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Mary Hannigan: Could Gus Poyet prove to be the FAI’s choice fo Republic of Ireland manager?



The Football Association of Ireland (FAI) might still not have a manager for its Republic of Ireland men’s team, but at least it held on to its chief executive on Wednesday, Jonathan Hill surviving a board meeting after moves to oust him from his role failed to garner enough support. As Gavin Cummiskey tells us, the fact that “buying out the remaining years of his contract could exceed €500,000″ might just have been a factor in his survival. But what of the interminable search for a new gaffer? Well, the official word is still that one will be in place by April 12th at the latest, Gavin hearing John O’Shea very firmly expressing his desire to be that man. “If I could be manager of Ireland in the morning, I would make it happen,” he said.

But now that Gus Poyet’s Greek duties have come to an end, after their failure on Tuesday to qualify for the Euros, we’re left wondering if he might prove to be the FAI’s choice. Ciarán Murphy hopes not. “In a world where either decision is risky, why not give it to the fellah for whom the job will mean the world,” he writes, preferring to see O’Shea given a chance rather than “a journeyman of questionable standing” from outside.

In rugby, just four months away from the Olympic Games Ian O’Riordan talks to Jordan Conroy, one of the Irish Sevens’ side’s most experienced players, a place on the podium in Paris his target. And Gerry Thornley talks to Rónan Kelleher about his contribution to Ireland’s Six Nations triumph, while looking ahead to Leinster’s challenges in the coming weeks.

Gerry also hears from Declan Danaher, the new defence coach for the Irish women’s team, the former London Irish backrower, who spent seven seasons as defence coach under Declan Kidney at the club, enjoying this career swerve.

In Gaelic games, Paul Keane talks to Mickey Harte ahead of leading Derry in to Sunday’s league final against Dublin, when they will aim to win their first Division One title since 2008, while Ian O’Riordan speaks with Cormac Costello about his efforts to win his place back in the Dublin side after a calf injury left him on the sidelines before Dublin’s penultimate round win over Galway. “Given how prolific the Dublin forwards were against Tyrone last Sunday, that task might prove a little harder than usual,” Ian writes.

TV Watch: Pádraig Harrington is in the field for the Houston Open which gets under way today (Sky Sports Golf, 12.30pm-11pm). After its successful visit to Dublin last week, darts’ Premier League heads for Belfast (Sky Sports Arena, 7pm-11pm). And the last of the women’s Champions League quarter-finals are on today, holders Barcelona taking a 2-1 lead in to their second leg against Brann (TNT Sports 2, 5.45pm), PSG winning their first leg by the same scoreline against Häcken (TNT Sports 1, 8.0).

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