O’Donnell hails Penney influence

first_imgTommy O’Donnell has saluted the role Munster coach Rob Penney has played in his breakthrough season that he hopes will end with a debut for Ireland. The 25-year-old flanker was voted Munster’s player of the year for 2012-13 on the strength of several outstanding performances, and having been selected for Ireland’s tour to North America he is on the brink of winning his first cap – even if Penney does believe he should be on the British and Irish Lions tour. “Rob would be a bit biased because he sees me every day, but it’s great to have his confidence,” O’Donnell said. “He’s like that as a coach – he just wants you to go out and have a lash, and that’s what I did this year. He backed me all the way.” Press Associationcenter_img O’Donnell added: “He’s coached Richie McCaw so knows what the back row is about. He also played there himself. “It was a real honour to get the player-of-the-year award at Munster. I didn’t really think about what it meant until the awards night itself. “When you hear the names of the lads who won it, you realise what a prestigious award it is. It meant a lot to me and was a great confidence boost.” O’Donnell hopes to make his name in the Tests against the United States and Canada as the squad prepares to depart Dublin on Saturday, with the first match staged in Houston on June 8. “It will be a new experience for me. I’ve been involved in under-age tours but this is something completely different. It has a different feel to it,” he said. “Hopefully I’ll be capped and everything will go well with me on the tour, but we can’t take the United States for granted. They’ve pumped a whole lot of money into their sevens team, which is getting better and better. “They have players who are based in Europe, so they have some quality guys who can mix it at world level. It will be tough. Canada will be the same – both are very direct teams who will be looking for a scalp.” last_img read more

Schuerrle gets hat-trick as Germany put seven past Gibraltar

first_imgAndre Schuerrle grabbed a hat-trick as Germany crushed Gibraltar 7-0 to move into second place in their Euro 2016 qualifying group.Max Kruse scored twice while Karim Bellarabi and Ilkay Gundogan also found the net after a dominant second half performance. Despite being unranked, the home side more than held their own against the world champions in an entertaining first half.They went close through efforts from Liam Walker and Adam Priestley early on with Roman Weidenfeller given a stiff test.Gibraltar rode their luck though with skipper Bastian Schweinsteiger missing a penalty after his weak spot-kick was saved by Jordan Perez.The visitors eventually broke the deadlock when former Chelsea winger Schuerrle pounced on a defensive mistake by Ryan Casciaro to slot the ball in from a narrow angle.Gibraltar should have equalised minutes later when Jake Gosling had a chance from close range but his first-time effort was blocked. –last_img read more