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Leinster’s magnificent obsession can also be a burden

Leinster are victims of their own success; Galway footballers are finding their groove; and Shane Lowry can be proud of his season so far


Reaching a third successive Champions Cup final is, Gerry Thornley writes, “quite an achievement in its own right”, but if Leinster don’t satisfy their “magnificent obsession for a fifth star” when they come up against Toulouse on Saturday, does that mean their season should be deemed a failure? That’s how they and their supporters will view it, but, Gerry argues, that “seems an excessively high barometer”. Leinster are, he says, “victims of their own success” to the point where they “don’t get the credit they deserve”. And whatever happens on Saturday, their forwards coach Robin McBryde insists he’ll remain a contented man. “Sometimes losing and winning doesn’t determine how happy I am. I’m happy.” Still, a fifth star would be nice. “We’ll give it a good crack,” he vows.

Hopefully there’ll be no contentious refereeing decisions, but if there are Owen Doyle will be on the case. For now he’s answering readers’ questions on the laws of the game.

In Gaelic games, Michael Murphy looks back at Galway’s victory over Derry at the weekend, the sending off of Derry’s Gareth McKinless proving to be a pivotal moment. But even though they ended up with a man advantage, Michael was still mightily impressed by Galway.

Malachy Clerkin would be more impressed by Clare’s hurlers if they developed a “ruthless streak” - and that’s all he reckons they’re missing. They should have had “the afternoon wrapped up in a bow long before the end” of their game against Waterford, but they’ve yet to develop “a habit of killing off matches when they’re on top”.

Shelbourne killed off Stephen Kenny’s hopes of a first point since he took over last week as manager of St Patrick’s Athletic, Gavin Cummiskey at Richmond Park to see Evan Caffrey score a 96th minute winner for Damien Duff’s league leaders.

Philip Reid, meanwhile, reflects on what has been a very positive season for Shane Lowry so far, his eighth top 10 finish in a Major last Sunday moving him from 16th to 10th in the FedEx Cup standings and 43rd to 33rd in the world rankings.

Ian O’Riordan hears from Belfast swimmer Conor Ferguson who is aiming to qualify for the Paris Olympics, having missed out on Rio and Tokyo by an agonising half a second.

And Brian O’Connor looks ahead to Luke Comer’s appeal against losing his trainer’s licence which gets under way at Irish racing’s HQ tomorrow.

TV Watch: It’s the final week of the Giro d’Italia and after Monday’s rest day Tadej Pogacar takes a near seven minute lead in to stage 16, a 202km mountainous trip from Livigno to Santa Cristina Valgardena (Eurosport 1, 10am-4.45). There must be easier ways to make a living.

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