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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 28 November, 2014

The Morning Score: Thursday

Messi restores our love of football, Higgins sees off the Rocket’s challenge, and Munster make plans without O’Connell and O’Leary.

1. #CHAMPIONS LEAGUE It wasn’t always the best advertisement for football but last night’s Champions League semi-final first leg between Real Madrid and Barcelona was rescued by a genuine touch of class from Lionel Messi.

The little Argentine finished off his mazy dribble in the 87th minute by coolly slotting past Iker Casillas to give Barca a 2-0 win at the end of a rather ill-tempered game.

Catch up with last night’s action with our minute-by-minute coverage here.

2. #MUNSTER Paul O’Connell has been left out of the squad for this weekend’s Amlin Challenge Cup semi-final at home to Harlequins.

O’Connell resumed training this week having spent three weeks on the sideline with an ankle injury which he picked up in the province’s Magners League win over Leinster at the start of the month.

But Tony McGahan has decided to omit his captain and Tomás O’Leary for Saturday’s game.

3. #CRUCIBLE World number one John Higgins booked a World Snooker Championship semi-final date against Mark Williams with a 13-10 win over Ronnie O’Sullivan in Sheffield last night.

Higgins trailed by seven frames to four at one stage yesterday afternoon but rallied in last night’s session, winning five frames to O’Sullivan’s two.

4. #PLAN Christy Cooney accepts the GAA needs to pull the finger out and get a proper development plan in place.

The Association president was prompted top action by Cavan’s demise as a senior hurling county.

5. #SO? Stephen Ireland’s misery-filled season is over after Newcastle’s medical staff ruled him out of the club’s final four games with an ankle problem.

The injury-prone 24-year-old has made just two substitute appearances for the Magpies since his loan move from Aston Villa in January.

6. #YOUTUBE If it’s Thursday, it must be our round-up of the week’s best online sports.

We’ll have stuff which is more low-brow than this.


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