Welcome to the new revamped all-singing, all-dancing* Irish Times Sports Briefing, now authored by Mary Hannigan. Allow Mary to cherry-pick the very best of our sports coverage and serve it up to you on a silver platter, along with the best TV sport of the day, and a news story worth keeping an eye on. In short, it’s the perfect way to stay up with what’s important and interesting in the sports world, without actually having to try too hard.
*Disclaimer: may not actually feature singing and dancing
When Brian O’Driscoll confessed a while back to bringing the wrong dog home from the vets, he feared he would never be allowed forget this frankly unforgivable transgression. He updates Gerry Thornley on how life has been since then, including brushes with pass-remarkable bus drivers. He talks rugby too, it should be added, about how impressed he is by this Irish team and how they shouldn’t be shy about having World Cup-winning ambitions.
Rhasidat Adeleke isn’t short of ambitions herself, and little wonder after the level of performance the 20-year-old Dubliner has produced over the last few seasons. Ian O’Riordan catches up with the University of Texas student just a few days after she ran the fastest women’s 400m ever witnessed in the history of American indoor athletics. Mind you, that mark was broken by another runner on the same day. “That’s how fast and competitive things truly are on the American collegiate scene,” says Ian.
Dave Hannigan brings us a less savoury tale from US college sports where the University of Alabama continue to pick rising star Brandon Miller for their basketball team despite his involvement just a few weeks ago in the shooting death of a 23-year-old woman. When Miller was introduced to the crowd before last weekend’s game against Arkansas, a team-mate jokingly pretended to frisk him for weapons as he arrived on court. The mind boggles. Dave takes us through the story.
And Joanne O’Riordan writes about Polish player Marcin Oleksy’s stunning bicycle kick winning Fifa’s Puskás Award for the goal of the year. What was unique about this achievement was that it took place in amputee football, Oleksy having lost a leg 12 years ago in a work-related accident.
Ciarán Murphy, meanwhile, will struggle to find a welcome on Hill 16 next time he’s in Croke Park after suggesting that Dublin’s “winning aura has dissipated into thin air”. While he concedes that they still have players capable of destroying the opposition, he says Dublin are now “just another team”. Dessie Farrell is Sellotaping Ciaran’s column on to the dressingroom wall as we speak.
Telly choice: The European Indoor Athletics Championships get under way today in Turkey, with Donegal man Mark English the first of the Irish in action (800m heats, 4:07), followed by John Fitzsimons in the same event (4:14), Andrew Coscoran and Luke McCann (1,500m heats, 6:15 and 6:25). BBC2 has live coverage of the opening day of competition (3.30pm-7.0pm).
Keep an eye on: Leona Maguire. She’s in action this week at the HSBC World Championship in Singapore where nine of the top 10 in the world rankings are in the field. After top 10 finishes in both her LPGA tournaments so far this year, Maguire is at a lofty 11 in that world list. She’s started solidly in Singapore too, her two under par 70 leaving her just outside the top 10. We’d have recommended this as our telly choice … but Sky’s live coverage starts at a sleep-busting 4.30am.
Be sure to check your inbox every morning as Mary Hannigan brings you your daily sports fix.