Irish Olympic Gymnast Kieran Behan who was presented with a cheque for €20,000 by the Olympic Council of Ireland yesterday. INPHO/Morgan Treacy
Early Doors

The Morning Score: Thursday

Here’s what you need to know this morning.

EVERY WEEKDAY MORNING, brings you the stories you need to know before 9am.

1. #CARLING CUP Liverpool booked their place in a first Wembley final since the cream suits of 1996. The Reds drew 2-2 with Manchester City at Anfield.  Here’s how it happened.

2. #EL CLASICO Barcelona and Real Madrid played out a thrilling 2-2 draw a the Nou Camp. After first-half strikes from Pedro and Dani Alves, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema scored twice in the space of four minutes to draw Madrid leve.

But Barca resisted their efforts to grab a winner and held on for a draw, aided by a dubious red card for Sergio Ramos in the dying minutes, to march into the Copa del Rey semi-finals.

3. #SIX NATIONS Wales will travel to Dublin next week for their tournament opener without two key squad members.

Warren Gatland confirmed that both prop Gethin Jenkins and fly-half Rhys Priestland will miss the start of the RBS 6 Nations campaign on Sunday week with respective knee injuries.

The Wales boss was speaking at the launch of the tournament in London. Paul O’Connell and Declan Kidney represented Ireland along with women’s skipper Fiona Coughlan. Here’s some of the pictures from the day.

4. #EURO2012 The FAI yesterday confirmed details of warm-up games for Giovanni Trapattoni’s side ahead of the European Championships.

Ireland’s Euro 2012 hopefuls will play friendlies against Bosnia and Herzogovina and Hungary either side of a week’s warm-weather training, probably Montecatini in Tuscany.

5. #HEINEKEN CUP Irish rugby fans yesterday learned the dates for the European Cup quarter-finals.  Munster and Ulster will face off in their Heineken Cup quarter-final on Easter Sunday, 8 April.

And it will be an early start for those travelling to Limerick from north and south, with the game slated to kick off  at 1.45pm.

Defending champions, Leinster will welcome Cardiff Blues to the Aviva Stadium the day before. They face off at Lansdowne Road  on 7 April, at 5.45pm kick-off. The full schedule can be seen here.

6. #AUSTRALIAN OPEN Maria Sharapova avenged her defeat in the Wimbledon final to Petra Kvitova with a hard-fought three-set victory over the Czech in the last four of the Australian Open.

Sharapova will now face Victoria Azarenka. Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer’s much anticipated semi-final in the men’s draw is starting around now.

7. #GOLF Rory McIlroy has started his season as he means to go on. He’s in the lead in Abu Dhabi after his first round with Tiger Woods and Luke Donald.

The 22-year-old had a hat-trick of birdies from the 11th and istied with Robert Karlsson at five under par at the top of the leaderboard.

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