Sports Digest: New Irish rugby players prepare for the RBS Six Nations
RACING: Hurricane Fly made it two Irish Champion Hurdle wins in a row with a brilliant win at Leopardstown on Sunday . . .
RUGBY: Ireland’s A team went down 23-17 to England in Exeter last Saturday night.
Celtic Stars Wanted
Celtic strikers Anthony Stokes and Gary Hooper are wanted on the Russian front, but boss Neil Lennon is in no mood to sell.
Top scorer Hooper has been linked with a move to Zenit St. Petersburg or CSKA Moscow while Lokomotiv Moscow wants Irish international Stokes.
Lennon could afford to sell one of his strikers after signing Polish striker Pawel Brozek on loan from Turkish side Trabzonspor on Monday.
But the Russian clubs are in no rush as their transfer window doesn’t close until the end of February.
Stokes made the headlines again on Sunday with two goals as Celtic beat Falkirk 3-1 in the Scottish League Cup semifinal to leave the Bhoys within touching distance of the first silverware of the season.
They will now meet Kilmarnock in the final on March 18, but Stokes is refusing to talk of a treble even as Celtic enjoy a Premier Division lead over Rangers.
“I’m not going to talk about the treble. The gaffer has said enough about that. We are going to put the final on the back-burner now and just concentrate on the games that we have coming up,” said Stokes on a day that saw Scott Brown also on the scoresheet.
“I am just delighted with the result and happy with the goals as well. It was a good team performance. We didn’t take our chances in the first half but we made up for it in the second half.”
Lennon, meanwhile, has been linked with Irish winger Johnny Hayes, available on a free transfer when his contract at Caledonian Thistle expires at the end of the season.
Celtic youngster James Keatings has joined St. Johnstone on loan until the end of the season.
IRELAND will warm-up for Euro 2012 with a home fixture against Bosnia and Herzegovina on May 26, and an away match in Hungary on June 4.
The FAI have also confirmed that the team will be based at a training camp in Italy for a week before the tournament.
FAI chief executive John Delaney is also to ask UEFA for more tickets for Irish fans ahead of the finals.
“I am hopeful that we might get some extra tickets as we get nearer to the Euros. We have made representations. We have got 6,000 tickets per game, they’ll all go,” said Delaney.
“We are going to try to secure some extra tickets for the supporters because it is in our interest and everybody’s interest to get as many Irish people into those three games as possible to encourage the team and get behind the team.”
The proposed friendly with England is now likely to happen in November.
Delaney has also announced reduced ticket prices for the February friendly against the Czech Republic in Dublin.
Not for Sale
WOLVES manager Mick McCarthy has said he would be crackers to sell striker Kevin Doyle or winger Stephen Hunt.
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