SOCCER

Ireland’s hopes of qualifying for the Under-21 European Championships have suffered a major blow.

They lost 2-nil to an under-strength Italy side in Pisa.

The result sees Ireland replaced by Italy at the top of Group 1, and sees Jim Crawford side in a battle to be among the best runners-up.

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Enda Stevens says the Ireland international ‘bubble’ remains as strong as ever.

The squad have been hit by two positive COVID-19 cases during this international window.

But Stevens says regulations around the team are as strong as those in place in the Premier League

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Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for coronavirus.

Portugal’s record goalscorer produced the result while on international duty and will miss their Nations League game with Sweden.

The Portuguese federation say the 35-year old is asymptomatic and has already begun isolating.

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Cork City will look to inch closer to SSE Airtricity Premier Division safety tonight.

The Leesiders welcome Dundalk to Turner’s Cross where there’s a 7.45 start.

GAELIC GAMES

Casement Park has taken a major step towards its long-awaited redevelopment.

Northern Ireland’s infrastructure minister Nichola Mallon has recommended planning approval to renovate the Belfast stadium.

It’s been left idle since June 2013, and has been the victim of a number of legal and political stumbling blocks.

Minister Mallon’s decision has paved the way for a new 34-thousand capacity Casement Park to be built.

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Limerick full-back Mike Casey is a doubt for their Hurling Championship campaign.

The Na Piarsaigh clubman sustained a knee injury in a challenge game with Galway at the weekend.

Limerick face Clare in a Munster quarter-final on October 25th that doubles as the Allianz League final.

RUGBY

France have been hit by a pair of withdrawals from their squad ahead of their Six Nations game with Ireland.

Bordeaux duo Matthieu Jalibert and Cameron Woki have both picked up injuries.

They’ll be replaced by Toulon’s Gabin Villière and Pau’s Baptiste Pesenti.

Ireland play France in their final Six Nations game in Paris on Hallowe’en.

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Italy scrum-half Stephen Varney has tested positive for COVID-19, just eleven days before their Six Nations game at the Aviva.

The Gloucester player is asymptomatic and isolating from the rest of the squad.



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