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Limerick can topple Tipp and prosper in Munster

I give Limerick a massive chance of pulling off a shock on Sunday.

They have a good record against Tipperary at the Gaelic Grounds and are building nicely, with two of the last three under 21 All-Ireland winning teams and another impressive looking bunch this year.

They’re probably meeting Tipp at the right time and could well catch them cold.

Mickey Cahill is already out and there are rumours they picked up a couple more hamstring injuries in the club games.

Last weekend’s results in Leinster suggest you can’t read much into League form. Kilkenny were the form team and Dublin nearly pulled off a shock result.

But if I had to predict who will end up in the top three in Munster, it would be Tipperary, Limerick and Clare.

If Clare can get a win in Cork on Sunday it puts them in a very good position with two home games to come. I think they have a strong squad.

It’s an indication of how competitive the province is that I don’t fancy the chances of last year’s Munster champions and All-Ireland finalists.

Cork are an enigma. They beat Waterford in the relegation play-off but they’re very much a Jekyll and Hyde team so it all depends which Cork team turns up.

Will it be the men that won Munster last year or the side that struggled in the League?

Waterford were in the decider last year but I don’t think they have a deep enough panel for the new format.

Losing Kieran and Shane Bennett is a huge blow, and the fact that they have to play four weeks in a row, with no home game, could come against them.

If they pick up any injuries, particularly up front, they’re in serious bother.

Kilkenny were there to be buried

I’ve never felt as sorry for a team walking out of a stadium as I did at Parnell Park last Sunday.

For me, Kilkenny winning was daylight robbery.

Dublin were a bit naive tactically at the end but I thought Liam Blanchfield clearly fouled Paddy Smyth in the build-up to the goal.

Dublin dominated everywhere for 70 minutes apart from the scoreline.

That’s a worry from their point of view and a huge positive for Kilkenny. It was an unbelievable result given the way the game panned out.

James Maher and subs Colin Fennelly and Paul Murphy were the only Kilkenny players who could come away with their heads held someway high.

But they proved the never-say-die attitude is still there. Even with five points between the teams with five minutes to go you felt they were still in it.

Kilkenny were standing on the edge of the cliff and all Dublin had to do was push – but they didn’t have that killer instinct you need to finish them off and went back into defence mode.

Kilkenny were there to be buried but you can’t defend any sort of lead against this team, you have to keep attacking them.

Liam Blanchfield with a goal for Kilkenny! pic.twitter.com/YF0sXLNLHF

— The GAA (@officialgaa) May 13, 2018

I wondered about Dublin’s physicality and fitness levels in this column last week but they brought all of that in impressive fashion.

They had speed and size and none of the Kilkenny players could break their tackling, which was football-esque. Liam Rushe and Conal Keany were outstanding.

There are a lot positives Dublin can take but they’re now in a very difficult position in terms of qualifying from Leinster. If they don’t get a result at Wexford Park on Sunday, their summer is effectively over, but if they hurl like they did last week again they’re good enough to get something.

It’s a massive game for Wexford too.

They have Offaly next so if they win the first two they’ll only need to beat one of Kilkenny or Galway to reach a Leinster final.

They’re fresh coming in after not playing last week and we’ll really see what they’re made of on Sunday.

Follow Limerick v Tipperary and Cork v Clare this Sunday via our live blog on RTÉ.ie and the News Now App from 1.30pm, watch live and exclusive TV coverage on RTÉ2 or listen to exclusive radio commentary on RTÉ Radio 1.

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Modern pentathlon gold for Lanigan O’Keeffe in Sofia

Arthur Lanigan O'Keeffe completed a historic weekend for the sport of modern penathlon in Ireland as he took gold at the world cup event in Bulgaria.

Natalya Coyle became the first ever Irish athlete to win a world cup medal in the women's event on Friday, finishing second, with Lanigan O'Keeffe going one better and climbing to the top step of the podium in Sofia on Saturday.

Developed by the father of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin wanted a sport that would test the complete all-round athlete and he came up with modern pentathlon. He also had a cavalry officer caught behind enemy lines in mind when he chose to combine running, shooting, fencing, swimming and horse riding.

The strongest athlete across all five disciplines combined is declared the winner.

GOLD 🥇 goes to ARTHUR LANIGAN-O KEEFFE 🇮🇪 in the Men’s Final at the UIPM #PentathlonWorldCup, Sofia, Bulgaria 🇧🇬 – congratulations #5uperathlete 💐 pic.twitter.com/XpUZV3885d

— UIPM – World Pentathlon (@WorldPentathlon) May 26, 2018

Coyle was leading into the final event on Friday – the run and shoot – but was overtaken by Kate French of Britain. She managed to hold off the charge of Russia’s Uliana Batashova to finish second.

Lanigan O'Keeffe was third after the fencing and swimming legs. He jumped into the lead following the horse riding and held on right until the end of the run-shoot.

The pair are both two-time Olympians having competed in London 2012 and Rio 2016 and both are targeting medals at Tokyo 2020 in just over two years time.

Amhrán na bhFiann ringing out in Bulgaria! @ArthurLOK1 World Cup Champion!! 🇮🇪🍀#TeamIreland pic.twitter.com/7SHrFU73xc

— Natalya Coyle (@Natalyacoyle) May 26, 2018

There are a series of modern pentathlon world cup events held around the world ever year, but this is the first time that Irish competitors have enjoyed such success.

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Guineas shock as Romanised conquers Curragh feature

Romanised gave trainer Ken Condon his first Classic success when springing a 25-1 surprise in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh.

Ridden by Shane Foley, who won the Irish 1,000 on Jet Setting in 2016, Romanised ran out an authoritative winner as he came from way off the pace.

Mark Johnston's British raider Elarqam – fourth in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket – broke smartly and shared the pace with Aidan O'Brien's US Navy Flag.

The race looked wide open with several in with chances, including Charlie Appleby's Symbolization, Gutstav Klimt and Threeandfourpence, but Romanised was produced with a sweeping run in the centre of the course to land the Group One spoils.

US Navy Flag and Gustav Klimt were second and third for the O'Brien team.

A big shock in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas as Romanised for trainer Ken Condon and jockey Shane Foley take the prize at odds of 25-1 #rteracing pic.twitter.com/f2JB2TejET

— RTÉ Racing (@RTEracing) May 26, 2018

Condon – winning his first race this season – said: "We kept faith in him and he had excuses at Naas on his comeback.

"He worked the best he's worked all spring last Tuesday. We knew we were a long shot coming in here, but I felt he was going to run a big race.

"He's always shown talent and he just seems to have come to himself in the last few weeks.

"I'm in a bit of shock and it will be a few days before it sinks in. It's just amazing to win a classic. It's all I wanted to do when I entered racing.

"It's a very select club and to actually step into that club feels like you are walking through special doors to be considered one of those.

"I knew I was never going to be training a huge amount of winners, but we aimed to have a few nice horses through our hands.

"I thought he'd run well, but to win is magic."

He went on: "I'm delighted for everyone involved, the lads in the yard, we're only a small team. He's a horse that we've always had quite a bit of faith in.

'I feel like I'm walking through a special door' – Ken Condon on his delight at training Romanised to win the 2,000 Guineas #rteracing pic.twitter.com/LXUqqbb5yl

— RTÉ Racing (@RTEracing) May 26, 2018

"We just train 30 and we are lucky enough to have a few stakes performers among them. It's nice to work with nice horses.

"There are a lot of guys like me. The country is full of very good horsemen and very good riders and we're all looking to get our hands on a good horse and show what you can do.

"Thankfully he walked through our door and he showed us very early on that he was talented.

"Talent is one thing, but you have to have the temperament and carry it forward. His temperament has improved and he was very relaxed today.

"He was a little tricky to saddle, but once that was done he walked around very calmly.

"He wasn't probably the finished article at Ascot (last year), but I thought he ran well and looked like he was just staying.

"He's bred to want a trip, but he's a horse that shows an awful lot of pace and I must admit I wasn't quite sure If he'd get the mile.

"I said if he relaxed early on he'd run a big race. Shane just said after a furlong he tried to take a run and get strong with him, but then he relaxed.

"He had a lot of ground to make up, but he made it up steadily. It was a fast pace, a proper-run race with no excuses, and he went to the line very strongly."

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Froome set for Giro win as he retains leader’s jersey

Chris Froome is set to complete a remarkable victory in the Giro d'Italia after retaining the leader's pink jersey at the end of stage 20.

The Team Sky rider need only safely negotiate Sunday's largely ceremonial final stage to lay his hands on a third straight Grand Tour title, following his wins at the Tour de France and La Vuelta last year.

Froome, who held off reigning champion Tom Dumoulin, will become the first British rider to take the honours at the Giro and join Eddy Merckx and Bernard Hinault as the only other men to hold the three Grand Tour titles simultaneously.

Froome appeared to be barely in contention a matter of days ago, but moved into the lead on Friday, when he made an audacious solo charge from 80km out on the mountainous stage from Venaria Reale to Bardonecchia.

It was a monumental effort which propelled the 33-year-old from three minutes and 22 seconds off the lead to the frontrunner by 40 seconds.

By the time he crossed the line ahead of Dumoulin, who attempted to attack Froome on several occasions but seemed to accept he had come up short in the final phase, victory was all but assured.

Spaniard Mikel Nieve was the stage winner on his birthday, but as the race heads to Rome for its procession, it is Froome's mastery of the general classification that dominates.

"This #Giro101 has been brutal!" @chrisfroome reflects on a huge effort after all but securing overall victory pic.twitter.com/dg4l87EHUI

— Eurosport UK (@Eurosport_UK) May 26, 2018

Froome cut a composed figure as he accepted congratulations at the finish line and suggested he had never felt threatened by Dumoulin's efforts to force the pace.

"I thought there were attacks I had to follow in the final, but I felt very much in control and capable of following today," he told Eurosport 1.

"Everyone had such a hard day yesterday no-one really had the legs to go anywhere.

"It was for us to follow and me to keep an eye on Tom."

Reflecting on the exacting nature of a course which has taken many high-profile contenders to the limits.

Froome added: "This Giro has been brutal, absolutely brutal.

"When someone tends to have a bad day here it's not just a matter of 30 seconds or one minute, it's 10-15 minutes. It's a brutal race."

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Fairyland lead home Aidan O’Brien 1-2-3

Fairyland led home a one-two-three for Aidan O'Brien in the Cold Move Irish EBF Marble Hill Stakes as the Ballydoyle trainer picked up the Listed prize for an 11th time at the Curragh.

The daughter of Kodiac cost 925,000 guineas at Tattersalls Sales and that looked a bargain after she followed up her Naas debut victory in impressive fashion.

Michael O'Callaghan's Recon Mission and O'Brien's Land Force made the running, but Fairyland (4-1) was never far away and stretched out eyecatchingly for Seamie Heffernan.

She went on to score by two and a quarter lengths from her stablemate Van Beethoven, who was sent off the 4-6 favourite but never posed a real threat. Land Force was just a neck away to complete the O'Brien clean sweep.

O'Brien said: "She looks very nice. She won very nicely in Naas and Ryan (Moore) loved her when he rode her. Wayne (Lordan) rides her at home all the time and he's always loved her.

"She's relaxed. First time was five and we stepped her up to six today to have a little bit of a feel and give her a little bit of experience. She was very comfortable at it, looking at her, and Seamus was really happy with her.

"She travelled well and Seamus said she's a very kind, very unassuming type of filly, and she cruised the whole way. He felt she would even stay further.

"She has a great pedigree and Mrs Stockwell always loved her, she loved her at the sales. She's an exciting filly."

He added: "She's a filly for either the Queen Mary or the Albany, we have a choice now."

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NRL live: Roosters, Titans kick off a big Saturday

Email Sydney Roosters v Gold Coast Titans, NZ Warriors v South Sydney Rabbitohs, Penrith Panthers v St George-Illawarra: NRL round 12 live scores, stats and commentary

Posted May 26, 2018 14:00:13

Saturday's NRL begins with the Roosters taking on the Titans in Gosford, followed by the Warriors and Souths in Auckland, and then Penrith v the Dragons.

Follow all the action in our live ScoreCentre.

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