OTB AM Newsround: McCarthy's new-look Ireland, 'Overrated' Premier League, Masterful McIlroy

Darren Cleary
Darren Cleary

10:47 19 Mar 2019

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James Collins believes the club form of the players bodes well for the Republic of Ireland.

They're back on the training pitch later as preparations ramp up ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifiers with Gibraltar and Georgia.

Collins himself is in fine form having scored 20 goals this season to help League One Luton Town establish a five-point lead at the top of the table.

Meanwhile, the FAI have refused to answer questions about the €100,000 loan given to the association by its CEO John Delaney.

They released a statement last night to say they has received a number of questions in relation to the loan.

Instead of responding to the queries directly the association reiterated their earlier statement.

They say: "The FAI is currently undertaking a full review of its executive governance and senior management structures.

"This review will be completed and all actions approved by early April when a full press conference will be held to reveal all outcomes.

"In the meantime, the Association reiterates that the bridging loan was made in the best interests of the FAI in 2017 when it experienced a short-term cash flow issue.

"The Board of the FAI has been kept fully informed in relation to this matter at all times."

James Collins in Ireland's camp ahead of their trip to Georgia.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic claims that the Premier League is over-rated.

Ibrahimovic played 4 seasons in the Eredivisie, 7 seasons in Italy's Serie A, 4 seasons in France's Ligue 1 and one season in LaLiga.

The striker also played for United, where he netted 17 goals in 28 games.

Zlatan reckons that the technical quality fo the Premier League is not near some other big leagues in Europe.

He told the Mirror: "It was exactly like I thought it was.

"It was very hyped, it was very intense, the pace was very high, it was good but the quality is a bit over-rated.

"Over-rated from a technical point of view. But it is high pace and intense and if you cannot handle those two things, you cannot survive."

Closer to home, Brian O'Driscoll has urged Irish rugby fans not to panic as the fallout to the poor Six Nations campaign continues.

A brutal defeat to England was followed by unconvincing wins over Italy and Scotland, Ireland overcame France before losing to Wales.

The Ireland legend feels all is not lost and reckons the conditions may have unsettled Joe Schmidt’s charges.

Rory McIlroy after his Players Championship success this weekend.

Rory McIlroy says his Players Championship victory felt like Christmas coming early.

4 back-nine birdies were key as the Ulsterman finished a shot clear of Jim Furyk to bridge a year long wait for a win at TPC Sawgrass:

This is McIlroy’s first Players Championship victory, his 15th on the PGA Tour title.

And finally this morning, a bird described as the "Lionel Messi" of pigeons has been sold for a record price of €1m at an auction.

Armando the pigeon has a race record that has "never been matched" and attracted bids from countries around the world.

The previous record for a bird sold in an online auction was €376,000 set in November.

Nikolaas Gy-sel-brecht chief executive of auction house Pipa, said the pigeon's race record made it so valuable.

The bird has been described as the "Lewis Hamilton of pigeons", but Mr Gy-sel-brecht suggested the comparison did not go far enough.

"I don't know how important Lewis Hamilton is in Formula One," he said. "Is he the best ever?

"Maybe Schumacher. This pigeon is the best ever."

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