Soccer Digest: Giovanni Trapattoni finalizes changes Irish team for World Cup opener


EVERTON and Aston Villa have been linked with Irish striker Kevin Doyle, while teammate Stephen Hunt has been told he can leave Wolves if the right offer comes in . . .

SEAN St. Ledger has returned to action with Leicester City and will be fit for Ireland’s World Cup opener in Kazakhstan next month . . . 

WATFORD’S Irish winger Mark Yeates could move to Crystal Palace or Leeds before the transfer window closes on Friday . . .

SLIGO Rovers moved a step closer to the League of Ireland title with a scoreless draw against high-flying St. Pat’s . . . 

FORMER Irish striker Daryl Murphy is to return to Ipswich Town on loan from Celtic in a season long deal . . .

NOTTS County’s Irish winger Alan Judge is attracting interest from Ipswich Town, Hull City and Reading . . .

COVENTRY City have appointed Lee Carsley as caretaker boss after sacking manager Andy Thorn.
Harrington Nixed

PADRAIG Harrington will support Europe from afar at the Ryder Cup in Medinah in Chicago at the end of the month – but he has no complaints after captain Jose Maria Olazabal picked Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts and England’s Ian Poulter as his two wild cards.

Graeme McDowell and world number one Rory McIlroy will now fly the flag for Irish golf when the Ryder Cup returns to American soil.

Harrington took a call from Olazabal with the bad news on Sunday night, but it didn’t come as a surprise to the three time Major winner.

He admitted, “The dogs in the street knew I wasn’t getting a pick so it wasn’t a hard phone call whatsoever.

“If you don’t qualify automatically you can’t have any regrets, you just can’t. It’s a hard team to make now unless you are starting from a very strong position.

“If you’re consistent going in and you’re in the right events, you can make it in there but this year I needed to have a big performance and I didn’t have it.

“It was a polite phone call from Jose. I wasn’t disappointed in the phone call. I was disappointed two or three weeks ago when it came out at the PGA that I wasn’t in the running.

“But it made my last two weeks stress-free compared to two years ago with Monty, when there were four of us going for three places and it was very distracting.”

With Paul McGinley favorite to lead Europe at Gleneagles in two years time, Harrington is already aiming to make that team.

He added, “It’s nearly a given that we’ll have an Irish captain the next time as well. Which one? That’s the question.

“I’d be rooting for Paul and thinking that Darren Clarke will get it after that. Will they give it to two Irish guys in a row? We’ll see, but they will definitely give it to Darren at some stage.

“My 2014 campaign starts next year and I know I am going to play plenty more Ryder Cups. I feel like I am playing great golf and everything is really good going forward.”

Harrington also revealed to the Irish Independent that his 2003 spat with Olazabal was never mentioned in the call.

“That was more a topic for Jose to be asked about in recent weeks than it was for me,” he claimed.
Dubliner McGinley and Tyrone’s Clarke will serve as vice-captains to Olazabal in Medinah.

Sports Shorts

CRICKET: Ireland have had to abandon their Twenty20 series warm-up games against South Africa due to heavy rainfall in Dublin . . .

RACING: Meath jockey Barry Geraghty celebrated the one thousandth winner of his career at Cork on Sunday . . .

RUGBY: New Zealand legend Doug Howlett has succeeded Paul O’Connell as captain of the Munster team . . .

RUGBY: Gavin Duffy will continue as Connacht captain for the new season.