Photo: © pixabay.com Tipperary’s Rachael Blackmore has become the first female jockey to claim the conditional riders title in her first full season as a professional.The 26 year old is one of the outstanding talents in Irish racing at present with 32 victories so far this seasonThe Killenaule native says she has a lot of people to thank for her success. Meanwhile, the jump season finale gets underway today as the Punchestown Festival starts in County Kildare.The first is off at 3.40pm.
Hope Powell has been sacked as manager of the England women’s football team.The 46-year-old had been in charge since 1998 but was criticized after England were eliminated in the group stages of Euro 2013 last month.England lost two matches and drew one in Sweden, their worst performance at a European Championship since 2001.FA general secretary Alex Horne said after “the disappointment” of Euro 2013, “the time is right to make a change and for a fresh outlook”.Powell’s England were losing finalists at Euro 2009 and reached the World Cup in 2007 and 2011, when they made it to the quarter-finals.Horne added: “Hope deserves a lot of credit for her commitment to developing the national teams over such a long period.“The high point was undoubtedly reaching the Uefa European Championship final four years ago. “Hope will always be welcome back at Wembley Stadium and [national football centre] St George’s Park and she leaves a strong legacy, having helped the FA build the women’s game to the strong position it is in today.”The FA will now look to recruit both a new head coach and a technical lead for women’s football.“We will be speaking to people from across the game both domestically and internationally before making any appointments,” said Horne.It is understood the FA is aiming to have someone in place for the World Cup qualifier against Belarus on 21 September, although England Under-19 boss Mo Marley could act as cover.Following England’s early exit in Sweden this summer, Powell was criticised for picking injured and out-of-form players. And former England internationals Faye White and Sue Smith both said players might respond positively if there was a different coach in charge for the 2015 World Cup campaign.Powell responded by saying the domestic game needed more investment if the national team wanted to compete with leading nations
Ghana goalkeeper Adam Larsen Kwarasey is to join the Portland Timbers of the MLS according a report in Norwegian newspaper Verdan Gang(VG).The player has been club searching since he ended his seven-year stay with Norwegian team Stromgodset whom he led to a first league title in almost four decades in 2013 whilst being voted Norwegian goalkeeper of the year.Kwarasey has been inactive since the end of the Norwegian league in September and will provide competition for Timbers goalkeepers Andrew Webber and Jake Gleeson as they fight for playoff spot in the Western Conference of the league.Kwarasey is temporarily retired from the national team of Ghana but could make a return by the start of the AFCON 2015 in Equatorial Guinea.