Tipp man takes over Laois hurling

first_imgThere was a turn of the managerial merry-go-round in Leinster hurling last night. Eamonn Kelly was confirmed as the new Laois hurling manager, just three months after quitting Offaly due to personal and business reasons. His replacement at Offaly will be Waterford native Kevin Ryan, whose appointment will be ratified by the Faithful’s county board next week.last_img

Nuggets vs. Spurs: Predictions, picks for 2019 NBA playoffs first-round series

first_imgThe Nuggets have been out of the first round of the playoffs just once since 1994, but after a 54-win season, the team has high expectations. The issue, though, is that Denver is virtually devoid of postseason experience. Its three top scorers — Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Gary Harris — are all under 24 years old and will be making their postseason debuts. They’ll be facing the Spurs, anchored by LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan, who have 116 games of postseason experience between them. That flips dramatically when the Nuggets hit the road — they’re 17th in defense (110.6) and 16th in offense (108.1). That’s a minus-2.5 net rating, 14th in the league. The Nuggets will open with two games at home, and it’s critical for the team to take pressure off itself by winning both.Nuggets vs. Spurs predictionThe Nuggets are a juggernaut at home, and they’ve got home-court advantage. It’s not hard to imagine an upset in this one, but the Nuggets have an advantage in size and talent. Look for them to win a skin-of-the-teeth series.Nuggets over Spurs, 4-3 There’s a bit of an experience gap on the bench, too, where Denver’s Mike Malone will make his postseason coaching debut against Gregg Popovich, who will be in the playoffs for the 22nd consecutive year, with a record of 167-110.NBA PLAYOFFS 2019: Full schedule | West predictionsNuggets vs. Spurs: Schedule, breakdown, predictionDateMatchupTime (TV channel)April 13Game 1 at Denver 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)April 16Game 2 at Denver9 p.m. ET (NBA TV)April 18Game 3 at San Antonio9 p.m. ET (NBA TV)April 20Game 4 at San Antonio5:30 p.m. ET (TNT/fuboTV)*April 23Game 5 at DenverTBD*April 25Game 6 at San AntonioTBD*April 27Game 7 at DenverTBD (TNT)(*if necessary)The key playerPaul Millsap had his lowest scoring average in a decade this season (12.6 points), but he played well in the second half of the year and was signed by Denver specifically for playoff time.This will be Millsap’s 10th postseason, and he has 87 playoff games under his belt. He will be expected to be a calming figure when adversity strikes, but he’ll also have to contend with Aldridge, who can score on Jokic with ease. Against Millsap — in only two games — Aldridge shot only 40 percent from the field and scored nine points in 38 possessions.  The big number10.6. Denver was 34-7 at home this year, the best record in the league on their own court. They ranked third offensively (116.0) and fifth defensively (105.4) when playing in Denver, a 10.6 net rating that was second-best in the league.last_img read more

Opinion: The time is up for Gerrard at Liverpool

first_imgThis column appears in the current edition of Sport magazine. Download the fee iPad app from the Apple Newsstand, and follow on Twitter @sportmagukMuch talk this week of Steven Gerrard and the will-he won’t-he saga of his possible contract extension at Anfield. Will he accept a reduced playing role at the club? Does a future on the coaching staff appeal? Should he follow the likes of Thierry Henry and Frank Lampard and take one money-spinning move to the States (and then end up on loan at Manchester City for the season – I reckon he and Lampard could have something special in the middle) before his career really is all over?The answer to all of the above questions, in my mind, should be no. Gerrard has been a truly phenomenal player for Liverpool – his one and only club – for a very long time. Unlike the club’s other modern greats – Keegan, Dalglish, Hansen, Rush, Piechnik – he has operated during a period of sustained failure punctuated by moments of emotional, bewildering and now legendary achievement.Time and again, Gerrard has, like a footballing Atlas, lifted a collection of largely disappointing individuals around him and dragged them through halves, games, seasons. He has had a good number of worthy lieutenants over the years – Sami Hyypia, Pepe Reina and Xabi Alonso stick out, all marshalled by the screaming general Jamie Carragher – but none of them, not even Carragher, cared as deeply or wore the responsibility as heavily as Gerrard.Under his ever-encroaching hairline (how Wayne Rooney must look on in envy), his is the most relentlessly furrowed brow in football. That is why he would do right to retire.Unless David James is his accountant, he doesn’t need the cash of a lucrative move to the States, Qatar or anywhere else. Nor, I believe, after a career spent caring more than many could imagine, would he have any great interest in an effectively meaningless project elsewhere. He lacks the insouciant artistry of Henry, the easy demeanour of Lampard. And, on the evidence of this season, his famed fight would appear to be on the wane.The whole Liverpool team, not to mention Brendan Rodgers, have played as if in a semi-permanent state of shellshock this term, unable to genuinely expunge the dismay of losing last season’s league title. Gerrard has been the epitome of that: his legs creaking, his radar awry, his ability to inspire those around him with superhuman efforts dwindling.The club, for so long reliant upon him to drive it forward, needs to regroup and rebuild without him. And he, with the dream of a Premier League winner’s medal finally dead, needs a rest. For Gerrard, and for Liverpool, the cord needs to be cut. 1 Steven Gerrard last_img read more