except the wildcards from the ITF), include Sylvester Emmanuel, Moses Michael, Umar Balami, Albert Bisong, Joseph Imeh Ubon, Mohammed Mohammed, Edward Christopher Anefu, Adimabua Joseph Iyorovbe, Francis Aleji, Emmanuel Ikakah and Ilechukwu Iloputa.In the women’s event, 2013 and 2015 champion, Tadeja Majeric of Slovakia (239) will stage a comeback to Lagos. She will be joined by regular faces such as Conny Perrin of Switzerland, semi finalist in last year’s event. Perrin, who is ranked 233 is the top seed in the women’s singles. Others are American Alexandra Riley, Indian Prathana G. Thombare, a quarter finalist last year, Ester Masuri and Keren Shlomo, both from Israel as well as Valeria Bhunu of Zimbabwe.Melissa Ishuan Ifidzen is the highest ranked Nigerian lady with 1029 in the world, while other local ladies listed by the ITF include Osariemen Airhunmwunde, US – based Omolola Oredugba, Patience Onebamhion, Loveth Donatus Ronke Akingbade, Aminat Quadri, Sarah Adegoke, Aanu Ayegbusi and Christie Nwankwo.Tournament Director, Prince Wale Oladunjoye in a telephone interview yesterday said the Local Organising Committee (LOC), Nigeria Tennis Federation, NTF, and the management of the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club are set to host the world in the 16th edition of the Governor’s Cup, adding that the LOC is grateful to the Governor of Lagos State, Mr Akinwunmi Ambode for graciously supported the hosting of the second Governor’s Cup since he assumed office.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Femi SolajaWith less than a month to the 16th edition of the Governor’s Cup Lagos Tennis Championship, no fewer than 39 countries of the world including host, Nigeria will participate in the annual event.For two weeks, players form notable tennis playing countries will converge on the Lagos Lawn Tennis Club, Onikan to fight for $100,000 dollars prize money and ATP points in a two-legged tournament from October 8 to 22. read more
The biggest of such battles will be their maiden campaign in the CAF Champions League next year. Prize money for winning the continental competition currently stands at $2.5m or N898.7m at todayâ€™s exchange rate. That is good cash for a club like Plateau, in addition to the invaluable promotional value playing in Africa would give the beautiful state. But those rewards have to be labored for. Rather than sell the clubâ€™s best players there would be a need to add a few top players to strengthen the squad. If the club can get to the group stage of the Champions League, that would mean a prize money of at least $550,000 (N197.7m). That kind of money should cover whatever additional costs go into strengthening the team. It would also make the club even more competitive in the new NPFL season.Â Good job NTA and SupersportCourtesy of national broadcaster NTA and longtime league broadcaster Supersport, the country got to see the season finale live as Plateau and MFM dueled openly for the crown. NTAâ€™s involvement in the live broadcast of the league after over a decade is a development that must be encouraged as this means an explosion in the number of eyeballs watching the league. This would further pressure owners, officials and fans into doing the right things, and this can only be great for the league. If this is continued next season, and I believe it should, it would also make the league more attractive to fans and sponsors.Those pitches, dang!The downside to beaming the finale live was the quality of the pitches on display. Neither the Jos pitch nor the El-Kanemi pitch looked any good for the grand finish to the season, and thatâ€™s putting it mildly. In a manner of speaking, pitches are like the clothes people wear to an occasion; no matter how good-looking and brilliant they are, they must be properly dressed. You donâ€™t have to dress expensively, just decently. Those pitches looked like Baba Sala straight off the set and into a cocktail party at the Transcorp Hilton. This is not so much a maligning of those behind these pitches, but a call to action. Ours is an insanely competitive and increasingly shrinking globe and we need to raise our game; invest in dress it up a wee bit.Continental football comes to Lagos!Just two seasons ago, MFM joined the premier division for the first time, alongside city rivals Ikorodu United, and ensured that top-flight football returned to Lagos for the first time in a decade. The church-backed side battled relegation in their maiden season, but bounced back this year to go within four points of the title. Their reward is Champions League football, and our reward is that the continentâ€™s finest are coming to Lagos. It cannot be a day too soon.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Plateau United made history last Saturday when they became champions of Nigeria for the very first time. A deserved 2-0 home win over defending champions Rangers at the Rwang Pam Stadium in Jos ensured they converted 34 weeks at the summit of the Nigerian Professional Football League table into their most important piece of silverware ever. Winning the NPFL title is always a close race, and for back-to-back seasons now the champions were decided on the final day. Lagos-based MFM FC were just a point behind going into the last round, meaning that Plateau needed to win to be certain of the crown. Having been virtually invincible at home all season; winning 16 times and drawing twice, it was expected they would get the job done. Against arguably the biggest club in Nigerian football history however, none would have been surprised if there were some late drama. In the end a truly special opening goal by Emeka Umeh and a late finish by substitute Benjamin Turba made certain that the trophy would return to the beautiful highland state for the first time since Might Jetsâ€™ triumph 45 years ago.Congratulations to the Peace Boys and to the governor of Plateau State Simon Lalong for the support the team received throughout the season. As far as our league goes, triumphant teams have usually been those heavily backed by state government resources, and Lalong did his fair bit. The club showed their appreciation, maybe a bit too much, when Lalong led the victory celebrations. Not only was his Excellency quickly handed the trophy to hoist, he left the arena with it shortly after; largely denying most of the players the joy of posing for photographs with their long-awaited prize. It also meant the TV viewing audience missed the raw emotions in the celebration of the players which helps make moments of triumph a huge deal in international sports.The governor must however note that we are extremely poor at dealing with success in this country. Success quickly gets into our heads and we begin to misbehave until we fail. Last season Rangers practically fell to pieces after their first league triumph in 32 years. Rather unwisely, they sold their best player Chisom Egbuchulam for peanuts to a backwater league in Europe and unsurprisingly finished 13th on the table this year, even flirting with relegation at some point during the season. Imama Amapakabo, the coach that snapped the spell, was shown little respect before being sacked. Not only was he owed a backlog of wages (N58.7m by his own account), his pleas for the strengthening of the squad fell on deaf ears. 2015 champions Enyimba suffered the same fate, finishing 10th in 2016. Plateau may want to learn from the duo or they could just be battling relegation next year. So Plateau, keep your best players and coaching crew, and give them significant raises for a job well done. Not only do they deserve it, they need the motivation for bigger battles to come. read more
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUEBarcelona’s Lionel Messi scored an equaliser to deny Chelsea a famous victory in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie at Stamford Bridge.Willian, who had twice hit the post in the first half, put the Blues ahead with another low strike from outside the penalty area. However, Antonio Conte’s side were only ahead for 13 minutes before Andreas Christensen played a loose pass and Andres Iniesta linked up with Messi, who slotted it past Thibaut Courtois.The second leg takes place at the Nou Camp on Wednesday, 14 March and La Liga leaders Barcelona, with the benefit of an away goal, will be favourites to advance.The result at Stamford Bridge does mean that none of the English teams have lost in their last-16 first-leg ties so far.Liverpool beat Porto 5-0, Manchester City defeated Basel 4-0, Tottenham drew 2-2 at Juventus and Manchester United play away at Sevilla on Wednesday, 21 February.In last night’s other Champions League match, German champions Bayern Munich thrashed Besiktas 5-0 after the Turkish side had Domagoj Vida sent off in the 16th minute.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram read more
Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann goes up against Barcelonaon Sunday, looking to derail the title charge of a club he may yet join in the summer. Barca were forced last month to deny claims they had agreed a deal to sign the Frenchman, whose relentless run of form since the turn of the year now stands as the principal threat to them toasting a 25th La Liga triumph.In January, Barcelona and Atletico were separated by 11 points at the top of the table but win this weekend, and Diego Simeone’s side could cut that gap to two.Barca’s slip at Las PalmasÂ on Thursday, a day after Atletico claimed their eighth consecutive victory over Leganes, means the balance has tipped back towards the capital. But, just as Griezmann has been the driving force behind their resurgence, with an outstanding 12 goals in nine games, the 26-year-old will be key again if Atletico are to inflict Barca’s first defeat this season.He has never scored at the Camp Nou, a drought that extends to nine outings, but back-to-back hat-tricks, the second a quadruple, against Sevilla and Leganes this week will certainly have pricked the Catalans’ attention.“He has played at this level in other seasons,” Simeone said afterÂ WednesdayÂ´s win. “He is an extraordinary player — he already showed this in the past.”It is no coincidence Griezmann’s surge has quickened since the arrival of Diego Costa, whose willingness to engage defenders in the grittier side of the game has allowed his partner the freedom to flourish. But while Costa appears the perfect foil, Griezmann might glance across at his opponentsÂ on SundayÂ and wonder where and how he would fit in.Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez admittedly have 61 years of age between them but also 59 goals this term. Neither look ready to make way for a younger model.The 160 million-euro Philippe Coutinho, meanwhile, scored his first in the league against Girona last weekend while even the disorientated Ousmane Dembele is showing signs he is beginning to settle.Given a draw would surely be enough to satisfy Barcelona, it would be a brave move from their coach Ernesto Valverde to field the full “Fabulous Four” this weekend.They also have one less day than their opponents to recover.“The match against Atletico comes fast and will be important for both teams,” Valverde said after the 1-1 draw against Las Palmas.“But we are the leaders and we are looking forward to continuing being first.”Real MadridÂ´s own title aspirations are long gone, with their focus firmly shifted to the Champions League and next weekÂ´s second-leg clash with Paris Saint-Germain.Domestic fixtures have become something similar to European trials, with the likes of Gareth Bale, Marcos Asensio and Isco all missing the chance to push their case inÂ TuesdayÂ´s surprise defeat at Espanyol.Zinedine Zidane’s treatment of Bale in particular, left out earlier this month against Leganes and then deployed as a centre forward in midweek, hardly seems to have smoothed the way for a return to form.Cristiano Ronaldo is likely to be restored to the starting line-up at home to Getafe on today. Marcelo is back in training but Luka Modric (thigh) and Toni Kroos (knee) are further away.Real sit one point ahead of fourth-placed Valencia, who host Real BetisÂ on Sunday.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram read more