Sport Soccer

Saturday 24 March 2018

Ireland rules out comeback

STEPHEN IRELAND has once again poured cold water on the prospects of a swift return to the Ireland set up.

"There is no change to the international situation," he said yesterday.

"I'm not thinking about going back to the squad. In the international break I will train every day. I have already planned eight days of working flat out.

He added: "Some players might look for a rest in international week but I like working harder. I want to give myself the best chance in football and would like to be a big player like Roy Keane.

"I want to lead. I want the staff, manager and players to trust me as a player."

Byrne strikes to deny Glens

Jason Byrne struck an 88th minute winner to give Bohemians a crucial 2-1 debut win over Irish League champions Glentoran in the Setanta Sports Cup.

Glentoran missed a first- half penalty as Ken Oman fouled Shane McCabe in the area but midfielder Richard Clarke blasted his effort over.

They went in front six minutes into the second half as Andrew Waterworth took McCabe's pass and curled a low left-footer into the corner.

But the League of Ireland champions were behind for just 10 minutes as Jason McGuinness got up to head in Killian Brennan's corner home.

And McGuinness had a hand in the winner, turning Anto Murphy's cross into Byrne's path and the striker squeezed a shot home.

Glentoran: Morris; Nixon, Ward, Taylor, Hill; Gillespie (Fordyce 78), Clarke (Fitzgerald 65), McCabe, Neill (Gardiner 78); Waterworth, Halliday.

Bohemians: B Murphy; Shelley, McGuinness, Oman, Powell; A Murphy, Cronin (Keegan 60), Ndo, Brennan; Fenn (Crowe 68), Madden (Byrne 60).

Gamble pushes Rebels through

Joe Gamble grabbed the only goal of the game at Turners Cross as holders Cork City beat Cliftonville 1-0 in the Setanta Cup.

Midfielder Gamble struck in the 37th minute following a neat move by Davin O'Neill and Billy Dennehy. Cork might have added a second after the restart, but a smashing O'Neill header clipped the woodwork.

Cork City: McNulty; Horgan, O'Halloran, Murray, Murphy; O'Neill (Kiely, 60), Lordan, Gamble, Dennehy; Kudozovic, Cambridge (Duggan, 69).

Cliftonville: Connolly; R Scannell (B Holland, 79), O'Hara, Caldwell, Smyth; Murphy (Clark, 80), McMullan, M Holland (Dunlop, 80), Donaghy, Catney, C Scannell.

Ronaldo off to a scoring start

Cristiano Ronaldo was on the scoresheet as Real Madrid got their Primera Division campaign off to a winning start last night with a 3-2 victory over Deportivo La Coruna at the Bernabeu.

Manuel Pellegrini selected seven of the club's eight summer arrivals in his starting XI, including superstars Ronaldo, Kaka and Karim Benzema, but it was one of their existing and less heralded players, Lass Diarra, who earned Madrid the spoils.

Diarra fired home a low 25-yard shot on the hour mark to secure victory for Madrid after battling Deportivo had twice drawn level to cancel out goals by Raul and Ronaldo, with the visitors scoring through Riki and Juan Carlos Valeron.

Ronaldo's goal, like two of his previous three since his summer move from Manchester United, came from the penalty spot after Raul had been sent sprawling by Aranzubia.

The pressure was on Ronaldo, under the spotlight after a fairly low-key pre-season, but the FIFA World Player of the Year showed no signs of nerves as he drilled his spot-kick just inside the post.

However it was not the most convincing of performances by Madrid, who spent more than €250m on new talent this summer, but they will settle for the win, especially having lost 2-1 against the same opponents on the opening game of last season.

Shevchenko returns to Kiev

Andriy Shevchenko has agreed to rejoin Dynamo Kiev from Chelsea.

"Shevchenko has signed a two-year contract," the club said yesterday.

The 32-year-old Ukraine striker will be presented as their player today. On Friday, Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said he could not guarantee Shevchenko first-team football.

Shevchenko never justified the club record £30m fee that Chelsea paid AC Milan for him in 2006. He scored only nine league goals in his first two campaigns and was loaned back to the Italian team last season.

With Ukraine still in with a chance of qualifying for next year's World Cup, the 2004 European Footballer of the Year faced a season on the fringes at Stamford Bridge.

The Ukraine captain is one of the leading scorers in the Champions League and will get a chance to add to his tally of goals with Kiev, who have been drawn in Group F with holders Barcelona, Inter Milan and Rubin Kazan.

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