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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 11 May 2021

A detailed blueprint to fix Manchester United and more of the week's best sportswriting

Plus, a profile of USA Women’s star Rose Lavelle.

Old Trafford (file pic).
Old Trafford (file pic).
Image: Nigel French

1. First, I went to see Keith. Keith is 60. He has a lot of white hair and, in July, was limping slightly ahead of knee surgery. At ESPN’s New York studios, Keith was carrying around the hat Jose Canseco wore when a fly ball bounced off his head and went over the wall, because this is the kind of baseball relic that Keith must own. From time to time, he glanced at his phone to see how many rescue dogs his tweets were saving.

Bryan Curtis on how Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann’s ‘SportsCenter’ Changed TV Forever.

2. A little after 10pm, there’s not one set of footsteps to be heard on the pavements of Donetsk.

It’s an hour before the nightly military curfew starts but no-one’s taking any chances and the city is already slipping into a state of quiet. It won’t stir again till 4am tomorrow, once the curfew is lifted.

Donetsk is a city that once bristled with promise. Situated in the east of Ukraine close to Russia’s borders, it is now a key location in a bitter conflict that shows little sign of easing.

About 13,000 people have been killed, and the United Nations estimates at least 1.3 million have fled their homes. Many of those who remain in Donetsk appear weakened by years of isolation and its football team – the heart of the city’s social life – has fled.

BBC Sport’s Robert O’Connor looks at Shakhtar Donetsk: The Ukrainian serial winners forced to flee from war.

3. Perched high in the upper tier of Croke Park’s Davin Stand, Enda Stenson couldn’t believe what he was seeing in the dying moments of the All-Ireland football final.

Most eyes in the stadium were drawn to Dublin’s Dean Rock and his bid to seal a dramatic win with a free from under the Cusack Stand, but Stenson was more preoccupied with Tommy Walsh gripping hold of his Kerry team-mate David Moran on the endline.

The two tallest players in green-and-gold and life-long friends were readying themselves for a left-field approach to defending the scoreboard, with 6ft 4in Moran primed to take to the skies should the ball land in his vicinity.

The aerial antics were ultimately not required and after the pictures spread around social media like wildfire, many credited Kerry for their quick-thinking, while others wondered if it had ever been done before.

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RTE Sport’s Declan Whooley explains how David Moran and Tommy Walsh’s outside the box thinking last Sunday revived memories of a controversial 1994 Leitrim County final

4. Rose Lavelle is, in the words of her agent, Remy Cherin, “fucking ruthless.” You wouldn’t think it looking at her, standing 5-foot-4 and slight, and you wouldn’t think it speaking to her. Lavelle, the starting center midfielder for the United States women’s national team, is a product of Cincinnati. She’s Midwest nice. Sweet, sometimes shy—the type to give a little smile to strangers when they pass in the street. The term Lavelle uses is “extroverted introvert.” Her best friend, she’s said many times, is her white-and-tan English bulldog, Wilma Jean Wrinkles. Lavelle hates confrontation. Like, really hates it. Which leads me to realize, a couple of minutes into our conversation in July, that Lavelle might also hate personal questions. Or interviews in general. Though she’d never tell me that. It would be much too confrontational. “I’m not really ballsy at all,” Lavelle says, before realizing that’s not entirely true. “In my normal life.”

The Ringer’s Haley O’Shaughnessy profiles USA Women’s star Rose Lavelle.

5. It was another rejection that was as damning for the club as it was damaging to the team.

Earlier this year, when Manchester United made initial steps to sign a midfielder of the type they now so badly need, it was made clear this wasn’t the type of move the player was interested in.

“It’s not the right time,” he said. An agent was much more blunt.

“We can’t put him in that situation right now.”

United, one of the greatest names in football history, did not currently represent a good career move.

The Independent’s Miguel Delaney on a detailed blueprint to fix Manchester United.

Murray Kinsella, Gavan Casey and Bernard Jackman make the case for Ireland winning… and tanking at the Rugby World Cup, as we gear up for Wales again: 

Source: The42 Rugby Weekly/SoundCloud

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