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Tuesday April 24, 2018

Mark Allen safely sidesteps World Championship banana skin

courtesy of RTE

Mark Allen eased into the second round at the Crucible

 

Masters champion Mark Allen eased into round two of the World Championship with a 10-5 win over Liam Highfield.

The Northern Ireland player, who broke his Triple Crown duck in January and also has three ranking titles to his name, resumed with a 6-3 overnight lead.

Highfield went within one point of a century on his Crucible debut as he took the first frame of the morning but Allen won the next two to move within a frame of victory.

A gutsy clearance to the pink saw Highfield delay the inevitable but Allen won the 15th in two visits to wrap up the win.

Arsenal confirm Wenger will leave in the summer

courtesy of RTE

 

Arsene Wenger

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will leave the club this summer, ending a 22-year association with the club.

The 68-year-old’s position has come under intense scrutiny over the past 18 months due to repeated failings in the Premier League and Champions League.

The Frenchman has lifted the FA Cup in three of the last four seasons but that has not been enough to appease some supporters and Wenger, whose side are set to compete against Atletico Madrid in the Europa League semi-finals next week, confirmed his decision to step down on Friday morning.

In a statement released by the club, Wenger confirmed his decision, saying that he feels the time is now right for him to hand over the reins to someone else.

“After careful consideration and following discussions with the club, I feel it is the right time for me to step down at the end of the season.

“I am grateful for having had the privilege to serve the club for so many memorable years. “I managed the club with full commitment and integrity.

“I want to thank the staff, the players, the Directors and the fans who make this club so special.

“I urge our fans to stand behind the team to finish on a high.

“To all the Arsenal lovers take care of the values of the club.

“My love and support for ever.”

Patrick Vieira will be the immediate favourite to succeed Wenger and the Arsenal boss appears to have already given his former captain his blessing to manage the club.

Reports yesterday claimed the 41-year-old New York City boss has been lined up to replace Wenger.

 

Vieira enjoyed a glittering nine-year stint at Arsenal during the peak of his career, lifting three Premier League titles and four FA Cups, as well as captaining Wenger’s side throughout their unbeaten ‘Invincibles’ season of 2003/04.

“He’s a guy who has the potential one day, yes,” Wenger said of Vieira’s credentials.

“He works in the moment in New York and he works for Man City. I’ve followed his managerial career. I think he does very well. But overall, after that, this Premier League is special, you know.

“You have to come in. There are plenty of former players who played here who have potential and the intelligence and the knowledge to do it. So there’s plenty of choice, don’t worry about that.”

Arsenal majority owner Stan Kroenke paid tribute to Wenger and all his achievements at the club, claiming that Wenger helped to change the vision of how football is played in the Premier League.

“This is one of the most difficult days we have ever had in all our years in sport,” Kroenke said.

“One of the main reasons we got involved with Arsenal was because of what Arsene has brought to the club on and off the pitch.

“His longevity and consistency over such a sustained period at the highest level of the game will never be matched.

“Arsene has unparalleled class and we will always be grateful to him.

“Everyone who loves Arsenal and everyone who loves football owes him a debt of gratitude.

“Three Premier League titles, including an entire season unbeaten, seven FA Cup triumphs and 20 successive years in the Champions League is an exceptional record.

“He has also transformed the identity of our club and of English football with his vision for how the game can be played.”

 

Former Arsenal defender Nigel Winterburn believes the decision is the right one.

“I think it’s run its natural course,” he told Sky Sports News. “Arsene Wenger has been absolutely amazing for Arsenal Football Club.

“It probably feels to me like it is the right time. When Arsene Wenger does step down, I think he will be remembered very, very fondly. We talk about the modern era, George Graham started it and Arsene Wenger’s taken it to the next level.

“When he leaves the football club, I think people will look back and really appreciate what Arsene Wenger has done.”

Manchester City dominate PFA Team of the Year

 

Kyle Walker and Kevin de Bruyne made the XI

courtesy of RTE

 

Champions Manchester City made up almost half of the Professional Footballers’ Association’s Premier League team of the year.

Right-back Kyle Walker, centre-back Nicolas Otamendi, midfielders David Silva and Kevin De Bruyne and striker Sergio Aguero were named in the XI.

Tottenham were the only other team to have more than one representative, boasting three players in defender Jan Vertonghen, midfielder Christian Eriksen and striker Harry Kane.

Manchester United’s only inclusion was goalkeeper David de Gea, while left-back Marcos Alonso was the sole player from dethroned champions Chelsea.

Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah, with 30 league goals this season, was also included.
No Irish players made the PFA Championship Team of the Year, with Wolves and Fulham dominating that selection.

Leaders Wolves, who have already secured promotion to the Premier League, and third-placed Fulham both boast three players each.

Wolves goalkeeper John Ruddy, centre-back Willy Bolly and midfielder Ruben Neves are among the XI, alongside Fulham’s 17-year-old left-back Ryan Sessegnon, right-back Ryan Fredericks and midfielder Tom Cairney.

The rest of the team is made up of Cardiff defender Sol Bamba, Norwich midfielder James Maddison and forwards, Bobby Reid, Leon Clarke and Matej Vydra of Bristol City, Sheffield United and Derby respectively

Lethal Lilies trounce Wexford to seal U16 Leinster final spot against Dublin

courtesy of Kildare Now

 

Wexford 1-0

Kildare 3-12

Leinster LGFA U16 Championship round one

Kildare ventured to the sunny south east on Sunday afternoon to play Wexford in this deferred round one Leinster under 16 Championship game. Unfortunately for both teams and sets of supporters that saying didn’t live up to expectation as the rain and wind made it a misserable afternoon for a game.

Kildare started strong by putting Wexford on the back foot from the off but were wasteful with the chances created. Wexford’s keeper Kate O’Reilly was called upon on numerous occasions to prevent her side conceding what looked like certain goals.

The visitors eventually broke the deadlock with two points through Katie O’Loughlin and Ruth Birchill, The elusive goal that the visitors were hungry for soon followed as Hayley McCormack raced in from the right, shooting across goals to see her shot rattle the net.

Wexford broke up field from their kickout and just inside the 45 metre line won a free. Orlagh Kehoe lobbed the ball goalwards, deceiving everyone including Kildare ‘keeper Eleanor Trayonr for the ball to dip under the crossbar and hit the net.

An accidental collision with a Wexford player left Kelly Riordan shook and with a bloody mouth bringing her participation in the game to an end as she was replaced by Deirdre Doyle.

Kildare continued pressing and more points followed through O’Loughlin and Orlaith Sullivan with a free. Hayley McCormack finished the half’s scoring netting her second goal of the half and tagging on a point to see her side lead at the break by 2-5 to 1-0.

The second half was a one-sided affair as Kildare upped the tempo, tagging on four points in succession pushing their lead out to nine points. Ciara Price added Kildare’s third goal and with that the game was now out of Wexford’s reach.

 

Both sides emptied their subs bench ensuring all players got game time. Wexford, to their credit, didn’t allow the heads drop and continued to battle hard with great encouragement from their management team. Kildare finished strong adding two more points to their tally to see them run on comfortable winners with a winning margin of 18 points.

Sunday’s win for Kildare and Dublin’s win over Meath will see them contest the Leinster A final on May 20. Dublin defeated Kildare in Hawkfield by seven points in their opening championship game and Kildare know they will need to improve if they are to prevent Dublin from retaining their crown.

Wexford

Kate o Reilly, Katie Kehoe,Shauna Nolan,Shauna Hackett, Loren Doyle, Lorna Fortune, Nicole Harding Kenny,Aine Redmond,Susan Boyle, Aoife Brides, Josephine Gahan, Aoife Cullen, Rachel Power, Orlagh Kehoe(1-0), Michelle Kinsella,

Subs used: Liadh Dwyer for Shauna Nolan, Ciara Murphy for Aine Redmond, Niamh McHugh for Josephine Gahan, Ava Pierce for Aoife Bridges, Sarah Hobbert for Rachel Power, Shauna White for Orlahh Kehoe, Kelly Anne Dempsey for Loren Doyle.

Kildare

Eleanor Traynor, Lisa Shaw, Ciara Fennelly,Mia Supple,Ciara Price (1-1) Laoise Lenehan, Kelly Riordan, Sarah Rose Merrick, Katie O Loughlin (0-2,1f), Sally Kielty, Elaine Keogh, Ruth Birchill(0-1), Orlaith Sullivan (0-5,4f), Jodie Flanagan, Haley McCormack (2-1)

Subs Used: Olivia Zawadka, Emma Carroll, Sally Murphy, Marie Kelly, Ellie Fitzpatrick, Caoimhe Whiteley, Ciara Dunne, Niamh Krahn, Kim Morrissey, Sinead McKeon, Aoife Rattigan,(0-2,1f), Deirdre Doyle

Leahy’s 99th-minute goal gives Bohs derby victory

Darragh Leahy in the aftermath of the goal

courtesy of RTE

 

A dramatic late, late winner from Darragh Leahy saw Bohemians come from behind to deservedly win a cracking Dublin derby at Tallaght Stadium, beating arch-rivals Shamrock Rovers for the second time this season.

With 99 minutes up on referee Rob Harvey’s watch, fellow teenager Danny Grant’s low cross found its way to Leahy at the far post where the left-back, who turns 20 on Sunday, shot to the net.

The result ended Rovers unbeaten eight-match run in Dublin 24 as Bohemians registered only their second win of the league season since beating Hoops on the opening night.

Rovers manager Stephen Bradley kept faith with goalkeeper Kevin Horgan despite criticism of him following last week’s 2-1 defeat in Dundalk.

And Bradley’s faith was repaid just four minutes in as a more youthful Bohemians might have snatched the lead.

Winger Grant ran Ally Gilchrist down the right to get in behind with the well-positioned Horgan’s vital touch with his right foot directing the shot off target.

Rovers responded with Sean Kavanagh’s forceful drive straight at Shane Supple before Ian Morris executed a sublime tackle to take the ball off the toe of Dan Carr from Graham Burke’s cross.

But it was Horgan who had to excel again at the other end on 13 minutes, going full stretch to tip over Keith Ward’s shot from just outside the area for a truly brilliant save.

Further desperate defending was required by a defensively suspect Rovers on 26 minutes.

Dan Byrne’s diagonal pass put Eoghan Stokes away on the left. The Gypsies’ striker fed the ball into JJ Lunney whose low shot was parried by Horgan.

Ward then arrived to see his follow up deflected over the crossbar for a corner.

Remarkably, despite Bohemians’ three clearcut chances, it was Rovers who took the lead two minutes later with a terrific goal.

Burke worked a one-two from a throw-in on the right to cross for Carr to find the net with a sublime flicked finish off his right foot to score for the third match running, his fourth goal of the season.

Bohs were incensed within two minutes of the second half when a big shout for a penalty, after Luke Byrne certainly appeared to trip Grant, wasn’t entertained by Harvey.

Keith Long’s Gypsies remained the better side, though, with Stokes just unable to get a touch to a Ward header from Dylan Dylan Watts’ cross.

And just when Rovers began to string some passes together and look to come more into the game, Bohemians were deservedly level on 70 minutes.

A tremendously flighted cross from the right by Watts was met first time by Byrne who scored with a side-foot volley into the corner of the net.

Following a slight delay for a crowd disturbance in the main stand after the goal, Bohs twice came close to taking the lead.

Stokes first had a shot into the arms of Horgan with substitute Dinny Corcoran doing likewise minutes later from Leahy’s low cross.

A stunning save then denied Rovers regaining the lead on 89 minutes.

 

Bohs failed to clear a Kavanagh free kick into their area with Shane Supple somehow keeping out substitute Gary Shaw’s header with a brilliant one-handed save before the late drama unfolded at the other end.

Shamrock Rovers: Kevin Horgan; Ethan Boyle, Lee Grace, Ally Gilchrist, Luke Byrne; Greg Bolger; Sean Kavanagh, Ronan Finn, Graham Burke, Brandon Miele (Joel Coustrain 54); Dan Carr (Gary Shaw 66).

Bohemians: Shane Supple; Keith Buckley, Rob Cornwall, Ian Morris, Darragh Leahy; Danny Grant, Dylan Watts, Dan Byrne (Philly Gannon 82), Keith Ward; JJ Lunney (Dinny Corcoran 61); Eoghan Stokes (Karl Moore 89).

Referee: Rob Harvey (Dublin).

Attendance: 4,541

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