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Tuesday 25 April 2017
 
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Today's Top Sport Story
 
Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile
 
Suspension won't affect Davy role as Model boss Davy Fitzgerald will almost certainly be allowed to continue overseeing Wexford's preparations for the Leinster hurling championship, despite deciding not to contest an eight-week ban imposed following an incident in last Sunday week's Allianz League semi-final clash with Tipperary.
 
 
 
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Quite why Duncan Williams kicked away possession so often on Saturday remains a mystery. Photo: Sportsfile   Munster's brain-dead tactics should never be repeated Tony Ward So for the fifth year running we have a Champions Cup final minus an Irish presence. In a frank and honest assessment of the weekend semi-finals Munster were comprehensively outplayed while Leinster could and perhaps should have got to a fourth final. Just where does that leave Irish rugby? In as good a place as it did before either went into semi-final action.
 
 

James Horncastle: Mistakes not denting 'butterfly catcher' Hart's Italian appeal When a goalkeeper comes for a cross and doesn't claim the ball, the Italians like to think he looks like a butterfly catcher. To Gigi Garanzini, La Stampa's veteran columnist, that's exactly what Joe Hart resembled when Crotone whipped a short corner in toward the far post at the Stadio Grande Torino a fortnight ago. Hart missed the ball and, losing his balance, fell to the ground, allowing Simmy Nwankwo to prod the ball into an empty net from Andrea Nalini's knock down, levelling the score.
 
 
Chris Bascombe: Sturridge's latest injury may signal the end of Reds career Liverpool are unsure if Daniel Sturridge will play again this season - which could mean he has played his last game for the club.
 
 
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Preston’s Paul Gallagher handles on the line to give away a second-half penalty. Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images   Magpies confirm swift return to top flight Ayoze Perez struck twice as Rafael Benitez succeeded in his mission to guide Newcastle back to the Premier League at the first attempt with a victory over 10-man Preston.
 
 
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is flying to Pittsburgh to see surgeon Dr Freddie H Fu. Photo: Getty   Ibrahimovic to see US specialist as fears for career grow James Ducker and Jason Burt Zlatan Ibrahimovic is to be examined by an eminent knee specialist in the United States tomorrow in an effort to save his career amid fears that he may have suffered multiple ligament damage and not just torn his anterior cruciate.
 
 
Matt Law: 'It is not always about who spends more money who wins' Antonio Conte has taken a swipe at Manchester City and Manchester United by claiming his Chelsea team are proving that spending the most money does not guarantee success.
 
 
James Horncastle: Mistakes not denting 'butterfly catcher' Hart's Italian appeal When a goalkeeper comes for a cross and doesn't claim the ball, the Italians like to think he looks like a butterfly catcher. To Gigi Garanzini, La Stampa's veteran columnist, that's exactly what Joe Hart resembled when Crotone whipped a short corner in toward the far post at the Stadio Grande Torino a fortnight ago. Hart missed the ball and, losing his balance, fell to the ground, allowing Simmy Nwankwo to prod the ball into an empty net from Andrea Nalini's knock down, levelling the score.
 
 
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Former Tyrone star Owen Mulligan. Photo: Oliver McVeigh / Sportsfile   Mulligan eligible for shock return with London Michael Verney Owen Mulligan could be set for a shock inter-county return with London after the former Tyrone star became eligible for London following a brief appearance in a club hurling game for Fulham Irish on Sunday.
 
 
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Galway captain David Burke celebrates the Allianz National Hurling League final victory over Tipperary with some delighted supporters. Photo: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile   Open season: Has Galway’s shock League win paved way for most unpredictable championship in years? Martin Breheny Tipperary's implosion in the Allianz Hurling League final has left the markets for the All-Ireland championships at their most volatile for years.
 
 
Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald. Photo: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile   Suspension won't affect Davy role as Model boss Martin Breheny Davy Fitzgerald will almost certainly be allowed to continue overseeing Wexford's preparations for the Leinster hurling championship, despite deciding not to contest an eight-week ban imposed following an incident in last Sunday week's Allianz League semi-final clash with Tipperary.
 
 
Michael Verney: 'It's a funny situation to be playing in the goals after getting the sack' It's a tale that sounds absurd even after it's been relayed by the person at the centre of it: inter-county manager is sacked by email leading up to their championship opener but returns to fill the goalkeeper's position, and keep a clean sheet, en route to victory.
 
 
Martin Breheny: Burke insists Tribesmen are no longer side plagued by inconsistency Switching focus to the championship has already moved to the top of Galway's agenda, with captain David Burke pointing to the dangers Dublin will pose the Tribesmen in their Leinster quarter-final clash on May 28.
 
 
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Leinster head coach Leo Cullen. Photo: Sportsfile   Cullen eases fears as Lions duo set to be fit for Pro12 title run-in Cian Tracey Leo Cullen has eased fears surrounding the fitness of Lions duo Sean O'Brien and Robbie Henshaw as both are set to play a part in the Guinness PRO12 run-in.
 
 
Quite why Duncan Williams kicked away possession so often on Saturday remains a mystery. Photo: Sportsfile   Munster's brain-dead tactics should never be repeated Tony Ward So for the fifth year running we have a Champions Cup final minus an Irish presence. In a frank and honest assessment of the weekend semi-finals Munster were comprehensively outplayed while Leinster could and perhaps should have got to a fourth final. Just where does that leave Irish rugby? In as good a place as it did before either went into semi-final action.
 
 
Ruaidhri O'Connor: Green shoots but both provinces have a long way to go On May 13, the fifth successive European final without any Irish involvement will take place. An era of Irish dominance ended when Leinster and Ulster met at Twickenham in 2012, but this season there were green shoots of recovery from the two provinces who drove that success.
 
 
Cian Tracey: Cullen convinced Leinster were good enough to go all the way in Europe Having arrived back in Dublin late on Sunday night, any notion of the Leinster players being allowed to wallow in self pity were quickly dispelled as the entire squad gathered for the review session in UCD yesterday.
 
 
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Justin Rose will be in Portstewart but Sergio Garcia has yet to confirm. Photo: Getty Images   Rahm set to follow Rose on Irish invite Brian Keogh Rory McIlroy did not need to turn on the charm to get Olympic champion Justin Rose to commit to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at Portstewart from July 6-9.
 
 
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The Un De Sceaux and Ruby Walsh combination will form a critical part of Team Mullins. Photo: Getty Images   Ready to get Sceaux on the road Johnny Ward Punchestown is upon us all - the wait is over.
 
 
Watering taking place on the track ahead of today’s start of the Punchestown Festival   Champion and pretender reach for the title wire Johnny Ward They call it Peerless Punchestown and, while some may disagree, no Festival in Ireland quite compares with this week's extravaganza.
 
 
Thomas Kelly: Washington DC takes capital billing for O'Brien at Navan Washington DC took full advantage of a drop in grade to end an 11-month losing run in the Woodlands Stakes at Navan.
 
 
Marcus Armytage: Tizzard's Fox can outstmart his rivals and claim feature Colin Tizzard will, no doubt, be looking forward to going on holiday next Monday but, at Punchestown this week, the trainer can cap an extraordinary season by winning the first day feature, the Boylesports Champion Chase, with smart performer Fox Norton.
 
 
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It’s always an emotional roller-coaster watching Ronnie O’Sullivan. Photo: PA Wire   Understanding the Chimp allowing 'Rocket' to soar Michael Verney Forrest Gump could have been describing Ronnie O'Sullivan's snooker career when Tom Hanks uttered the famous line that "life was like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get".
 
 
Scott Evans. Photo: Sportsfile   Good Evans aiming to keep on Rio roll for Euro test Cliona Foley A lot of people still greet him with a sniggering "sure I didn't recognise you with your shirt on!" but Scott Evans doesn't ever take umbrage.
 
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