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Dublin: 5 °C Monday 17 February, 2020

The Morning Score: Tuesday

The transfer window suddenly gets a bit more interesting – apart for Robbie Keane.

1. #TRANSFER WINDOW Sunderland are facing life without talismanic striker Darren Bent after Niall Quinn accepted a £18m bid from Aston Villa for the England man.

The Black Cats chairman is expected to hold out for £20m up front while Bent has handed in a transfer request.

The bid signals Randy Lerner’s support for under-pressure boss Gerard Houllier.

2. #JANUARY SALES Birmingham are focusing their search for a striker on Ibrox as Kenny Miller looks to top their wish list.

Alex McLeish says the Blues have given up their pursuit of Ireland skipper because of the Dubliner’s £83,000 per week wage demands.

Richard Dunne meanwhile may be heading to Arsenal on loan for the rest of the season if Arsene Wenger has his way, reportedly.

3. #DOWN UNDER Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray both profited from retirements earlier as the top seeds continued to make easy progress through the first round of the Australian Open.

World No 1 Nadal won 11 games on the trot before the Brazilian gave in to a knee injury. Murray was also well in control of his match against Karol Beck when that withdrawal arrived.

Aussie favourite Sam Stosur dropped just two games in her opening assignment this morning.

Read Stephen Kelly’s preview of the tournament here.

4. YES WAY, JOSE It seems Jose Maria Olazabal is expected to be named as the new captain of Europe’s Ryder Cup team today.

The 44-year-old Spaniard has been the only name mentioned for next year’s defence of the trophy in Chicago, and is the overwhelming favourite for the post when the European Tour’s tournament committee meets in Abu Dhabi.

5. #RED MIST The post mortem continues in Limerick and elsewhere as Munster count the cost of missing out on the Heineken Cup quarte-finals for the first time in over a dozen years.

But chief executive Garrett Fitzgerald last night backed his coaching staff, including Tony McGahan, according to Simon Lewis in the Irish Examiner.

Former Thomond Park favourites have called for a back-room re-shuffle however.

6. #GOOCH Colm Cooper will be fit to face Nemo Rangers on January 30 in the AIB Munster Club SFC final.

There was fears that the Kerry star had broken a bone in his face during training but an X-ray revealed he his fit enough to line out.

7. #SIX NATIONS Declan Kidney will announce his 30-man Six Nations squad at lunchtime tomorrow.

Leinster’s Jamie Heaslip is the only injury concern with the No 8 still recovering from an ankle injury.

8. #RACING Star jockey Brian O’Connell is expecting a real battle as Dunguib returns to action in Sunday’s BHP Insurances Irish Champion Hurdle at Leopardstown.

9. GOOOALLL! Yesterday we admited that Andres Iniesta’s strike against Malaga on Sunday night in Barcelona was our favourite goal of the weekend.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s effort against Lecce wasn’t all that bad wither, admittedly.

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