Tag Archives: reprieve

Kazakhstan corner on waterlogged football pitch – VIDEO

VIDEO: Floody hell! No wonder this player gets that sinking feeling when he doesn't get past the first man from a corner…

Jill Reilly


13:06 GMT, 7 March 2013



15:50 GMT, 7 March 2013

Disgruntled footballers have been known to blame the state of the pitch for a bad result.

But if these players in the Kazakhstani league were to put in a complaint it would probably be justified – after all taking a corner kick on a submerged football pitch is tricky work.

In a comical video posted on YouTube a footballer is seen being instructed by the referee to take the corner in what resembles the middle of a lake.

Scroll down for video

Water joke: The taker could be forgiven for not beating the first man with this corner

Water joke: The taker could be forgiven for not beating the first man with this corner

When he tries to throw it
to an area where the ball isn't at risk of floating away, he is ordered by the referee to replace it in the corner.

His team-mate comes over and the pair then improvise to try to get the ball in the box.

The corner taker, wearing No 10, kicks the ball up in the air and it is then caught by No 22 and kicked on to the pitch.

Comical clip: In a video posted on YouTube a footballer is seen being instructed by the referee to take the kick at the corner of the pitch

Comical clip: In a video posted on YouTube a footballer is seen being instructed by the referee to take the kick at the corner of the pitch

Easier kick: The footballer tries to throw it to an area where the ball isn't at risk of floating away

Easier kick: The footballer tries to throw it to an area where the ball isn't at risk of floating away

Handiwork: The player wearing a number 10 shirt, then engages in some impressive moves - he kicks the ball up in the air and it is then caught by his tea mate and kicked on to the pitch

Handiwork: The player wearing a number 10 shirt, then engages in some impressive moves – he kicks the ball up in the air and it is then caught by his team mate and kicked on to the pitch

But the water reprieve does not last long – the ball is then kicked straight back into the water.

In the background a clean-up crew can be seen pumping water out of the water-logged pitch.

Some users who watched the video commented the game should have been called off as the referee was not unable to see the pitch markings.

Flooded. THE most ridiculous corner kick EVER

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Saracens 17 Northampton 16: Stephen Myler misses penalty with last kick

Saracens 17 Northampton 16: Myler miss is a kick in the teeth for Jim's beaten Saints



19:40 GMT, 30 December 2012

Stephen Myler and Northampton were left shattered in Milton Keynes as the fly-half’s last-minute, long-range penalty to win a pulsating game hit the crossbar and bounced out, giving Saracens a dramatic reprieve.

The Saints No 10 was presented with a shot for glory from his own half, with just seconds remaining, in controversial circumstances. Saracens prop Rhys Gill was penalised by referee JP Doyle for kicking the ball away from a ruck, when replays suggested that the ball was out and he was entitled to do so.

Then, some back-chat from one of the home players prompted the official to march forward 10 metres, leaving Northampton with a penalty on the limit of kicking range.

Close call: Myler hit the crossbar with the final kick of the game

Close call: Myler hit the crossbar with the final kick of the game

Putting the boot in: Farrell

Putting the boot in: Farrell

Myler, who had already registered 11 points with the boot, took aim at the posts, some 57 metres away. He let fly and the ball soared towards the target, only to glance off the centre of the bar, allowing Brad Barritt to clear into the stands to clinch the narrow win which sees his side go into the new year second in the Aviva Premiership, one point behind champions and leaders Harlequins.

Back by the halfway line, Myler was left on his haunches, with his head in his hands. Jim Mallinder, Northampton’s director of rugby, turned and strode down the tunnel, frustrated by the agonising manner of this latest defeat against a top-four team and incensed by Doyle’s refereeing.

Afterwards, he said: ‘Should have won, could have won. If Stephen Myler had kicked that goal at the end, we’d all be in there now celebrating a great away victory.

‘To be honest, I didn’t think he could get it. I was definitely wondering if they had made the right decision but you have to leave it to the players. Stephen knows best if he has a realistic chance of kicking it or not. It was left up to him and I think he probably did make the right decision to go for it.’

In a tense final quarter, a few of Doyle’s decisions came in for close scrutiny, particularly a penalty awarded to Saracens at a ruck in the closing minutes. Ben Foden, the Saints and England full back, exploded with rage when the whistle sounded and vented his fury on the nearby touch judge. Mallinder, in slightly calmer fashion, echoed his sense of indignation.

‘The majority of the decisions early on were probably just, but the referee has got to be consistent,’ he said. ‘If he is going to penalise Dylan Hartley for going off his feet, quite rightly, then he has to do Barritt at the end of the game for the same offence. In the final 10 or 15 minutes, there was some decision-making by us which we’ll need to look at, and we’ll look at a couple of the referee’s decisions as well, because they can be the difference between winning and losing close games like that. He got a number of those decisions wrong today.’

For the first quarter of this game, it merely appeared a question of how many points Saracens would win by against their bitter rivals, whose supporters dominated the large festive crowd. The nomadic Hertfordshire club immediately appeared at home in a stadium where their opponents have staged matches in the past, and were ahead in the seventh minute.

Try time: Phil Dowson crossed for Northampton

Try time: Phil Dowson crossed for Northampton

From an attacking line-out on the left, George Kruis took a clean catch and the Saracens pack drove forward with great conviction, on and on over the line until John Smit touched down. Charlie Hodgson missed the conversion, but he was on target with an 11th-minute penalty and his side continued to dominate proceedings on the back of clear superiority in the scrum.

Yet, that set-piece advantage gradually faded as the Saints forwards rallied and in the 24th minute the visitors hit back.

From a scrum near halfway, Ken Pisi broke clear on the right, Courtney Lawes stormed on and when quick ball was delivered to Phil Dowson, the flanker burst through three tackles to score a try which Myler converted to make it 11-7.

Saracens retaliated with gusto to this renewed challenge and after David Strettle so nearly went clean through the middle in the Northampton 22, Will Fraser and Ernst Joubert drove strongly at the line but the ball went loose, Samu Manoa pounced on it and eventually a clearance kick by Lee Dickson alleviated the sustained pressure.

Cast adrift: Northampton are eight points behind Saracens

Cast adrift: Northampton are eight points behind Saracens

Moments later, the scrum-half’s dart forward brought a penalty to the Saints which Myler struck to narrow the deficit to one point at the break. After half-time, the visitors’ No 10 maintained his assured goal-kicking to establish a 16-11 lead for his team, while Hodgson missed three successive shots at the other end. Owen Farrell, who had replaced Joel Tomkins at outside centre, took over kicking duties and calmly dispatched two successive penalties to push Saracens in front again and they clung on with a little help from the crossbar which denied Myler.

Mark McCall, Sarries’ director of rugby, was relieved by the outcome of that last-gasp kick, saying: ‘I felt the same as everyone else felt. It was out of our hands. We knew it was a very difficult kick. It was an unbelievable strike in fairness. He had his kicking boots on today, so we are grateful to have come away with a narrow victory.’

In a measured reaction to Doyle’s officiating, McCall added: ‘There are always going to be things that you are not happy about. There was some frustration in our side from time to time and I am surprised they (Northampton) feel as strongly as they do about it.’

This defeat for the Saints leaves them sixth in the Premiership table but Mallinder remained bullish about their prospects of mounting a convincing title challenge. ‘We know we’re a good side and today proved that,’ he said.

‘There’s not a lot between the top teams and although we’re now mid-table, we’re not out of the running, by any means. There are a few people who have written us off already but there’s a long way to go. We won’t give up, we’ll be back.’

Danny Cipriani recalled by Sale Sharks

Reprieve for Cipriani as Sale recall fly-half for clash with Worcester



14:13 GMT, 28 December 2012

Sale Sharks have recalled Danny Cipriani, presenting the former England fly-half with a surprise chance to restore his reputation at the club.

He was dropped from the side which lost to his former club Wasps Adams Park last Sunday, and felt the brunt of co-owner Brian Kennedy’s stinging attack, who challenged his commitment.

Despite this, and in the wake of a relatively improved performance during the 25-18 defeat, Cipriani will start tonight against Worcester, in place of Nick Macleod who has a back injury.

Back in the fold: Cipriani has been recalled by Sale

Back in the fold: Cipriani has been recalled by Sale

Kennedy blasted the 25-year old, saying: ‘If you’re not prepared to put your body on the line for this club, who pay your wages and give you the chance to play at the highest level each week, then you won’t be in the squad, will you’

The club’s director of rugby, John Mitchell, also had some cold advice for the player, who has been accused of laziness.

'Danny knows the situation and what’s going on and he knows that there needs to be an improvement in performance,’ Mitchell said.

'He has to improve his defence. Last week against Toulon he defended for 35 minutes and then chose not to do so.'

The onus is now in Cipriani who, blessed with world-beating talent, has failed to prove he can show focus and dedication for Sale.

They currently sit five points adrift at the foot of the Premiership table and have only recorded one win, against London Irish, in their 11 league games.

Hearts fans raise 500,000 in three weeks in bid to save troubled SPL club

Hearts fans raise 500,000 in three weeks in bid to save troubled SPL club



18:18 GMT, 17 November 2012

Troubled Hearts have raised over 500,000 in three weeks through a share issue scheme, the Edinburgh club have announced.

The initiative was launched in late
October to raise 1.79million in exchange for 10% of the club's shares,
with the brochure simultaneously revealing a demand for 1.75m in unpaid

Contrast: Hearts may not survive the month after receiving a winding-up order over a 450,000 tax bill

Troubled times: Hearts may not survive after receiving a winding-up order over a 450,000 tax bill

That amount is separate to the 450,000 bill for which Hearts this week negotiated an extension with Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs,

delaying a winding-up order which led the club to suggest Saturday's Clydesdale Bank Premier League clash with St Mirren could be the final fixture in their 138-year history.

A statement on Hearts' official website read: 'Heart of Midlothian FC can today reveal that more than half a million pounds have been raised by the share issue.

Just three weeks after the launch of the scheme on Saturday, October 27, the Hearts supporters have sent the total crashing through the 500,000 barrier.

Fans outside Tynecastle Stadium, Edinburgh

'The immense effort from the fans was
instrumental in the club gaining a reprieve from HMRC after the recent
winding-up order and ensuring that today's Clydesdale Bank Premier
League meeting with St Mirren goes ahead.'

A Hearts spokesperson thanked supporters for their backing.

The spokesperson added: 'The continued support of the fans is crucial as
we attempt to move towards a more stable financial future and to that
extent, our focus will remain on the share issue, which runs until
December 19.

'This has been a great start to the scheme but it is imperative the
supporters don't take anything for granted as there is still a lot of
hard work ahead.'

James McClean looks a sorry state as Irish winger has nowhere to hide after Twitter outburst

McClean looks a sorry state as Ireland winger has nowhere to hide after Twitter outburst

Colin Young


21:23 GMT, 9 September 2012



21:23 GMT, 9 September 2012

He may have won his Ireland reprieve
with a humiliating apology on Saturday afternoon but James McClean
looked like a man who wanted to be a million miles away from Kingston on
Sunday morning.

The neat and tiny Kingsmeadow ground
on the outskirts of London – The Cherry Red Records Stadium to give it
its full title – plays host every week to modest crowds watching League
Two and non-league matches.

The only notable spectators in the
stands were keeper Keiren Westwood and defender Sean St Ledger, who are
both likely to be left to their own devices on Tuesday as well, sitting
out the friendly at Craven Cottage.

Ireland's James McClean

Feelign the heat: Ireland's James McClean

Other than them, a small throng of Irish journalists, a few bemused AFC Wimbledon officials and their ground staff, plus assorted FAI bodies, had assembled to observe a training session with the legendary Giovanni Trapattoni and his Ireland team.

All our eyes were on McClean. And through the searing south-west London heat, the poor lad toiled for every painful second. He looked like a man, in fact a boy, who wanted the ground to swallow him up and put an end to his very obvious misery.

No doubt still living through the stupidity of pressing the send button on his phone from the team bus on Friday night, McClean looked like a footballer with the weight of the world on his shoulders. And this was a Sunday morning run-out in Kingston.

The moment the practice match bibs were handed out, McClean knew he was in trouble.

Robbie Brady, anxious, excited and eager to impress, was handed one of the orange garments. McClean was overlooked by the coaches, left to ponder how much of a twit he has been in the reserve team, and then plonked in the centre of midfield, presumably as additional punishment. Every touch, every shot, every moment went awry. And he struggled to hide his contempt and disappointment.

Not amused: Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni

Not amused: Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni

This time he didn't need Twitter to make a twit of himself. The ball was doing it for him.

It was almost painful to watch, and as an observer who has seen every one of McClean's home matches since he made his sensational arrival at the Stadium of Light under Martin O'Neill in nine months, it was an alien performance and unlike anything the winger seems capable of.

The boy from Derry had not expected his Ireland career to shape up this way when he made the difficult and controversial choice of picking this particular colour of green for his international future.

Although he has no right to expect a starting place in the Irish team yet, and although he is still naive, raw and inexperienced, he surely deserves better treatment – and longer than 17 competitive minutes – for being hauled across to Italy, Hungary, Poland and now Kazakhstan.

As Sportsmail's columnist Kevin Kilbane said last week, McClean is Ireland's in-form Premier League player and he should be in the team from the start.

Sadly Trapattoni takes the opposite view and he appeared to have little sympathy with the player's well-publicised remarks and his obvious agony. There was no arm round McClean's shoulder, in fact there was little if any eye contact.

If Trapattoni is trying to ruin another young Irish footballer, who just happens by coincidence to play for Sunderland, and run him out of the squad, he is going the right way about doing it.

In favour: Robbie Brady (left)

In favour: Robbie Brady (left)

By contrast, Brady was having the time of his life.

Maybe it was the bib, maybe it was the call-up and the chance to show his talents to the senior boys. Whatever it was, Brady was the one winger with a smile on his face as he came off the lush Kingsmeadow turf. Trapattoni even had a private word with him, very publically in front of the main stand.

'It was my first few hours and I really enjoyed it,' Brady said. 'They are a good group of lads and I have been welcomed from the first moment I came in.

'I know John O'Shea from United and Paul McShane when I was at Hull, so I know quite a few of the lads from being around the football scene so it was not as if I was coming in and not knowing anybody. They made me fit in so it was great.

'The manager had a quick word and said that he had me on the radar for a while so I'm glad to hear that and that I am in.

'I've been working hard all year, it's been a good season for the 21s and I got my best ever run with Hull and I'm just delighted to have been called up to the squad. And, hopefully, come Tuesday if I get a chance I'll be able to show what I'm about.

'But I just don't want to come in, meet everybody, say 'hello' and go back out. Hopefully I have come in to stay.'

And while he may not have played a meaningful minute in a Manchester United shirt, and failed to hold down a regular starting place at Hull City last season, the Baldoyle Boy, once of St Kevins, has been promoted in to Tuesday's starting line-up ahead of McClean.

To add insult to McClean's hurt, he even talked up Brady to an extent even Sir Alex wouldn't recognise him.

'He's a type of player we are missing,' said Trapattoni. 'He has vision, can pass and can shoot, like James McCarthy but he has other midfield work like Meyler. Brady sees the pass immediately, he has the pitch in front of him, he can pass and shoot, he is intelligent and clever.'

Robbie was not the only Brady on Trapattoni's mind.

At the end of his pitchside press briefing, the Italian was informed of Liam Brady's surprise criticism of his old manager's style of play which was adopted in Poland and failed. The depressing long ball tactic was restored in Astana and even Brady found it painful to watch.

It was at this moment – to the amusement of the Wimbledon staff at least – that Trapattoni became typically animated, voluble, yet no entirely coherent. He even grabbed a pen and pad and scribbled diagrams and notes. His minders wanted him out of there, but Trapattoni wanted to talk. Or shout. And it was still clear as mud.

But he said: 'Liam Brady He was never a manager

'I lie awake in the night and I think about a new team, how we play in defence, how we develop the game.

'In the first 50 minutes, we had three chances, how many after one hour You could pass the ball for 80 minutes and still lose one or two nil.

'We had to save energy. So then we play the long ball and the second ball. We're not Manchester United – tip tip tap tap – we needed our strength.'

Brian Clough once said of players showing dissent. 'Well, we talk about it for 20 minutes and then decide I was right.'

As Liam Brady will tell Robbie Brady and James McClean, it is a philosophy Giovanni Trapattoni knows very well, and they will have to accept that. Or stay at home.

James McClean granted reprieve by Giovanni Trapattoni for explicit Ireland tweet

McClean granted reprieve for idiotic tweet by Ireland boss Trapattoni



19:50 GMT, 8 September 2012

Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni has decided against kicking James McClean out of the squad after the Sunderland winger made a grovelling apology to his team mates for a foul-mouthed tweet.

McClean was furious that Trapattoni did not bring him off the bench on Friday as the Republic struggled to a 2-1 win over eastern European minnows Kazakhstan.

In an apparent broadside at Trapattoni's refusal to call on his services, the Sunderland winger tweeted: 'Delighted as a fan we got the the win.. Personal level fuming #f****njoke #embarrassing.'

Forgiven: James McClean has not been booted out of the squad

Forgiven: James McClean has not been booted out of the squad

Trapattoni spoke to McClean about the tweet, which the midfielder quickly deleted, and the player issued a full apology on the micro-blogging website on Saturday afternoon.

He wrote: 'i apologise for my tweet last night, it was stupid, disrespectful and i let my frustration get the better of me which still aint an excuse.'

Trapattoni then also spoke to McClean in front of the whole squad before the player apologised to his team-mates in the room.

Trapattoni had considered dropping McClean from his squad for the outburst, but the former Derry City man's apology means he has been retained for the Emerald Isle's international friendly against Oman at Craven Cottage on Tuesday.

The tweet once again raises questions about Trapattoni's relationship with some of his players. Having seen Damien Duff and Shay Given retire from international football this summer, the Italian was then disappointed by the actions of Darron Gibson, who refused a call up for these two games.

Furious: Giovanni Trapattoni made him apologise

Furious: Giovanni Trapattoni made him apologise

And last month Wolves utility man Kevin
Foley turned down the chance to play for his country in their friendly
against Serbia and vowed never to play for Trapattoni again because he
felt the Italian 'betrayed' him by excluding him from his European
Championship squad.

Kevin Doyle tried to play down talk of unrest and insisted the whole Republic squad are behind Trapattoni, whose position would have been under intense pressure had Doyle and Robbie Keane not scored two late goals to snatch all three points in the former Soviet republic.

'Everyone is together,' Doyle said. 'Everyone respects the manager 100% and there is no other scenario.

'Honestly, it's the same as any squad I have been involved in with Ireland.

'Everyone is entitled to their opinion and feeling but as far as I can see everyone is right behind the manager and hopefully that win will ease the pressure on us.'

It's OK: Kevin Doyle says the squad is behind the boss

It's OK: Kevin Doyle says the squad is behind the boss

Having travelled halfway across the
planet to make the qualifier in Astana, Robbie Keane and Darren O'Dea
have been allowed to miss the friendly against Oman.

Sunderland's John O'Shea, and Stoke duo Jon Walters and Glenn Whelan have also returned to their clubs.

Reading defender Alex Pearce has been called in to the squad along with 20-year-old Manchester United winger Robbie Brady.

Trapattoni rang Under-21 manager Noel King after the Ireland-Kazakhstan game and requested Brady be excused Monday's UEFA Under-21 Championship game against Italy in order to link-up with the full squad.

King said: 'Robbie has deserved his call-up. He's been sensational for us – as the people of Sligo will testify after his previous performances in the campaign.

'He sets the place alive and some of his play has been outrageous.'

Andrew Strauss best moments as England captain

A symphony for Strauss: The best moments from Andrew's tenure as England captain



14:56 GMT, 29 August 2012

The news that England captain Andrew Strauss has stepped down from all forms of professional cricket has shocked the game.

But as the national side look forward to a new era under Alistair Cook, it is only right to look back at some of his predecessor's finest moments as skipper.

2009 – Strauss century ignites England's Ashes summer

England had clung on for a draw at Cardiff in the first
test and desperately needed something special at Lord’s to kick-start their
Ashes campaign.

Strauss, having won the toss, produced an exceptional
innings of 161 to take the game to Australia. England would go on to win the
second test by 115 runs and, of course, the series.

2009 – Sporting Strauss reprieves Mathews after controversial run-out

In an exceptional display of sportsmanship, Strauss made
the decision to reprieve Sri Lanka’s Angelo Mathews after Graham Onions had
blocked his attempt at a second run, allowing Graeme Swann to run him out.

the umpires unsure what to do, Mathews was almost back to the pavilion before
Strauss beckoned him back. England went on to win the match by six wickets.

2009 – Strauss leads England fightback in Guyana

After losing the Caribbean Test series 1-0, England had
won the first one-day international on Duckworth-Lewis after the West Indies
coach miscalculated and called his batsmen in for bad light.

Determined to make
amends, the hosts posted 264 in the second ODI in Guyana.

Strauss led from the
front, hitting 105 off 129 balls and almost seeing through the whole innings as
wickets tumbled around him. It was ultimately in a losing cause though as
England were all out for 243.

2010 – Sparkling Strauss guides England to Headingley victory

In a tour that will be forever remembered for the
Pakistan spot-fixing scandal, England sought to complete a hat-trick of series
triumphs by adding the ODI competition to their Test and Twenty20 wins.

was at his sparkling best in the second ODI at Headingley, hitting 126 from 134
balls to steer England to victory after Pakistan had set a challenging target
of 294.

2010 – Strauss makes amends with brilliant Brisbane century

Out for a duck in the first innings at Brisbane and in
desperate need for a response after Australia posted a 221-run lead, Strauss
and Cook put on an excellent 188 run opening partnership to haul England back
into contention.

Strauss made 110 and Cook 235, easing England into the test
and the series, which they would eventually win 3-1.

2011 – Captain's Innings from Strauss earns unlikely draw

A classic pool match at the World Cup as Strauss guided England
to an improbable draw in front of a partisan Bangalore crowd. India had hit
338, with the masterful Tendulkar contributing 120. But skipper Strauss topped
that, scoring 158 to get an unlikely share of the spoils.

P.S. A lighter moment as Strauss breaks his own sunglasses against South Africa

Danny Willett wins BMW International Open

Willett survives scare to win BMW International Open after nervy play-off



16:54 GMT, 24 June 2012

Danny Willett, the son of a vicar, finally had his prayers answered – after going through agony.

The 24-year-old from Sheffield beat Australian Marcus Fraser for his first European Tour victory at the BMW International Open in wet and windy Cologne.

Willett, a teammate of Rory McIlroy in the 2007 Walker Cup, feared it was going to be his 20th top 10 finish without victory when he threw away a three-stroke lead.

Holding his nerve: Danny Willett came through a play-off to win the title

Holding his nerve: Danny Willett came through a play-off to win the title


Click here for the final leaderboard

But the former world No 1 in the amateur ranks was given a reprieve when Fraser bogeyed the 456-yard final hole.

That meant a tie on the 11 under par mark of 277 after Willett's superb three-iron escape from close to the trees and the pair had to play the 18th four more times to settle the issue.

First they parred it with Fraser holing from 12 feet, then they bogeyed it with Willett missing from four feet, then they parred it again.

Fraser, twice a winner on the circuit, was favourite to land the first prize of nearly 270,000 when he was 30 feet away in two and the Yorkshireman went over the green.

However, Willett almost chipped in, then saw Fraser lip out and miss his four-footer coming back.

'Amazing – it was a tough day,' said the world No 204, who will be at Sunningdale trying to qualify for the Open Championship on Monday – as will Fraser.

Gutted: Beaten Marcus Foster

Gutted: Beaten Marcus Foster

'I've had some ups and downs in the last 18 months, but I'm injury-free now and I want to thank everybody for the support they've given me.'

One in front overnight, Willett birdied the third and fourth, but the script began to change when he three-putted the ninth.

Further dropped strokes came at the 11th and 15th, the pressure mounting after he had three-putted again for par at the long 13th.

With the weather at its worst, though, he managed to par the final three whereas Fraser was in rough after his first and second shots down the last.

They were round in 71 and 73 respectively, but their work was from over in a tournament which last year saw a five-hole play-off before Pablo Larrazabal beat fellow Spaniard Sergio Garcia.

Joint-third only one behind were Ireland's 45-year-old Paul McGinley after a best-of-the-day 66, Spain's Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (69) and England's Chris Wood, who bogeyed the short 17th when sharing the lead.

For McGinley it was a third top-seven finish in his last four starts, but he was left to rue his Saturday 77 after being joint second at halfway.

'Obviously there's a gaping thing in the week and I've got to give some thought to why I lost my speed on the greens and my confidence,” said the Dubliner.

'I had five three-putts – I don't think I've ever had that in my life – but it was a good reaction and I'm really looking forward to this week's Irish Open.

Plenty to ponder: Paul McGinley had to settle for third place

Plenty to ponder: Paul McGinley had to settle for third place

'Royal Portrush is one of my favourite courses in the world and I've played it a lot over the years.'

Fernandez-Castano is now back in the last automatic qualifying place for the Ryder Cup, edging Belgian Nicolas Colsaerts down to the 11th thanks to a 15-foot birdie putt on the 18th.

Scot Paul Lawrie, third in the cup standings, finished joint 23rd along with 54-year-old Bernhard Langer, whose compatriot Marcel Siem would have been in the play-off if he had made a closing 22-footer.

Instead he three-putted it and slipped to joint sixth with Swede Henrik Stenson.

Joe Cole heading back to Liverpool

Cole heading back to Liverpool after midfielder offered Anfield lifeline by new boss Roders



05:53 GMT, 6 June 2012

Joe Cole will be given the chance to save his Liverpool career by new manager Brendan Rodgers.

The 30-year-old midfielder had been linked with a return to West Ham after a successful year-long loan spell at French side Lille.

Success: Joe Cole enjoyed a new lease of life at Lille

Success: Joe Cole enjoyed a new lease of life at Lille

But the arrival of Rodgers, who worked with Cole during
their time at Chelsea and described him as 'a wonderful talent', has offered him an Anfield reprieve.

'Joe Cole will stay at Liverpool,' Lille coach Rudi Garcia coach told Canal+.

'The new staff have decided to keep him. We will remember him very fondly as a player but also as a man.'

During his loan spell in France, Cole scored four times in 27 appearances and played alongside Chelsea's new 32m signing Eden Hazard.

Cole will be one of the players asked to work hard and contribute to a 'cause worth fighting for' as Rodgers seeks to turn around the club's fortunes.

For all the praise Rodgers' teams have received for their easy-on-the-eye style, he knows first and foremost he has to get them winning regularly again – and that will only come with effort.

Target: Brendan Rodgers knows he must make a winning start

Target: Brendan Rodgers knows he must make a winning start

He insists significant, whole-hearted commitment is the very minimum he requires from his squad.

'I have conditions to work in. I create a framework and the players come in and adhere to,' said the 39-year-old.

'I hear people talking about working hard but for me it is an obligation, it's not a choice.

'We all work hard in our everyday lives as people and for players it is no different.

'It is quite simple. You come in and do a hard day's work. You make sure in training and on match days you come in and you can take your top off and wring it out and it will be soaking wet.

'It is that honesty you want. If you can work hard and you have got talent it takes you a long way.

'That will be the emphasis for me here, to try to reinforce that and ensure that commitment to the cause is important because we have a cause to fight for here.'

London Welsh vow to fight for Aviva Premiership status

London Welsh vow to fight for Premiership status as Newcastle look likely to avoid drop



16:59 GMT, 23 May 2012

London Welsh will 'explore all possible avenues' as they continue their quest for Aviva Premiership status next season as Newcastle look to have won a relegation reprieve.

The Exiles, even if they win a two-legged Championship final against Cornish Pirates, have been told they do not meet minimum standards criteria to play in English rugby's top flight.

The decision was confirmed by Rugby Football Union directors just six hours before London Welsh took on the Pirates in Penzance.

Setback: London Welsh have been told they will not be promoted if they win their play-off game due to their ground not meeting required standards

Setback: London Welsh have been told they will not be promoted if they win their play-off game due to their ground not meeting required standards

Luke Benedict

RFU directors ratified findings of a report carried out by independent auditors that identified various London Welsh failures, including not having primacy of tenure at their nominated Premiership ground – Oxford United's 12,500-capacity Kassam Stadium.

The Pirates did not choose to have an independent audit of their Mennaye Field ground, so were therefore ineligible for promotion prior to tonight's first leg and the return fixture in Oxford next Wednesday.

Welsh, whose chairman Bleddyn Phillips is a partner with the law firm Clifford Chance, have 14 days in which to lodge an appeal.

The club's board of directors have responded to the RFU announcement by saying they will be 'exploring all possible avenues off the pitch to ensure that if successful in winning the Championship, London Welsh will take its rightful place in the top flight of English rugby.'

As things stand, though, Premiership bottom club Newcastle will remain among the elite next term with no promotion taking place from the second tier.

The London Welsh statement continued: 'London Welsh RFC would like to express its grave disappointment on learning of this decision, coming as it does just a few hours ahead of the first leg of the club's Championship final against the Cornish Pirates.

'The club firmly believes that it has met the minimum standards criteria for promotion to the Premiership, particularly as regards the issue of primacy of tenure, and reaffirmed its belief in this respect in a detailed communication to the RFU as recently as Monday May 21 highlighting its case for having satisfied the MSC.

'The club has already sought clarification on this point, the detailed reasoning behind why primacy of tenure was not satisfied (among other things) having not yet been given by the RFU.

'The club is especially disappointed in this regard as a firm binding agreement, subject only to promotion to the Premiership, has already been concluded with Kassam Stadium – a ground with facilities the club believes to be at least the equal of many other grounds already hosting Premiership rugby.'

Staying up: Newcastle's Peter Stringer looks like he and his club will be playing in the Premiership next season

Staying up: Newcastle's Peter Stringer looks like he and his club will be playing in the Premiership next season

Newcastle propped up the Premiership by a point despite winning their final game of the 22-game regular league season against fellow strugglers Wasps earlier this month.

But the Falcons have now survived – barring any successful London Welsh appeal – and they can look forward to the 2012-13 campaign when Dean Richards will take charge as rugby director.

Falcons commercial director Duncan Edward said: 'To be given the lifeline of playing in the Premiership next season and keeping top-class rugby in the region is unbelievable.'

In a statement, RFU directors said: 'The Rugby Football Union's board of directors has considered the findings of the independent audit report requested by London Welsh, which determines a club's eligibility for promotion to the Aviva Premiership in line with the minimum standards criteria (MSC).

'The report, carried out by independent auditors, found that London Welsh has not met the MSC for the Aviva Premiership.

'The independent auditors identified various failures, including not having primacy of tenure at their nominated ground. This states that a club must demonstrate that they can host home fixtures at the time stipulated by Premiership Rugby and/or the host broadcaster.

'The RFU board ratified the findings and agreed, should London Welsh win the RFU Championship final following the second leg on May 30, they would not be eligible for promotion and Newcastle Falcons would remain in the Aviva Premiership.

'Cornish Pirates did not choose to have an independent audit of the Mennaye Field and so do not fulfil the criteria for promotion should they win the final. As a result, there will be no promotion from the RFU Championship this season.'

The minimum standards criteria are set by the Professional Game Board (PGB) – a joint group from the RFU, Premiership Rugby, RFU Championship clubs and the Rugby Players' Association.

But Wednesday's outcome will inevitably stir the hornet's nest issue of promotion and relegation between the Championship and Premiership, giving further ammunition to those who believe the Premiership is destined to become a closed shop.

London Welsh, founded in 1885, currently play at Old Deer Park in Richmond, which has a capacity of just under 6,000.