An Ireland return, a championship suggestion and the GAA fixtures are among today’s main sports stories.
The Munster duo of Keith Earls will play for Irelandfor the first time in two and a half injury-ravaged years when Joe Schmidt’s side face Wales in the first of their World Cup warm-up games at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff on Saturday, 2.30pm. Earls will play at outside centre while Ryan gets his chance in the second row. Felix Jones and Tommy O’Donnell also start in the game. Dave Kilcoyne and Simon Zebo start the game on the bench.
GAA - Championship Column
In this week’s Championship Matters column, Steven Miller looks at the perplexing question of how to improve the All Ireland football championship. One of his ideas is to flip the year and play the leagues in the summer. Keep the provincial championships - but not as a part of the All Ireland series. Let these be your pre-season competitions in April-May and start the main competition when they are finished.
GAA - Limerick GAA fixtures this weekend
Check out all this weekend’s Limerick GAA fixtures here. The Senior Football Championship returns this weekend, with six games down for decision.
Soccer - Villa bag Clark for another five years
Irish international defender Ciaran Clark has signed a new contract with Aston Villa. Clark’s new contract sees him tied to the club until 2020. “I’m delighted to be going into the opening game on Saturday knowing my long-term future has been sorted,” Clark told Aston Villa’s website. The Villa centre half has represented the Republic of Ireland since 2011.
Hurling - “Waterford have no fear of Kilkenny” - Moran
Waterford captain Kevin Moran has insisted that his side are ready for this weekend’s All Ireland Hurling Semi Final against Kilkenny. The Deise are big underdogs heading into the game against the reigning champions and that past defeats mean nothing. “This team is different. So is the Kilkenny team though. A lot of our guys have no fear. They’re used to winning big matches: minor matches and All-Ireland colleges, things like that,” Moran said.
SPORT ON TV TODAY 7.15am & 3.15pm: Swimming - World Championships, Eurosport/BBC
10am: Cricket - Ashes 4th Test, Sky Sports Ashes
6.30pm: Golf - Bridgestone Invitational, Sky Sports 4
7pm: Soccer - Europa League Qualifying (Vitesse v Southampton), BT Sport 2
7pm: Soccer - Europa League Qualifying (Astra Giurgiu v West Ham), BT Sport Europe