Ken Early on Chelsea’s victory; Joyce perplexed by trip to Monaghan

Chelsea are champions of Europe again while Manchester City and Pep Guardiola are left to rue what might have been. On Saturday night in Porto Thomas Tuchel’s team outthought and outfought their Premier League opponents in an impressive tactical performance. This morning Ken Early writes in his column that a combination of Covid, maths and luck helped Chelsea get their hands on the trophy with the big ears. As the post-mortem began, Ilkay Gündogan proved to be the fall guy for City with Guardiola opting not to play Fernandinho or Rodri while N’Golo Kanté was simply sublime for Chelsea – a one-man midfield overlord, according to Barney Ronay in his piece this morning. So, with that club stuff out of the way we move on to the important business: the international friendly of Andorra v Ireland. And make no mistake about it, this is important. Pick up a first win and the monkey is off Stephen Kenny’s back (of course beating Andorra won’t solve anything major but it will at least get a win on the record), fail to win and … well, as Malachy Clerkin writes this morning, it’s getting harder to locate the bottom of the well but this Thursday’s match would surely come close if Ireland lose or draw. Speaking to the media over the weekend, Kenny praised the commitment of Séamus Coleman who is leading the team from the sidelines despite being injured.

Moving on to GAA and Galway manager Pádraic Joyce was furious yesterday after he learned that his side’s Division One relegation playoff against Monaghan will be played in Monaghan. This comes despite the fact that Monaghan were banned from playing at home due to a breach of Covid restrictions during the last lockdown. After seeing his side beaten 2-16 to 1-15 by Dublin yesterday, Joyce said “We’ll play where it’s on, but it just disrespects the whole system, the whole Allianz League. If you’re going to get a home vital game, when you broke the rules. If it’s in Monaghan, that’s just unbelievable to me.” Elsewhere, Kerry survived a scare to see off Roscommon late on while TJ Reid led the charge as Kilkenny brushed aside Wexford.


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