Sports Digest: Surging Ireland rugby team ready for Italy


Sports Digest: Surging Ireland soccer team ready for Italy

All-Ireland hero Ger Brennan en route to New York City


Sports Shorts

RUGBY: Full-back Isa Nacewa kicked five penalties as Leinster won 15-10 away to the Scarlets in the Celtic League last weekend. Connacht were 17-13 winners at the home to the dragons, and Munster won 18-13 in Cardiff but Ulster were beaten 32-14 away to the Ospreys . . .

GOLF: Over 80,000 fans flocked to Killeen Castle in County Meath over the weekend as Europe’s top female golfers shocked America in the Solheim Cup, winning for the first time in four attempts on a dramatic Sunday finale in Dunsany . . .

ATHLETICS: Irish walkers Robert Heffernan and Brendan Boyce achieved the Olympic qualification standard in the 50km walk in Nuamburg, Germany, on Sunday . . .

RUGBY: The IRFU have announced a reduction in ticket prices for next season’s Six Nations matches.

Dooher quits

All-Ireland winning captain Brian Dooher has brought the curtain down on his Tyrone career at the age of 36 after a struggle with injury in recent years.
Dooher won three All-Irelands in all with the Red Hand side, two as captain in 2005 and 2008.

Mickey Harte, the man who appointed Dooher captain of Tyrone, paid tribute to the player.
“He was a one-off player that comes along every so often,” Harte said.

“He was unequalled, unrivalled. He was a great leader. He had so many skills. He was fantastic at communicating with players.

“Brian was great liaising with the county board. He was held in such high esteem that he commanded respect from everybody.

“He was a man who grew in stature as he matured. When he was being told that he could no longer perform at the required level, he would bounce back with an incredible performance.”

Teammate Sean Cavanagh said, “Every year he seemed to get better and fitter. Even though his body might be trying to give in, somehow he was able to push on through it. His commitment is unrivalled and he leaves a legacy that hopefully will continue to inspire other Tyrone players.”
Murphy retires

Waterford star Eoin Murphy, who suffered a fractured skull in a club game last April, is retiring from inter-county hurling after an 11 year career.

“I’m 100% happy to hang up my boots at inter-county level,” Murphy told the Irish Examiner.  “I’m looking forward to spending a few years with the club.

“It was in the back of my mind to give it one more year with Waterford and I didn’t go back until February, but I felt it could be a good year for us. Even after the injury I wanted to stay involved.

“I knew I probably wouldn’t be playing but I got back training with the county at least.”
Fitz for Clare

All-Ireland winning goalkeeper Davy Fitzgerald will be confirmed as the new manager of the Clare senior hurling team later this week. Just a month after he quit the Waterford job, Fitzy is back in charge of his native county after he was the only nominee put forward to Tuesday night’s County Board meeting.

Incredibly, the 40-year-old Fitzgerald could play for his club Sixmilebridge in their forthcoming county semifinal against Cratloe as regular keeper Derek Fahy is out injured.
GAA Shorts

VETERAN coach Mickey Whelan has quit, but manager Pat Gilroy looks certain to stay on for at least another year with the Dublin team that won the All-Ireland football final.
Star Dublin forward Bernard Brogan, meanwhile, has announced that he plans to spend some time in Australia before the start of the 2012 National Football Leagues . . .

SHANNONSIDE hurling legend Ciaran Carey is the new favorite to replace Donal O’Grady as manager of the Limerick senior hurlers, with former Cork boss John Allen also in for the job. Carey worked as a selector under O’Grady and has previously managed the Limerick under-21 team . . .

CORK made it six wins in seven seasons as they captured the All-Ireland Ladies SFC crown with a 2-7 to 0-11 win over Monaghan at Croke Park on Sunday. Cavan came from three points down to draw with Westmeath, 0-11 to 2-5, in the intermediate final . . .

NEW Cork hurling boss Jimmy Barry-Murphy has hinted that he will consider veterans Donal Og Cusack, John Gardiner, the O’Connor twins, Niall McCarthy and Tom Kenny for his 2012 championship squad . . .

MAYO-born Brisbane Lions Aussie Rules star Pearce Hanley wants to play for the Irish team in the forthcoming Compromise Rules series in Australia . . .

DUBLIN’S All-Ireland winning captain Bryan Cullen is to take up a new job as a strength and conditioning coach with the Leinster rugby academy . . .