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Hutton should face Long investigation

"You could see in the first 10-to-15 minutes they tried very hard to kick Shane," said West Brom's Paul Scharner of the Aston Villa tactics that have put Shane Long out of the game for at least six weeks with a chipped bone in his knee.

That Alex McLeish's side may have targeted the Ireland striker is disgraceful and worthy of investigation.

Alan Hutton's kamikaze studded challenge on Long is a throwback to the bad old days. Had Hutton assaulted one of Manchester City's or Chelsea's expensive signings, McLeish would be rightly feeling the heat.

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You are assessing potential managers to take over from a sacked Sven-Goran Eriksson at Leicester City and have CVs from two Irishmen on your desk. On the one hand there's Martin O'Neill, who guided Leicester to the Premier League in the mid-90s and gave the supporters a few exciting years.

O'Neill went on to win three SPL titles with Glasgow Celtic before quitting the club to care for his ill wife.

Also in the in-tray is a file on Ireland and Manchester United legend Roy Keane. As a manager, he took Sunderland from low in the Championship to Premier League status but quit during his second season in the top flight with the club fighting relegation.

A tempestuous stint with Ipswich Town ended with Roy being let go in his second season in charge.

Neither Irishman may be offered the job, which could attract Mark Hughes.

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As the Race to Dubai hots up, Luke Donald is on course to achieve a unique double, to finish top of both the European and US PGA Tours in the same season.

Currently in poll position, Donald may not play in each remaining event, leaving a window open for Rory McIlroy to close the €1,312,826 prize-money gap that marks their first and second places. With his new agency, Conor Ridge's Horizon, in place, McIlroy expects to be increasing his sponsorship and advertising revenue. How the commercial switch might impact on his game remains to be seen.

McIlroy insists he's trying to catch Donald in the race. Despite the smoke screen blown out by a fed-up Chubby Chandler, McIlroy's decisive move in switching agents, when non-action might have been the easier course, should be read as forward thinking and courageous.

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Peter Canavan, the Tyrone icon who has stepped down as Errigal Ciaran manager, got a heads-up from Sinn Féin presidential nominee Martin McGuinness on RTé's Frontline debate on Monday.

According to McGuinness, Canavan pointed out that President Mary McAleese greeted players from Tyrone and Armagh on the pitch before the 2003 All-Ireland senior football final, none of whom could vote in the Irish Presidential election.

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The British Horseracing Authority was vague yesterday on when they will consider an appeal by Willie Mullins' and Paul Nicholls' jockey Ruby Walsh against the five-day ban he received for excessive use of the whip while racing at Aintree on Saturday.

As things stand, Ruby will be out from November 5-9 inclusive.

Surely more decisive action is now required to avoid a potentially embarrassing revolt among Walsh's racing colleagues.