Redemption in the Eternal City, a double dose of the Dubs and a Westmeath GAA legend's cottage on Room To Improve - it's your guide to the best of the weekend's TV fare.


How quickly hopes can evaporate. Heading to Scotland on the back of a blinding light of Southern Hemisphere-slaying optimism, Ireland came home under a jet-black cloud.

The Grand Slam and Triple Crown went up in smoke at Murrayfield but the championship can still be snaffled. A successful march on Rome against an Italian side helmed by Limerick man Conor O’Shea is an absolute must. And a four-try bonus point would get things right back on track.

Wales really toiled for an hour at Stadio Olimpico before the impressive home defence tired and gave out.

“It has been a weird week,” Conor Murray said on Thursday. It could get a whole lot weirder if this trip turns sour.

The Azzurri will be dogged and brave on home soil but anything less than victory would be an utter catastrophe for the Irish. The safety net has been pulled away; we’re in do-or-die territory from here until March.

Over in Wales Eddie Jones brings his England gunslingers to town, with the Australian casually pouring some petrol onto the Millennium Stadium cauldron ahead of kick-off.

“If they start throwing daffodils during the warm-up or make us stand out there for 15 minutes or close or open the roof, perhaps have an oscillating roof, what else could they do?,” he said, blowing raspberries and kicking stones as he ran down the street.

The Welsh were unimpressive last week but they do like to look their best when the neighbours come to town. England can expect a hot reception.

Where to watch it: Italy v Ireland, RTE2/UTV, Saturday, 2.25pm

Wales v England, RTE2/BBC1, Saturday, 4.50pm

Live RTE Sport online blog


It’s an absolute feast of Gaelic games action this weekend, with the leagues back with a bang and the annual pre-championship shadow-boxing really starting to rattle.

The Dubs have a Croker double-header to sink their teeth into, with Ger Cunningham’s youthful hurlers getting a swing at All-Ireland champs Tipperary in their Division 1A opener.

After that the Sky Blues’ footballers swagger back to HQ looking to protect an astonishing unbeaten run in league and championship when they take on Tyrone.

Not since the two-point loss to Kerry on 1 March 2015 have Jim Gavin’s men been overturned – what better motivation for Mickey Harte and Co then to squash a run approaching a two-year milestone?

Throwing in at the same time is a humdinger in Austin Stack Park, with Kerry hosting Sam Maguire’s eternal bridesmaids Mayo in a tasty opener, while Clare begin life without Davy Fitz at Pairc Ui Rinn against Cork.

Your channel-hopping skills will have to be at expert level to catch all that but don’t fret, League Sunday ties all the action up neatly with highlights of all the weekend’s games – though over on RTE1 at the same time Dessie Dolan is looking to renovate his Moate cottage on Room To Improve.

The GAA or Dessie’s cottage? It’s like Sophie’s Choice.

Where to watch it: Dublin v Tipperary, eir Sport 1, Saturday, 5.0pm

Dublin v Tyrone, eir Sport 1, Saturday, 7.0pm

Kerry v Mayo, eir Sport 2HD, Saturday, 7.0pm

Cork v Clare, eir Sport 2, Saturday, 7.0pm

League Sunday, RTE2, Sunday, 9.30pm

Room To Improve, RTE1, Sunday, 9.30pm


Nine months ago Andrea Bocelli strolled into the Kingpower Stadium and serenaded the Premier League champions.

It was a gloriously surreal moment; Leicester City had pulled off one of the most unlikely title triumphs of all time. Maybe Claudio Ranieri, so serenely calm throughout the adventure, had Mark Twain in mind as the celebrations roared around him: "I don't like to commit myself about heaven and hell - I have friends in both places".

The Italian has been around long enough to know how fickle this game is; he was sacked after leading Chelsea to their highest league finish in 49 years and the Champions League semi-finals.

Now his team are in freefall.  Time to say goodbye? Not according to the board. "The entire club is, and will remain, united behind its manager and behind its players,” a club statement read midweek.

That could also be construed as the dreaded ‘vote of confidence’ but either way, the champions need points – and fast.

Swansea have vastly improved since Paul Clement replaced Bob Bradley. Three wins in their last six is good going considering they faced Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City in that period and they were only denied a point at the Etihad last week by a last-gasp Jesus strike.

They’re tied on 21 points with Leicester going into this, one clear of Hull in the drop zone. If results go against them, Leicester could finish this weekend bottom of the league. It’s the ultimate six-pointer at the Liberty Stadium.

Where to watch it: Swansea City v Leicester City, Sky Sports 1, Sunday, 4.0pm


It’s that time of year when everything is viewed through the prism of the looming Cheltenham Festival but Irish Gold Cup day at Leopardstown is a terrific card in its own right and provides a top-class precursor to the Prestbury Park showpiece.

The only race meeting in Ireland to feature four Grade Ones on one day should provide plenty of clues for next month too, with all eyes on the three-mile feature

Carlingford Lough is chasing a third Irish Gold Cup on the trot but he’s up against the likes of Minella Rocco – also owned by JP McManus and a possible entry for the Cheltenham Gold Cup – Empire of Dirt and favourite Don Poli, another who could attract support for the big one in March.

Willie Mullins is mob-handed and should find some cheer after the double Festival blow to Faugheen and Min on a day of glamour and colour that really is one of the jewels in the crown of the National Hunt season.

Where to watch it: Leopardstown Irish Gold Cup, RTE1, Sunday, 2.10pm


21.6 million – The amount of euros the Irish Greyhound Board is currently in debt, a situation that has led to the proposed sale of Harold’s Cross Stadium, and a huge backlash from owners and breeders opposing it.


“To go in over two or three months and turn the whole ship around and to win X, Y or Z – it isn’t Houdini at all I am. But let’s see what happens." – Davy Fitzgerald warns Wexford fans not to expect miracles this summer.

“Leicester are back. I'd have settled for winning the FA Cup and the Champions League at the beginning of the season.” – Eternal optimist Gary Lineker takes heart from struggling Leicester’s dour FA Cup fourth-round replay defeat of Derby County.

“Too mouthy, but they can’t back it up. We were brought up on hard work and then you talk afterwards.” – Ronan O’Gara sticks the boot in to Scotland before Ireland’s clash in Edinburgh. He probably wishes he hadn’t...

“"I feel good, not great. I don't think I will ever feel great because it's three back surgeries, four knee operations...” – The once indestructible Tiger Woods is feeling old and weary.

"Never before have we had a venue like this with so much seating, so big with the facilities around it, with corporate boxes and it's pretty, pretty amazing." - Kiwi competitor David Fagan relishes the incomparable prestige of... the World Shearing and Woolhandling Championships, which kicked off in New Zealand on Wednesday.


Wales v England, Six Nations U20s, BBC2 Wales, 7:15pm;
Munster v Dragons, Pro12, TG4, 7:35pm;
Glasgow Warriors v Scarlets, Pro12, Sky Sports 3, 7:35pm
Ulster v Edinburgh, Pro12, BBC2, 7;35pm

Espanyol v Real Sociedad, La Liga, Sky Sports 5, 7:45pm

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Sky Sports 4, 8pm


Maybank Championship, Sky Sports 4, 2:30am;
AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Sky Sports 4, 6pm

Italy v Ireland, Six Nations,RTE2/UTV, 2:25pm;
Wales v England, Six Nations, RTE2/BBC1, 4:50pm
Wales v England, Women’s Six Nations, Sky Sports 3, 11:30am

Arsenal v Hull City, Premier League, Sky Sports 1, 12:30pm;
Real Betis v Valencia, La Liga, Sky Sports 4, noon;
Liverpool v Tottenham, Premier League, BT Sport 1, 5:30pm;
Athletic Bilbao v Deportivo La Coruna, La Liga, Sky Sports 2, 5:30pm;
Osasuna v Real Madrid, La Liga, Sky Sports 2, 7:45pm;

St Vincent’s v Slaughtneil, All-Ireland Club SFC semi-final, TG4, 2pm;
Corofin v Dr Crokes, All-Ireland Club SFC semi-final, TG4, 4pm;
Dublin v Tipperary, Allianz Hurling League, eir Sport 1, 5pm;
Dublin v Tyrone, Allianz Football League, eir Sport 1, 7pm;
Kerry v Mayo, Allianz Football League, eir Sport 2HD, 7pm;
Cork v Clare, Allianz Hurling League, eir Sport 2, 7pm


Maybank Championship, Sky Sports 4, 2:30am

Villarreal v Malaga, La Liga, Sky Sports 3, 11am;

Hearts v Hibernian, Scottish Cup 5th round, Sky Sports 2, 12:30pm
Rangers v Greenock, Scottish Cup 5th round, Sky Sports 2, 3pm
Burnley v Chelsea, Premier League, Sky Sports 1, 1:30pm
Swansea City v Leicester City, Premier league, Sky Sports 1, 4pm
FAI Junior Cup highlights, eir Sport 1, 1:30pm
Leganes v Sporting Gijon, La Liga, Sky Sports 2, 3:15pm
Las Palmas v Sevilla, La Liga, Sky Sports 2, 5:30pm
Atletico Madrid v Celta Vigo, La Liga, Sky Sports 1, 7:45pm

France v Scotland, Six Nations, RTE2/BBC1, 3pm
Italy v Ireland, Women’s Six Nations, RTE2, 1pm
Belvedere v St Michael', Leinster Schools quarter-final, eir Sport 1, 3pm

Kilkenny v Waterford, Allianz Hurling League, TG4, 2m, followed by deferred coverage of Roscommon v Donegal, Allianz Football League

League Sunday, RTE2, 9.30pm

Horse Racing
Irish Gold Cup, Leopardstown, RTE 1, 2:10pm

AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, Sky Sports 4, 6pm