Embattled Limerick boss Justin McCarthy will take great heart from yesterday's opening league game of the year against Galway. Rarely will a seven-point defeat have felt so sweet but the scoreline failed to reveal the deeper significance of Limerick's performance. McCarthy's inexperienced outfit had the better of John McIntyre's men for the first 50 minutes and if they can continue to show the same spirit and ability throughout the campaign the former Waterford manager's position in the Treaty county's hot-seat will become increasingly secure.
As Ronan O'Gara spent the weekend resting up, Jonny Sexton was busy making his case for selection in Declan Kidney's Twickenham plans next Saturday. The Leinster out-half gave the Ireland coach plenty to think about with an accomplished all-round display with boot and hand. Sexton raised the stakes with a 22-point tally in a man-of-the-match display that may swing this tight decision in the favour of the Leinster man.
Back in the frame
If he had his way Roman Pavlyuchenko would already be back in the ice cold of Moscow. But after being frozen out at White Hart Lane for most of the season, the Russian striker grabbed his rare opportunity to shine with his double strike against Wigan during his late cameo yesterday. On this form Pavlyuchenko, who previously had played just 63 minutes of league football this season, won't be sitting idle on the bench for much longer.
Black cats' bad luck
Steve Bruce could be forgiven for thinking that he's still suffering some ill-fortune for crossing paths with his Black Cats some months ago. After their best start to a season for 35 years, Sunderland suffered their 13th game without a victory as their form continues to slide quicker than a run-away bobsleigh.
They may well have won a crucial penalty had Darren Bent gone down in the closing under challenge from Mikael Silvestre but it seems the Black Cats can't get any luck at the moment.
Pies are serious business in Wigan -- after all it is the home of the World Pie-Eating Championships -- so when a Latics supporter wanted to register his disgust at Jermain Defoe's offside goal for Spurs yesterday it spoke volumes that he launched his half-time treat at the large video screen replaying the goal.