Robbie Brady has admitted he took the agonising decision to leave Manchester United to protect his fledgling international career. The 21-year-old winger completed a permanent move to npower Championship outfit Hull last month after two successful loan spells at the KC Stadium, and is now fully engaged in the Tigers’ bid to drag themselves back into the Barclays Premier League. He will hope to win his fifth senior international cap when Ireland entertain Poland in a friendly at the Aviva Stadium. Brady said: “I have always been a Manchester United fan and I always will be. I love the club. But it was just the right time for me to get out and play. “I need to be playing every week, especially if I want to stay in the international set-up, so it was the right move. Obviously, part of me is disappointed and thinking, ‘What if?’, but you go away and play and work your way back to the top.” However, while Brady felt he had to leave United, he will always be grateful for the years he spent there learning his trade. Asked if he was determined to prove Sir Alex Ferguson wrong for letting him go, he said: “He’s got a lot to think about. He’s got so many players to accommodate and make sure he gets the best out of his players. “I’ve been taught so much at Manchester United in the last few years, I really appreciate everything they have done for me. But I would love to go back and hopefully show him something while I get back to the top.” Brady scored on his senior international debut in a friendly against Oman in September last year and has figured in each of the three games Ireland have played since. Indeed, Giovanni Trapattoni turned to him in his hour of need when, after a 6-1 World Cup qualifier drubbing by Germany in October, he handed him a start in the 4-1 defeat of the Faroe Islands in Torshavn amid a frenzy of speculation over the manager’s future. Brady said: “I had been playing well before that and to have his trust put in me, it was brilliant for me. I was over the moon when I got the nod. Although I thought I could have played a bit better at times, I was still happy with the start. I know he’s got faith in me, so hopefully I can repay that by playing well.” Press Association
Roberts admitted at the end of last month that he had no time-frame on a return and that the club’s medical staff had “exhausted everything they can to try and make it right”. Royals boss Brian McDermott had a more positive outlook on the player’s situation and had been hopeful of having him back available for the Barclays Premier League run-in. “I think Jason said himself that we have to wait and see day to day,” McDermott said last week. “He was out on the training pitch with the physios the other day and was kicking a few balls around, so he is in a much better place than he was a couple of weeks ago.” Second-bottom Reading have won just five times in the league this season heading into tomorrow’s crucial home clash with third-bottom Aston Villa. The experienced forward spent six years with Blackburn before joining the Royals in January 2012. He was a key player for the Berkshire club last term, netted six goals as the Berkshire club won the npower Championship title. Press Association The 35-year-old announced on Twitter on Friday evening that his recovery had not gone to plan and that going under the knife looked to be his only choice. “Injury Update…Rehabilitation has not been successful…seems at this point Surgery is our only option..meaning my Season is over! #gutted”, he posted. “Everything that could have been done has been done..but..the most important thing is P.L. Football for Reading FC next Season…”. Veteran Reading striker Jason Roberts expects to undergo hip surgery which will rule him out for the rest of the season.
Press Association Twigline had looked a smart recruit when winning on her Irish bow at Fairyhouse before falling at Sandown and was an even-money favourite to get back on the winning trail in this Grade Three heat. The Mick Winters-trained Missunited was last seen finishing a fair fourth in the Red Mills Hurdle at Gowran, but was second best in the market at 11-8. Missunited edged out Twigline in a pulsating finish to the Kerry Group EBF Mares Novice Hurdle at Limerick. Barry Geraghty went for home first aboard Missunited, but Ruby Walsh covered his move and Twigline took a narrow lead jumping the final obstacle. It was nip and tuck all the way up the run-in, but Missunited won the argument by half a length. Winters said: “It was a ding-dong battle between two top men and there was no quarter given. “She jumped fantastic during the week and again here. “I was more confident early in the week but the ground was terrible and she will be better on better ground. “She will be entered in a Grade One at Fairyhouse and then Punchestown as well.”
League sources have confirmed the Hawkeye system was ratified at meeting of the 20 top-flight clubs in London. A German system, GoalControl, has also been under consideration after submitting a tender. The decision means Hawkeye’s camera-based system will be in place at Premier League grounds and at Wembley Stadium from next season. Press Association The Premier League will used goal-line technology provided by British-based firm Hawkeye from next season, it has been agreed. Hawkeye, which was sold to technology giant Sony two years ago, already provides systems for tennis and cricket. The Premier League provided seed money to help Hawkeye develop a goal-line technology system back in 2007, but there was no longer a formal relationship with the company. League chiefs made their recommendation based on both cost and ease of implementation and use. Earlier this month FIFA chose GoalControl, which is also a camera-based system, for the Confederations Cup in Brazil in June and next year’s World Cup finals. Two other systems, also German, have also been licensed by FIFA but they both use magnetic sensors rather than cameras. Former Arsenal and FA vice-chairman David Dein, who has long campaigned for goal-line technology, claimed every top-flight referee in England was in favour of having a system. He said at the Soccerex conference in Manchester: “The Premier League will be the first league in Europe to introduce it.”I have been on this campaign for six or seven years and now it’s going to happen. “The referees need help, the camera will always beat the eye, and every referee in the Premier League is in favour of it.”
Figueroa suffered the injury while stretching in the box to make a good tackle that took the ball away from Spurs striker Jermain Defoe in the first half. Soon after, he had to be carried from the field on a stretcher, and Martinez suggested that the Honduras international is now likely to miss the remainder of the campaign – which includes next month’s FA Cup final against Manchester City. Martinez said: “The initial reaction is that Figueroa should be out for the season. It is a groin strain. It was (a great tackle), but the groin got stretched and the rest of the body pulled apart.” Press Association He added: “We need to see the extent of the problem, but he is on crutches at the moment. We will assess him.” Figueroa’s injury comes a week after fellow Wigan defender Antolin Alcaraz sustained a hamstring problem that has brought the Paraguayan’s own involvement in the cup final into doubt. It was a disappointing afternoon in general for Figueroa, who, when he challenged Defoe, was looking to make amends having being involved in a defensive blunder early in the game that allowed Spurs to open the scoring. A hesitant exchange of passes between Figueroa and Latics goalkeeper Joel Robles in the ninth minute led to the latter cannoning an attempted clearance against the outstretched leg of the approaching Gareth Bale, and the ball rebounded straight into the net. Wigan equalised within two minutes through a header from Emmerson Boyce, whose 90th-minute own-goal subsequently denied them victory after a Callum McManaman thunderbolt had made put the hosts 2-1 up four minutes into the second half. The result leaves 18th-placed Wigan two points adrift of 17th-placed Aston Villa, with both sides having four games left to play – including a meeting between them at the DW Stadium on the final day of the season. Wigan boss Roberto Martinez expects defender Maynor Figueroa to be out for the rest of the season with a groin problem he sustained in the 2-2 Barclays Premier League draw with Tottenham at the DW Stadium.
Pochettino is also targeting big-money moves for Internacional’s Leandro Damiao and Valencia midfielder Ever Banega. He added: “We manage a lot of information about very good players. One of them is Damiao, also Banega and also Wanyama. “We are managing the situation as well as we can at the moment. “The main thing is that we as a club, Southampton, are managing when these negotiations happen so that is what is happening. We are managing when these players are going to be signed and how we sign them. “Our goals are very clear. I am also not trapped by the fact that I said I wanted to have our transfer window closed by July 1. We are not interested in 15 or 20 players. We are interested in maybe two or three key players. “At the same time, I also want to say our squad at the moment is really good and it is not like we are trapped in the sense that we need these players to be a better squad. “Our squad as it is really good already, but we just want to bring in two or three players that reinforce key areas in the squad to become an even better team.” Press Association Southampton manager Mauricio Pochettino has not given up on bringing Celtic’s Victor Wanyama to St Mary’s. Liverpool, Arsenal, Everton and Cardiff have all been linked with the Celtic midfielder, but it is Southampton that were given permission to speak to him after a reported £12million bid was accepted. However, Wanyama has so far failed to agree terms with Saints, leading to suggestions of issues with his representatives. But Pochettino said: “It could happen. We have certain positions that we want to reinforce. I’m confident that our goals will be met.”
The hosts looked to be on course for a stunning upset when Jamie Ward’s scrambled effort put them 2-1 in front and a man to the good after Helder Postiga’s dismissal. But makeshift left-back Chris Brunt saw red on the hour and Ronaldo took control with a pair of powerful headers and a late free-kick, before Kyle Lafferty’s dismissal completed Northern Ireland’s misery. Press Association The goal sucked some of the intensity out of the game, with Portugal slowing the pace noticeably. Fabio Coentrao was the most visibly affected, almost gifting Northern Ireland a glorious chance when Hodson robbed him on the byline and just failed to find Martin Paterson. Coentrao, who started brightly, was then left flat on his backside as Niall McGinn breezed past him on the right. Northern Ireland’s pressure paid dividends in the 36th minute, with McAuley heading his side level. It came from the likeliest source – a Shane Ferguson corner – but the execution from the West Brom defender was superb. He rose highest in a packed box and angled his header deftly towards the far post. The buoyant home fans then had more to cheer just before the break as Postiga aimed an apparent headbutt in the direction of McAuley and was shown a straight red card. Ronaldo was furious but received a caution of his own for dissent. McAuley was having the night of his life and almost made it even more remarkable shortly after the restart. Picking up the ball just inside the Portugal area he spotted Rui Patricio off his line and sent a deft lob a yard over the crossbar from at least 40 yards. It was an audacious moment even Ronaldo might have smiled at. Already shaky, the 10-man Portugal were veering close to meltdown from set-pieces and it was no surprise when Northern Ireland scored their second from another corner. Ferguson was again the provider, whipping the ball into the danger area and finding Jonny Evans. His header was on target but Ward, effectively man-marking the goalkeeper, managed to scramble home from point-blank range. There were appeals for offside, but the goal stood. The lead was less than 10 minutes old when Brunt’s dismissal made it an even playing field, a clumsy challenge on Joao Pereira earning his second yellow. Roy Carroll made a fine save to deny Miguel from 25 yards but the equaliser arrived from Moutinho’s 68th minute corner. Ronaldo shook off the attentions of substitute Lafferty to power his header past Carroll and go level with Eusebio on 41. The celebrations from the Portugal bench spoke volumes for their relief. There was even more elation from the away contingent after 77 minutes, when Coentrao’s hanging cross picked out Ronaldo at the far post. He was, unforgivably, unmarked and headed emphatically into the corner from close range. Lafferty was next for an early bath, a senseless lunge at Pereira his sin, and the stage was set for Ronaldo. He rifled home an 83rd-minute free-kick to secure the match ball and leave Bale with a timely reminder of the standards expected from the best in the world. Defenders Bruno Alves and Gareth McAuley had earlier traded first-half efforts to send the sides in 1-1 at half-time. Ronaldo, playing for the first time since Gareth Bale replaced him as the world’s most expensive player, overtook Eusebio as his country’s second-highest goalscorer on the night and now has 43 for Portugal. Injuries to Aaron Hughes, Craig Cathcart and Ryan McGivern, as well as Daniel Lafferty’s suspension, had left Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill with limited options at full-back but even so his selection was a huge gamble. MK Dons right-back Lee Hodson was handed the toughest task of his career in marking Ronaldo, while Brunt – a laconic attacking midfielder by trade – was installed on the other side of the back four. Ronaldo’s early touches were roundly booed by the crowd, though it was hard not to admire a wonderful piece of trickery that saw him nutmeg fellow captain Steven Davis. The Windsor Park faithful had come prepared, though, and quickly broke into a mischievous chorus of “There’s only one Gareth Bale”. The first attempt on goal took 16 minutes, Alves heading Joao Moutinho’s free-kick just wide. The same pairing combined to better effect five minutes later, Moutinho’s corner cleared to the edge of the area and Alves sending a soft cushioned volley through the crowd of bodies and into the bottom corner. Cristiano Ronaldo hit a second-half hat-trick to spare Portugal’s blushes against Northern Ireland as they won 4-2 on an ill-tempered night that saw three red cards at Windsor Park.
The GAA has revealed that the All-Ireland SHC final replay will have a 5pm throw-in on Saturday, September 28. Press Association The late start means the clash of Cork and Clare will make history as the first All-Ireland final to be played under floodlights. No decision has been made on who will referee the eagerly awaited re-match, but the GAA has confirmed that ticket prices are to be reduced.
Alan Pardew has admitted life as Newcastle manager is far from easy. “We haven’t got the finances of a big team and therefore, it makes it difficult and a lot of the time, people cling to bad news when there is a lot of good news. “Hopefully there will be some more good news coming out of it shortly.” Fans dismayed by Mike Ashley’s decision to appoint Kinnear in June reacted furiously as the deadline came and went without a single permanent signing having been made despite a series of targets having been identified and deals proposed. However, Pardew, while admitting he still would have liked another attacking player, has professed himself content with what he has got. He said: “It’s important sometimes to understand that we have a very good team. We invested 30-odd million in the last window, we have brought Remy in. “We have brought a lot of young players here who I think will, hopefully, blossom. That’s why they were brought here. The likes of Sammy Ameobi and Paul Dummett, part of my management is to develop players. “Having said that, our fans wanted a marquee signing, probably, and that’s what we were looking at, somebody that would really threaten the first team. “But we couldn’t get it over the line in terms of what we wanted and unfortunately that’s the position we are in. Speaking at his first press conference since the transfer window closed with only loan signing Loic Remy added to his squad by director of football Joe Kinnear, Pardew acknowledged that the summer, and in particular the weeks leading up to the transfer deadline, had been testing. He said: “You don’t take it in your stride. I’m not saying it’s an easy job, Newcastle manager. “But having said all of that, I still think we have got a very, very strong side.” Whether the club’s fans would agree is a moot point, and it was perhaps significant that in excess of 4,000 more than the crowd of 46,402 which watched the last league game at St James’ Park turned out on Wednesday night for former Magpies keeper Steve Harper’s charity game, which marked his 20 years’ service to the club. Pardew, who was among them, said: “It was a humbling experience for me to sit in the stand and watch that all unfold and those great players who have graced this shirt. “If ever our players needed reminding how strong this club is, it was there for all to see last night.” Newcastle will return to action at Aston Villa on Saturday with Remy vying for a first start after making a cameo appearance as a substitute in the 1-0 victory over Fulham before the international break. Pardew said: “Since Demba [Ba] left, we have lacked a player to increase our goal threat. “With all due respect to the players we have, we needed someone to really put the other team on the back foot, and I think Remy does that. “We have got Papiss [Cisse], Shola [Ameobi] and [Yoan] Gouffran to complement that, and hopefully they all stay fit. “That is probably the one fault you would say against us in this window. That other offensive player, which unfortunately we didn’t secure, would have just protected us a little bit.” Midfielder Yohan Cabaye could also return to the starting line-up after failing to secure a move to Arsenal last month. Pardew said: “The French national manager [Didier Deschamps] did a good turn for us in not picking Yohan because we have got some really good work into him while he has been here. “That was important because I don’t think he was ready for international football this particular time round. “But they got great results and we have got great results with him because he’s in good shape. “I’m very, very pleased. He has a duty to the French national team and to us, and he is carrying that duty out with its full responsibility, and that’s how it should be.” Press Association
Duncan Weir opened the scoring for Glasgow when Munster were penalised in the first minute just inside their own half, expunging in part his last memory of playing the Irish side when he received a long term injury. Weir missed the opportunity to double the lead and then DTH van Der Merwe had the home crowd out of their seats when he seemed to be through for a try – but was called back for a knock on in the move. At the end of the first quarter, Hanrahan kicked a penalty from halfway after Jonny Gray was penalised for barging in the lineout. There was little between the sides in the backs but Glasgow’s pack were dominating the scrum and it was no surprise when they forced Munster to concede a penalty on their own put in, which Weir finished off from directly in front of the posts. The second half was a very different affair as the Munstermen started off in a much better fashion than they had in the first period. Within minutes of the restart, Hanrahan broke down the main stand touchline, running past spectating Glasgow defenders. The stand-off seemed surprised himself that he was through for the try, which he converted himself. Within two minutes the same player, who was named man of the match, put Munster seven points ahead and even at this stage in proceedings there was a feeling that Glasgow were too lacklustre to come back from the deficit. Even a one-man advantage from the 51st minute, when James Cronin went into the sin-bin could not open the door for the league leaders. As the game, which lasted more than hours from kick-off to end, staggered towards its conclusion, only the yellow cards for Jon Welsh and Dave Kilcoyne offered any entertainment. Munster hauled themselves to the top of the RaboDirect PRO12 table with victory in a low-scoring match which saw Glasgow’s unbeaten record end with more of a whimper than a bang. Press Association The match which was a poor advert for professional rugby, with Munster stand-off J J Hanrahan scoring the only try of the contest in a 13-6 success for the visitors. The biggest difference between the sides was Munster’s ability to control the ball when they got themselves in front. They held on to the lead with relative ease for the majority of the second half.