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Could it be July before a Republic of Ireland manager is picked?



Gavin Cummiskey breaks it to us gently: it could well be July before we have a new Republic of Ireland manager, this week’s deadline for the big announcement having been pushed on. Which July? Well, hopefully this year’s, but at this rate, you just wouldn’t know. The FAI’s board will meet today, with Director of Football Marc Canham, now in full charge of the recruitment process after the departure of chief executive Jonathan Hill on Monday, due to update them “on a situation that has become increasingly embarrassing for the association”. John O’Shea would still very much like the job on a permanent basis after his brief interim stint, but, he told Gavin, he’s as much in the dark as anyone. By the time they make a decision, you’d fear O’Shea will be drawing his pension.

Katie Taylor’s pension fund will be topped up nicely come July when her rematch with Amanda Serrano will be staged at the Dallas Cowboys’ 80,000 seater stadium. It will, Johnny Watterson tells us, be “the co-main event” on the Texas card with Mike Tyson, now 58, facing YouTuber Jake Paul in the other headline act, a fight few are taking too seriously.

In rugby, Gerry Thornley looks at the likely impact of Leinster having 10 players on national contracts next season, compared to just one each for Munster, Ulster and Connacht. “This is a classic case of the rich getting richer,” he writes, the advantages Leinster already enjoy “compounded”, as the other provinces see it, “by the IRFU’s contractual system”.

Gordon D’Arcy, meanwhile, looks at all four provinces’ URC prospects this weekend, while Johnny hears former Springbok captain Victor Matfield sing the praises of Leinster’s Joe McCarthy. Irish women’s coach Scott Bemand had no little praise for his players either after their Six Nations win over Wales last weekend, but next up is the formidable challenge of England at Twickenham. And also in rugby, John O’Sullivan brings news of the launch of a new Brain Health Service to support retired players, Ireland the first country in the world to introduce the initiative.

In Gaelic games, Seán Moran is puzzled by a “curious” piece of kite flying by GAA president Jarlath Burns when he raised the prospect of a return to All-Ireland finals in September. Due to the April lull in the championship, Darragh Ó Sé is less surprised by the apathy surrounding Kerry’s meeting with Cork on Saturday. It used to be “one of the highlights of the summer”, he writes, “now it’s a thing to get out of the way”.

There’s no apathy, though, on the part of Cork hurling manager Pat Ryan ahead of his side’s Munster opener against Waterford. A top three finish is required to progress to the All-Ireland series. Would he take third place? “I’d bite your hand off for it,” he tells Gordon Manning.

TV Watch: If the second legs of tonight’s Champions League quarter-finals are even close to being as entertaining as the first games, then we could be in for a treat. Manchester City are at home to Real Madrid, having drawn the first leg 3-3 (Virgin Media Two and TNT Sports 1, 8.0), while Bayern Munich host Arsenal after drawing 2-2 in London (TNT Sports 2, 8.0).

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