Soccer Digest: Healthy Stephen Hunt backs Mick McCarthy as Wolves manager


Lennon then dismissed as “nonsense” a comment from Celtic fan @-FlyTheFlag that the team “shouldn’t be relying on decisions, the players weren’t good enough.”

He did add a good luck message for Hearts manager Paulo Sergio. “However I would like to wish Paulo and his team the best for the final,” he said.

Hearts will now meet a Hibs side managed by Irishman Pat Fenlon in the all-Edinburgh decider.
Airtricity Results

GARY Twigg scored his first Tallaght hat-trick as Shamrock Rovers beat Dundalk 6-0 in the Airtricity League on Friday night.

Sligo stayed on top of the table despite a 1-1 draw at home to Derry in the north-west derby, while St. Pats were held to a scoreless draw at Drogheda United.

Cork also scored six goals as they hammered Monaghan United 6-0. Bohs beat UCD 2-1 at Belfield and Shels won 2-1 at home to Bray.

Soccer Shorts

IRELAND’S Euro 2012 rivals Italy have been dealt a blow with confirmation that striker Giuseppe Rossi has been ruled out after picking up another cruciate ligament injury . . .

IRISH winger Aiden McGeady has been linked with a summer move to Martin O’Neill’s Sunderland after falling out of favor at Russian club Spartak Moscow . . .

DERRY City won 3-0 at Shamrock Rovers and Crusaders were 2-0 winners at home to Sligo in the Setanta Cup semifinal first leg ties on Monday night . . .

IRELAND are up to 18th in the latest FIFA world rankings.

Ward Beaten

Irish officials are fighting a desperate battle to save Joe Ward’s Olympic dream after he was controversially beaten by hometown boxer Bahran Muzaffer in Turkey on Monday night.

Ward lost his Olympic qualifier last 16 clash with Muzaffer on points in Trabzon, but the Irish camp immediately lodged an appeal with the world body.

They claim that the final round scoring by the three judges was unfair. The initial appeal was turned down, but the IABA are now attempting a second appeals mechanism.

Ireland’s head coach Billy Walsh said, “We had Joe scoring 12 clean hits and his opponent scoring four in the third round.

“The judging gave it that Joe scored four hits and his opponent scored six in that last round. So it was a three to one turnaround to what actually happened.

“To everybody around the place, it was pretty evident that Joe had won the contest and he was one of our most promising prospects and actually do well at the Olympics.”

Fresh appeals were being pursued on Wednesday by the IABA in conjunction with the Olympic Council of Ireland amid suggestions that Ward could now turn pro and be lost to the amateur game.

Walsh said, “There are a couple of avenues. We are pursuing those at the moment. I can’t really say what they are. We are working closely with Pat Hickey and the Olympic Council and some other people around the boxing association and hopefully they can bear fruit. But as of now he is out of the London Olympic games.

“But Joe Ward is a very young man and by the time the next Olympics comes around he will only be 22 years of age. The thoughts are with amateur at the moment and it will be our job to try to maintain and hold on to him for as long as we can.”