Ray Houghton insists Roy Keane is not expecting equal billing alongside Martin O’Neill when the duo take charge of Ireland. Houghton’s former Ireland team-mate Niall Quinn agrees that Keane will not become disruptive to O’Neill’s plans. “I’m not worried that he’s going to want to say different things to Martin O’Neill, I think I’m more looking forward to him getting out there, bringing his presence,” the former Arsenal, Manchester City and Sunderland striker told Sky Sports. “It’s great news for Ireland. People have had opinions about Roy and Martin for many years and we can sit back now and watch over the next couple of years and hopefully it will be a very exciting time.” Former Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given also welcomed the double appointment, writing on Twitter: “Good luck to Martin O’Neill & Roy Keane in new jobs @FAIreland lots of different opinions but all that matters is we qualify for the euros” Current national team players also had their say on Twitter. Hull midfielder David Meyler wrote on his account: “Delighted Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane have taken over. Exciting times ahead for Irish Football!” Sean St Ledger, the Leicester defender, wrote: “Exciting times for Irish football with the appointment of Martin o Neill and Roy Keane!” Keane’s return to the fold has given way to inevitable speculation over his likely influence on the dressing room, but Houghton, who was part of the team tasked by the FAI with searching for a new manager, has no concerns. The former Ireland midfielder spoke at length with Keane during the negotiations and told Sky Sports News: “His enthusiasm, his knowledge, what he thought the Irish team could do was hugely surprising to me. He was very, very good. “He knows what he wants, where he wants to take them alongside Martin. He knows his position: Martin will be the manager; Roy will assist Martin. So there’s no grey area there – it’s not like Roy’s going to be on a level term. “Martin will be the number one and Roy will do everything in his power to help him. “It could be a good learning curve for Roy.” Asked about Keane’s past strained relations with the FAI board, Houghton said: “I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. It took 30 seconds to put everything out the way and now it’s down to business. “We have to leave the past in the past. We can’t do anything about it. We can’t change the past, what we can change is the future. “For Irish football, it shows we’re going in the right direction. It’s exciting times. The next couple of years should be very, very good.” The Football Association of Ireland on Tuesday night confirmed O’Neill as the man to lead them into the Euro 2016 qualification campaign, with the forceful presence of Keane installed as his number two. The strong-willed Keane has been a force for both good and bad for Ireland in the past, with his infamous falling-out with the national team management at the 2002 World Cup a memory that overrides all the positive things he did on the pitch. Press Association
LAHORE (Reuters) – Bowling coach Waqar Younis wants Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) to formulate a policy to stop players from abruptly dropping the test format, the former captain said on Monday.Experienced quicks Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz quit test cricket last year to focus on the short formats and Pakistan’s bowling frailties were subsequently exposed in Australia where they lost both the test and Twenty20 series.“Of course you can’t stop anyone or force anyone. But there should be a policy by the board,” Waqar said in a video conference with reporters. “If a star player suddenly leaves, or drops a format, it’s a massive setback for the team. You’re forced to fast-track rookies, which is a big problem and we faced it in absence of Amir and Wahab.“I’m not saying we’d have won in Australia with them, but we could have done better, benefiting from their experience.”Waqar felt Pakistan needed a bigger pool of fast bowlers to cope with the demand of limited-overs cricket and was optimistic he could help create one. “The way cricket has expanded, having four-five fast bowlers is not enough,” he said.“You probably need four-five mature bowlers for test cricket. But for the shorter formats, you need a bigger pool of bowlers, who can share the massive workload. “Naseem (Shah), Musa (Khan), Haris (Rauf), Dilbar (Hussain)… if we can harness them with Amir, Wahab and (Mohammad) Abbas, I think we can have a battery of 8-10 fast bowlers.“And once we have that, we’d never be affected by anyone quitting abruptly and can rotate them. “Bench strength is crucial. You need to create a pool, which even those on the bench are match-winners themselves.”
David Oliver Joyce and Brendan Irvine are also in qualification action today.Joyce goes into the ring at around 4 and Irvine’s bout begins at around quarter to five. The Bray fighter lost 39-37 to Yana Alekseeva, who qualifies for the games in Rio this summer.Taylor now needs to finish in the last four in the Worlds to make the Olympics. Today’s defeat is the first time that she’s been beaten since 2011.
Portugal ended their Euro 2016 preparations in exceptional fashion on Wednesday evening, hitting seven past Estonia in a resounding win.They may have been up against less-than-impressive opponents, but A Seleccao defended solidly, and attacked with a creative chemistry which hinted at Portugal potentially being serious contenders for the entire Euros.Cristiano Ronaldo was obviously at the forefront of this display, although Ricardo Quaresma put in a performance which was verging on world class.Real Madrid star Ronaldo bagged a brace in the win, warming up for the Euros in irresistible style.You can watch both of Ronaldo’s goals below… 1 Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking to lead Portugal to Euro success