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Friday April 10, 2020

Premier League clubs vote to move summer transfer window

courtesy of RTE

This summer's window will close at 5pm on Tuesday, 1 September, with 31 August being a Bank Holiday

Premier League clubs have voted to move the closing date of the summer transfer window.

At Thursday’s shareholders’ meeting the clubs voted to revert to the traditional date at the end of August/early September after two seasons where the window closed on the eve of the campaign.

That means this summer’s window will close at 5pm on Tuesday, 1 September, with 31 August being a Bank Holiday.

A Premier League statement read: “At a Shareholders’ Meeting today, Premier League clubs voted to adopt a change to the Summer Transfer Window closing date for season 2020/21.

“This will move the closing date back to the traditional point at the end of August/early September.

“The 2020 closing date will therefore be 17:00 BST on 1 September (31 August 2020 being a UK Bank Holiday).

“Clubs agreed after discussing the topic at length at previous Shareholders’ Meetings.”

With the transfer window closing before the start of the Premier League season – but remaining open for most of Europe – Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was among those to express the need for change.

“I don’t care when it closes, I only think it must close at the same time,” Klopp said in August.

“When they spoke about ‘Let’s finish it before the season starts then everyone knows their squad’ – that’s a good idea. But then the rest didn’t do it and that makes no sense.

“Can somebody explain what is the benefit for the Premier League? We don’t really have a problem but for other teams, their key players are still on the market and everything can happen.”

The PA news agency understands that the clubs also considered a “hybrid” model for the transfer window.

That would have seen a deadline of the start of the season – which is Saturday, 8 August – for domestic transfers and of September 1 for international deals, but having one deadline for both was preferred.

Clare get off the mark with victory over Kildare

courtesy of RTE

Sexton kicked four points

The expected bear pit that is Division 2 was reaffirmed in Ennis this afternoon as Clare kickstarted their campaign in determined fashion to end Kildare’s unblemished record by the bare minimum.

In front of just over 2,000 hardy souls in attendance, the hosts rolled with the punches and only hit the front for the first time in the 51st minute before a four minute brace of points from chief marksman Keelan Sexton proved enough for the Banner to relievedly prevail.

The inclement conditions were matched by a surprising indisciplined edge to proceedings that saw referee Barry Judge issue 15 cards over the 70 minutes.

Indeed, 11 of those were for the visiting side who crucially had Paul Cribbins sinbinned prior to the break before being permanently reduced to 14 players when Paddy Brophy received a second yellow in the 58th minute.

With the sides locked on level terms for the fourth time at 0-9 to 0-9, it would subsequently spur Clare on for victory as Sexton arrowed over from an acute angle in the next passage of play before adding an equally impressive clincher from the opposite wing four minutes later.

Despite their numerical disadvantage, Jack O’Connor’s Kildare did have opportunities to secure a valuable draw but amidst five minutes of additional time, a Kevin Feely free was all the Lilywhites could muster to come up agonisingly short.

It was all so different in the opening period when Kildare, backed by a sizeable wind, opened up a 0-4 to 0-1 advantage, two from Neil Flynn frees, by the 13th minute.

However, once Clare warmed to their task, they would prove obstinate opponents, with main threats Sexton, David Tubridy, Gearoid O’Brien and captain Eoin Cleary all getting in on the scoring action as the hosts kicked five of the last seven points to regain parity by the break at 0-6 to 0-6.

Even without the temporarily sidelined Cribbin, Kildare got back on the frontfoot as midfielder Feely grabbed successive points inside the opening five minutes of the new half.

However, the gutsy home side never relented and once Gearoid O’Brien reeled in the deficit, the pendulum swung increasingly in their favour as Cleary and Sexton grittily closed out Clare’s first victory over Kildare since the 2016 Division 3 decider.

Clare: Stephen Ryan; Kevin Harnett, Cillian Brennan, Gordon Kelly; Sean Collins, Pearse Lillis, Dean Ryan; Ciaran Russell, Cathal O’Connor; Dermot Coughlan, Keelan Sexton (0-04), Gearoid O’Brien (0-03); Cian O’Dea, Eoin Cleary (0-03, 0-01f), David Tubridy (0-01, 0-01f).

Subs: Emmet MvMahon for O’Connor (51), Cormac Murray for Coughlan (59), Eoghan Collins for Ryan (70+2)

Kildare: Mark Donnellan; Peter Kelly, Mick O’Grady, Eoin Doyle; Con Kavanagh, Johnny Byrne, Shea Ryan; Kevin Feely (0-04, 0-03f), Liam Power; Paul Cribbin, Niall Kelly (0-01), Paddy Brophy (0-02); Jack Robinson (0-01), Daniel Flynn, Neil Flynn (0-02, 0-02f).

Subs: Kevin Flynn for P. Kelly (22), Keith Cribbin for N. Flynn (HT), Jimmy Hyland for Robinson (45), Adam Tyrrell for Cribbin (56), John Tracey for N. Kelly (64)

Referee: Barry Judge (Sligo)

Herring not buying O’Driscoll’s ‘dog gone’ theory

courtesy of RTE

Rob Herring: 'Andy has picked a squad that can deliver'

Rob Herring doesn’t subscribe to the theory that Ireland are lacking a “dog” as described by Brian O’Driscoll earlier this week.

The Ulster hooker will win his ninth cap when Andy Farrell’s side welcome Scotland to the Aviva Stadium for their opening Guinness Six Nations game on Saturday.

The former Ireland captain told RTE Sport: “I just wonder, do we have that level, in the best possible way, that ‘thug’ within the team that you want to throw their weight around a little bit and set out a few markers.”

But South Africa-born Herring says he can’t see what O’Driscoll, who cited the likes of Paul O’Connell, Denis Leamy and Sean O’Brien as examples, is coming from.

“I would disagree with that because I don’t really know what it’s based on,” said the 29-year-old.

“I don’t know what he has seen in our club games that makes him think that. Andy has picked a squad that can deliver on that aspect and obviously we have to go out there and do it still.”

Scotland have not beaten Ireland in Dublin since 2010 and come in off the back of a disappointing World Cup campaign where they failed to reach the quarter-finals.

New captain Johnny Sexton also believes that his side will be able to bring the required aggression to notch another win over the Scots, following on from the 27-3 World Cup win.

“[Aggression is] the game, isn’t it? The fundamentals never change,” said the out-half. 

“You need to have that physicality and aggressive mindset and we need to bring that at the weekend.

“I know a lot has been made about [if] we have a ‘dog’ in the team… but in the modern game you just need guys that are willing to work hard.

“You have to have that intent. We’ll hopefully show a bit of that at the weekend.”

Follow Ireland v Scotland (kick-off 4.45pm) on Saturday via our live blog on RTE.ie/Sport and the News Now app or listen live on RTÉ Radio 1’s Saturday Sport. Highlights on Against the Head, Monday at 8pm on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player. 

Federer saves seven match points to see off Sandgren

courtesy of RTE

Roger Federer

Roger Federer battled back from the brink for the second time in this Australian Open to defeat Tennys Sandgren 6-3 2-6 2-6 7-6 (8-6) 6-3 and reach the semi-finals.

This comeback was even more dramatic than his third-round victory over John Millman, where Federer recovered from 8-4 in the deciding tie-break.

Here, he was physically below his best, taking an off-court medical timeout in the third set, but he still somehow managed to save seven match points in the fourth on his way to victory.

Federer was struggling to move to his forehand side and looking nothing like the player who has won 20 Grand Slam titles.

American Sandgren, ranked 100 and playing in the biggest match of his life, had three chances at 5-4 in the fourth set but made unforced errors on all of them.

He then led 6-3 in the tie-break and had a further chance but Federer, who has never retired from a professional match, simply refused to be beaten.

He loosened up a little and forced a set point on his own serve, wagging his finger as Sandgren sent the ball flying long.

And Federer ensured those heroic efforts were not in vain, freeing himself up to win the fifth set after three hours and 31 minutes.

The 38-year-old seemed to have had his major scare against Millman, although he was still far from his best against Marton Fucsovics in round four, fighting back from a set down.

Both those matches were played at night, and the sunshine seemed to help Federer as he eased to the first set against Sandgren, who was looking to become the lowest-ranked man to reach the semi-finals here for nearly 30 years.

But Federer’s problems began when he dropped serve in the second game of the second set, his usually-reliable forehand breaking down with alarming regularity.

He was furious to receive a warning in the third game of the third set after a line judge reported him swearing, but that was a trivial matter compared to what was going on with his body.

The Swiss revealed afterwards he was struggling with a tight groin, and it seemed highly unlikely he would be able to fight through it.

But fight he did, and he will now face great rival Novak Djokovic or Milos Raonic in the last four on Thursday.

Niall Quinn appointed deputy CEO at FAI

courtesy of RTE

Niall Quinn

Former Republic of Ireland striker Niall Quinn has been appointed deputy chief executive of the Football Association of Ireland.

Quinn, who ruled himself out of the role of chief executive, had said he would be open to a role in helping out the organisation after his associate Roy Barrett was appointed as Independent Chairman of the FAI Board.

Last year Barrett was part of Quinn’s visionary group that came together to look at future structures for the League of Ireland.

Also a member of that Visionary Group was Gary Owens, who earlier this week was named the new interim chief executive of the FAI.

A statement released by the FAI read: “In addressing the current challenges facing the FAI, the executive team want to ensure that the organisation’s core objective of the promotion and development of the game of football in Ireland is prioritised.

“Niall’s role with the team will focus on leading a future League of Ireland strategy, the overall development of the game in Ireland, including supporting grassroots and community initiatives together with our player pathway programmes.

“Niall will also focus on helping restoring and building key relationships and trust with key peer groups and the media.”

Owens added: “We are really pleased that someone of Niall’s calibre is joining the team.

“Football is such an important game in this country at every level.

“Niall not only brings great insight and experience to developing the game but is passionate about football in Ireland – his energy and commitment is a great fit for the FAI as we begin reform of the organisation and look to create a better future for football in Ireland.”

Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross also welcomed the appointment.

“Niall has a long association with Irish football and over the past year he has demonstrated very clearly his strong desire to see a vibrant body emerge for the good the Irish game,” he said.

“His passion for fair play, his independence and his integrity are widely known and admired.”

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