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Saturday July 04, 2020

McIlroy to take extra time off in bid to eradicate ‘dumb mistakes’


Rory McIlroy: "Over the last few weeks I've made too many mistakes, too many bogeys, too many loose shots."

A frustrated Rory McIlroy hopes taking a couple of weeks off will help him eliminate the “dumb mistakes” which are costing him the chance to contend.

The world number one finished joint 11th, his highest placing since the resumption of the PGA Tour, after a final-round 67 at the Travelers Championship in Connecticut.

However, that remained a disappointment to the four-time major winner, after kicking off the week with a brilliant 63.

“There’s been some really good stuff in there, but then just some really stupid mistakes,” said McIlroy, who had considered playing the Workday Charity Open at Muirfield in Ohio the week before the Memorial Tournament at the same venue starting on 16 July but is now inclined to have the extra time off.

“It’s a little too up and down, a little bit roller coaster-ish, where it didn’t really feel like that before we stopped [following the coronavirus outbreak].

“Over the last few weeks I’ve made too many mistakes, too many bogeys, too many loose shots.

“Decision-making was terrible the last few days. Just some stupid shots and trying to take too much on at times, it’s just sort of dumb mistakes in there that I don’t usually make.”

Asked when he was next likely to play McIlroy said in his post-round interview: “Probably Memorial. Maybe the one before but the way I’m feeling right now, I feel like a couple weeks off.

“Mentally it’s just getting back into that tournament routine, tournament mode, and that’s why I sort of wanted a couple weeks off more than anything else.

“It’s just the mental aspect of it, and especially when you are frustrated. I’ve been frustrated on the course the last three weeks, not being sort of in contention, and sort of sucks going off in the middle of the pack on a Sunday, knowing that you don’t really have a chance.

“A couple weeks at home maybe, just reset and start again.”

GAA clubs geared up for return to the pitch


The pitch at Daniel Graham Memorial Park in Ardclough GAA, Kildare

The acceleration of the government’s road map for easing Covid-19 restrictions means GAA clubs can reopen to adult members from tomorrow and juveniles from Saturday.

This initial first few days will be for non-contact training only before contact training is allowed to resume from Monday, 29 June.

What steps have clubs had to take to make this happen?

To start with, every club has had to appoint a Covid supervisor for each team to ensure guidelines from the HSE and Croke Park are being followed.

These supervisors are in charge of such duties as making sure the surfaces of equipment, facilities and gear are cleaned between sessions, ensuring appropriate signage and information, and recording the details of participants and their contacts.

Making everyone aware of the new procedures is a key factor so all club officers and players (or their parent/guardian) are supposed to have completed the GAA’s E-Learning module.

Before attending their training session, adult players or the parent/guardian of juvenile players must complete and submit a health questionnaire, which can be done through an online portal that went live today.

They must reconfirm their clean bill of health before each training session and it is their responsibility to inform the Covid supervisor if any of those circumstances have changed.

To the relief of many, original plans for clubs to take players’ temperatures have been dropped.

Michael Darragh Macauley in action for Ballyboden St Enda’s in their 2019 Leinster final victory over Éire Óg
“Everybody has to complete the E-learning module, take a photograph or a screengrab or a cert and email it or whatsapp it to their team’s Covid supervisor,” says Ciaran Maguire, chairman of south Dublin outfit Ballyboden, one of the largest dual-clubs in the country with around 3,500 members.

“They then need to fill in the questionnaire online, which will pop through to the Ballyboden co-ordinator. You fill it once but then every session you have to declare that nothing has changed since the last time.

“We’ll have to start on the basis that if you haven’t done your training or completed your questionnaire you can’t train.

“Obviously for kids that’s trickier, so the instruction for parents is if you’re dropping your kids you have to wait until they are in the training session.”

“It will only be for the first couple of sessions that we have those issues I hope. Those are the teething problems we’ll need to get over and we can learn a bit as we go along.”

The stands will not be full in Corofin for the foreseeable future
Galway, Connacht and All-Ireland football champions Corofin are dealing with a smaller membership (approx 500) in a rural setting but the issues remain similar.

Clubs have been encouraged to minimise the use of cones, poles and bibs, dressing-rooms will remain closed, and limited toilets will be open.

Players must sanitise their hands before and after sessions, which will be strictly controlled in terms of time. Masks and gloves will be worn only by mentors dealing with an injury.

Having been prepared for a more graduated return to action, both clubs intend to start off with only their adult senior teams on-site this week, rather than bringing juveniles back from Saturday.

“We’re going to start off with the senior team, get the procedures in place for hand sanitising and the groups,” explains Corofin chairman Michael Ryder. “Try the one team first and take it very slowly for this week.

“The players will know from the course what is expected of them and won’t be asking silly questions at training.

“Underage kids will take a lot more supervising, they’ll be excited to meet friends from the other end of the parish they haven’t seen for a few months.

Ryder adds that some issues such as protocols around individual water bottles remain to be clarified but says “as every week is going by we are learning more from Croke Park.

“The fact that it’s non-contact from tomorrow to Sunday and then contact, it would be a very disciplined coach that’s going to keep to that rigorously”

Maguire welcomes the the change in numbers allowed to train together that the quicker movement through the phases brings but wonders how well ‘non-contact’ training will be enforced now it will only apply for a total of five days.

“The pods of up to 15 makes a big difference, originally it was meant to be in groups of 10 but that makes it much easier for a team to train,” he said.

“They probably should have left it (reopening) till the 29th, just to give a few more days, but I don’t think anybody expected the Government to loosen the reins as quickly as they did.

“The fact that it’s non-contact from tomorrow to Sunday and then contact, it would be a very disciplined coach that’s going to keep to that rigorously.”

Chelsea finalise deal to sign Timo Werner

Werner's capture is seen as a message of intent from Chelsea



Chelsea have confirmed the signing of Timo Werner from RB Leipzig, subject to the forward completing a medical.

The 24-year-old will join the Stamford Bridge club in July after they met the German’s release clause, reported to be around £53 million.

Werner, who scored his 32nd goal of the season for Leipzig on Wednesday night, will stay in Germany until the end of the Bundesliga season.

Werner, who was reportedly attracting interest from Liverpool, said on Chelsea’s official website: “I am delighted to be signing for Chelsea, it is a very proud moment for me to be joining this great club.

“I of course want to thank RB Leipzig, the club and the fans, for four fantastic years. You will forever be in my heart.

“I look forward to next season with my new team-mates, my new manager and of course the Chelsea fans. Together we have a very successful future ahead of us.”

Werner scored against Tottenham in the last 16 of the Champions League before football was suspended, helping the German club into the quarter-finals for the first time.

But Leipzig have confirmed their striker will not represent them in the eight-team conclusion of the tournament in Lisbon in August.

Willie Thorne dies, aged 66



Former snooker star Willie Thorne has died at the age of 66 after a short battle with illness.

A message on Thorne’s GoFundMe page read: “It is with a very heavy and broken heart that I have to officially announce that at 1.55am this morning Willie Thorne lost his battle and passed away.”

Thorne, who announced he was battling leukaemia in March, had been placed into an induced coma in hospital in Spain over the weekend after suffering respiratory failure.

He reached two World Championship quarter-finals and won his only ranking title, the Mercantile Credit Classic, in 1985.

He later commentated on the sport for the BBC, and appeared on the fifth series of Strictly Come Dancing.

World Snooker Tour
We are deeply saddened to hear that the Great WT himself, Willie Thorne, has passed away at the age of 66. It’s a great loss to our sport.

Our thoughts are with his family at this

The message, written by Thorne’s carer Julie O’Neill, continued: “Willie went into septic shock and was not responding to any treatment so the decision was made by the hospital to turn off the machines.

“I was with him all the way to his end and reading out messages to him from people.

“He passed away very peacefully and without pain listening to his children saying they love him – that gives me some comfort in this difficult time.”World Snooker chairman Barry Hearn said: “I had the pleasure of managing the Great WT as part of the Matchroom team in the 1980s. He was a larger than life personality and he was a major part of the rebirth of snooker at that time. It’s so sad to hear he has passed away and our thoughts are with his family.”

Alan Reynolds departs Waterford FC

Alan Reynolds has left Waterford FC

Waterford FC manager Alan Reynolds has left his position at the SSE Airtricity Premier Division club.

Reynolds has been linked with two backroom positions in recent weeks, the Republic of Ireland Under-21s and Dundalk, but there is no news on his next move.

He became the Blues manager in 2017, leading them to promotion to the Premier Division and a fourth place finish in their first season back in the top flight.

A technicality meant they were unable to compete in Europe.

In a statement, Waterford said they were “very sad” to learn of Reynolds’ departure.

Players and management are currently temporarily laid off from employment at the RSC.

They said: “With the League of Ireland in a very difficult position, we completely understand his decision.

“He will be hugely missed throughout the football club by fans, supporters, staff and indeed his players.

“Alan achieved great success for the club from the start with Waterford FC’s promotion from the First to Premier Division in his first year with us. He then drove the club on to reach a European position in 2018, to then consolidate Waterford as a top-flight club in 2019.

“Waterford FC would like to thank Alan for all his hard work over the years and establishing the club as a strong contender in the League of Ireland.

“We wish him and his family all the very best and in what he decides to do in the future.”


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