Captain Bryan Sheehan lifts  the cup after South Kerry’s victory over Killarney Legion in the  Kerry senior football championship final replay in 2015. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Divisional structure ensures players from Kerry's smallest clubs can prosper at elite level

 Roscommon footballer Enda Smith pictured the launch of AIB’s four-part miniseries, Behind The Gates at St Audoen’s Gate in Dublin.  Photograph:  Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Discredited financial institutions no longer share the ethos or values of the association

  Incoming Dublin senior hurling manager Pat Gilroy: he implemented a mentality of essential toughness of mind and soul  in Dublin’s senior footballers when he took over in 2009. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Over the past decade things began to go terribly right for Dublin GAA’s county board

Undated painting of boxing pioneer Tom Molineaux.

Tom Molineaux’s strange life story is every bit as fascinating as his career as a pugilist

 Darren Randolph makes one of his  second-half saves in Cardiff. Photograph: Inpho/Ryan Byrne

Middlesbrough goalkeeper believes Ireland will not fear any playoff opponents

James McClean celebrates after his strike gave Ireland a 1-0 win over Wales in Cardiff and a place in the World Cup qualification play-offs. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

Victory deepens O’Neill’s reputation for producing huge results against tough sides

Martin O’Neill saw his Ireland side qualify for the World Cup playoffs thanks to a 1-0 win over Wales in Cardiff. Photograph: Geoff Caddick/AFP

Martin O’Neill’s side deliver another performance of limitless bravery and passion

Wales and the Republic of Ireland line up before the clash in the Aviva Stadium which ended a scoreless draw last March. Photograph:  Ian Walton/Getty Images

Welsh fans see game as a kind of coronation for a golden generation of footballers

Chris Coleman gives instructions to Aaron Ramsey: “We always have a game plan and our players are very good at executing it.”  Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Former Fulham manager has overseen a dramatic improvement in Welsh fortunes

Roy Keane: For a man who has been so consistently scathing of the FAI, he has worn a lot of their track suits. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Long campaign comes down to Monday night’s smash-and-grab mission in Wales

Colm Cooper celebrates Kerry’s win over Cork in the 2007 All-Ireland final.  Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Autobiography reveals skilful Kingdom hero was also a contrary, raging competitor

 Daryl Murphy  scores his   second goal against Moldova. Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Martin O’Neill must now go for broke against Wales in Cardiff on Monday night

San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold (58), quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) and free safety Eric Reid (35) kneel in protest during the playing of the national anthem before a NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals in Santa Clara, California, in October 2016. Photograph: Kirby Lee

NFL reaction to Donald Trump’s criticism can’t disguise poor treatment of quarterback

James McCarthy, Paul Flynn, Bernard Brogan and Dean Rock: they  all grew up in an era when All-Ireland success routinely eluded Dublin.  Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

But splitting the county should no more be an option in Dublin than it is for Kerry

Mayo stand for the national antheym before the start of the All-Ireland final against Dublin. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

But of all the ‘outsider’ counties, Rochford’s men remain best-placed to win in 2018

All-Ireland champions: Dean Rock kicks Dublin’s winning point against Mayo. Photograph: Ray McManus/Sportsfile via Getty

Champions win 27th All-Ireland – and have Kerry’s record in their sights

Dublin celebrate after narrowly beating Mayo 1-17 to 1-16  in Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Jim Gavin’s men first Dublin team to win three All-Ireland titles in a row since 1923

Jim Gavin: The demeanour – the deliberation, the composure, the never-under-any-circumstances-be-ruffled drives some people around the twist.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

The Dublin manager keeps his emotions in check as his team make 50,000 people go berserk

 Liam O’Neill: “We saw what the success had brought to the people of Mayo and to the guys and the potential was there to push it on to the next stage.” Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

1985 manager Liam O’Neill’s forward thinking stirred something in his adopted county

Mayo’s Diarmuid O’Connor after receiving a cut to his face during the Connacht championship quarter-final against Sligo. at MacHale Park, Castlebar. Photograph: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile/Getty

Ballintubber man says Mayo still striving to ‘nail’ a complete team performance

Stephen Coen: centre-back is his favourite position, but he is comfortable at midfield and has the mobility to do a man-marking job. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Mayo player sometimes starts, but can be held in reserve to put out whatever fires start

Stephen Rochford: “We look to set ourselves up take the game to the opposition – and invariably look to win the bloody game.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

But Mayo revealed their true potential the day they obliterated Roscommon in the replay

Tom Parsons in action in last year’s All-Ireland SFC final replay: “It is absolutely worth it every time you pull on that jersey with the magic support we have” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Dropped from the panel for three years he has made his way back via Cardiff and Dublin

Special moment. Galway manager Micheál Donoghue shows the Liam MacCarthy Cup to his father Miko Donoghue  in Ballinasloe. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Jackie Tyrrell’s new book a revealing insight into Cats’ mindset during the Cody era

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill on the sideline during the World Cup qualifier against Serbia at the Aviva Stadium. Phortograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Defeat to Serbia leaves Ireland’s World Cup hopes hanging by a thread

Joe Canning of Galway celebrates  at Croke Park in Dublin. Photograph:  (Photo By Eoin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images

From the first whistle in Croke Park, Galway gave a dazzling tirade of near-perfect hurling

Galway’s Johnny Coen lifts the Liam MacCarthy trophy after beating Waterford in the GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Both teams hungry for win after long wait but Galway’s desire was greater

 Iggy Clarke with a hurley from his playing days at his home in Oranmore. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Hustle of hurling hid the former Galway hurler from the solitariness of the priesthood

Blue Sunday: Dublin fans react to Con O’Callaghan’s goal against Tyrone. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Sideline Cut: The All-Ireland relies on the pull of home. Anything else is daft

Francis Forde in action against Dublin in 2002. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Recent years prove resilient Tribesmen have a squad capable of All-Ireland success

Galway’s Pádraig Mannion in action against Tipperary’s Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher. “The next day you’d be hoping for a more complete team performance.”   Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

‘Think of me when you are on the pitch’ the last words legend spoke to defender

Galway GAA: Micheál Donoghue celebrates after victory over Tipperary in the All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park this month. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Donoghue: ‘We sat down, had a chat, and the players knew exactly what we wanted’

David Burke celebrates the semi-final win over Tipperary. “Nobody can complain that Waterford and Galway weren’t the best teams in the championship this year.”  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Captain says battle at midfield could prove pivotal against final rivals Waterford

 Con O’Callaghan fires past Tyrone goalkeeper  Niall Morgan  to score Dublin’s first goal at Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

O’Callaghan’s early goal sets tone as Dublin wreak havoc on Ulster champions’ system

Mayo’s Keith Higgins, Séamus O’Shea, Aidan O’Shea,  Colm Boyle and David Clarke close down Paul Geaney of Kerry during the All-Ireland SFC semi-final replay at Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Stephen Rochford’s side end 21-year-wait to beat Kingdom and reach another final

Floyd Mayweather Jr and Conor McGregor: There’s a small but real possibility that this spectacle could go awry, that it was madnesss to allow a man who doesn’t box go into a ring like this. Photograph: John Locher/AP

Hopefully things won’t go awry and the Dubliner will emerge unharmed from fight

Stephen Rochford: the Mayo manager has been subjected to a barrage of criticism for putting O’Shea on Donaghy. But Kerry’s full-forward line were restricted to just  0-5 from play. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Rochford’s ploy of putting O’Shea on Donaghy could be deemed a partial success

Kerry’s David Moran and Mayo’s Diarmuid O’Connor. Photograph: Inpho/Ryan Byrne

All-Ireland semi-final replay preview: Croke Park, Saturday, 3pm

Donal Vaughan celebrates scoring his  goal against Donegal in 2013. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Misunderstood and almost unnoticed, the defender is whatever his county needs him to be

Pat Hickey, former president of the Olympic Council of Ireland. New president Sarah Keane has pledged to reform the OCI.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Shane Ross needs to back the new OCI leadership for the sake of the athletes

Galway’s manager Michael Donoghue: “He touched many lives,” he said of the  late Tony Keady.  Photograph: INPHO/James Crombie

Galway’s Adrian Touhy and Waterford’s Austin Gleeson eligible for All-Ireland final

Austin Gleeson was at his talismanic best as Waterford beat Cork to reach the All-Ireland SHC final. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Darragh Fives accomplished in Tadhg De Búrca absence, a summer to remember

John McEnroe:   There is a kind of restlessness and searching at the heart of the tennis firebrand’s second autobiography.  Photograph: Jonathan Ford

The tennis hero looks back in middle-aged comfort at life since his punk sporting prime

Michael Meehan: back on the Galway squad afte a hellish four years of struggle with injury. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Michael Meehan and Seán Armstrong were once the bright future of Galway football

Armagh midfielder Niall Grimley has been one of the finds of the championship. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Croke Park hosts the last two football qualifiers and the first two quarter-finals

Mayo native and Roscommon manager  Kevin McStay. Photograph: Inpho/Tommy Dickson

If Kevin McStay’s men win on Sunday, the lights will go out across Mayo in many ways

Wexford’s James Breen in action with Maurice Shanahan of Waterford in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Davy Fitzgerald and Derek McGrath stand up with passion for their teams’ approach

Waterford’s Maurice Shanahan celebrates scoring a point in  the All-Ireland Hurling quarter-final against Wexford at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Tadhg de Búrca’s sending off the only blemish for the Déise in their four point win

Galway’s Damien Comer comes under pressure from  Donegal players Neil McGee and Kieran Gillespie at Markievicz Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Galway sink 13-man Donegal after strong performance from Seán Armstrong

Waterford manager Derek McGrath celebrates after the Wexford game. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Derek McGrath had sensed something of an ambush about the Wexford challenge

Galway’s Johnny Heaney celebrates scoring his second goal in the All-Ireland SFC Round 4A qualifier against Donegal at   Markievicz Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Seán Armstrong’s influence key as Tribesmen seal quarter-final slot

A natural forward, this summer Murphy has been deployed exclusively at midfield

Béla Guttmann: the  flawed, uniquely gifted Benfica coach – shown with journalists in London in 1962 – negotiated a path through the horrors of Nazism. Photograph: Keystone/Hulton/Getty

David Bolchover’s biography of the great Benfica coach is a deeply personal project

Declan D’Arcy celebrates Leitrim’s storied Connacht final win in 1994. Photograph: Tom Honan/Inpho

Fate of smaller counties could befall bigger fish over next few years

Down midfielder Peter Turley tumbles over  Tiernan McCann of Tyrone during the Senior Football Championship Final in St Tiernach’s Park, Clones, Co Monaghan. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Manager says defeat to Tyrone in Ulster football championship final a ‘learning curve’

The Cavanagh brothers celebrate with the trophy after winning the Ulster final on Sunday. Photograph: Inpho

Whole panel driven to atone for disappointing defeat to Mayo in headquarters last year

Down’s Brendan Coulter is mobbed by fans at the final whistle. Photograph:  INPHO/James Crombie

Down’s years as a weak force can be explained by the power of Tyrone and Armagh

Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare each other down during a world tour press conference this week. Photograph: Tom Szczerbowski

Irish fighter is Donald Trump of sport as his jibes continue to go further than ‘trash talk’

Enda and Donal Smith celebrate with supporters on the pitch after Sunday’s Connacht final victory. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Kevin McStay’s team win first title since 2010 after first win over Galway since 2001

Clare’s Patrick O’Connor leads the team during the parade before the Munster senior hurling championship semi-final against Limerick. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

The dual county’s weekend of possibility is underlined with a note of caution

 British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland: if his team beat the All Blacks not just twice but twice in succession  his reputation as a pragmatist and a worker of mind games will be soaring. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Lions coach who was portrayed as clown is now strong candidate to succeed Hansen

Kerry’s Shane Enright, Michael Geaney and manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice celebrate after the game. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Performances of Donaghy, Geaney and O’Donoghue were particularly pleasing

Kerry’s Paul Geaney scores a goal in their Munster SFC final win over Cork in Killarney. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

The Kingdom started as they meant to go on by blitzing neighbours Cork in Killarney

 Tony Doran in action for Wexford against Offaly in 1984. “We happened to come up against strong Kilkenny teams all along the line and then Offaly emerged as well.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Victory over Kilkenny and a Leinster final has the county abuzz with anticipation

 All Blacks loose forward Jerome Kaino upends Lions’ halfback Conor Murray during the first Test at Eden Park. Photograph: Brett Phibbs/New Zealand Herald via AP

To criticise team is seen as tantamount to disparaging the character of the nation

Former Donegal manager leaves Celtic to join former Bayer Leverkusen coach in Beijing

Down manager Eamon Burns: “My job is to take a team and put Down back to where it was in the 1990s. And it will take another number of years.  We will just keep working away.” Photograph: Andrew Paton/INPHO/Presseye

Down’s manager hoping patience of fans will be rewarded against Monaghan

Donegal’s Neil McGee subjected  Bernard Brogan to an hour  of intense, up close and personal scrutiny in the 2011 All-Ireland semi-final. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Should Jim Gavin’s men see off Kerry, Tyrone, Mayo etc what next for the GAA?

Tyrone’s Sean Cavanagh: “It felt in that 15, 20 minutes before half time like a performance that was close to what we expect.” Photograph: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Tyrone captain feels team beginning to touch heights of All-Ireland years

 Tyrone’s Peter Harte tackled by  Michael Murphy of Donegal. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Donegal’s youngsters chewed up and spat out in Clones as Tyrone reach Ulster final

Michael Murphy: an inspirational figure who has loomed large in  Donegal’s glory years. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Two Ulster counties’ sense-of-self have become interwoven with their football teams

Kieran Kingston celebrates with his son Shane following the Munster quarter-final win over Tipperary at Thurles. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Manager insists Cork still a ‘work in progress’ as they prepare to face Waterford

Jonathan Walters celebrates scoring the Republic of Ireland’s equalising goal against Austria. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

A bloody-minded second half from Ireland made for a crazy game, in the best sense

Mayo’s Kevin Keane is tackled by Gary Sice and Shane Walsh of Galway during last year’s semi-final clash at Castlebar. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Proven Mayo have every incentive to resume their former dominance of neighbours

Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry in action against the  Cleveland Cavaliers during Game 3 of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Photograph: Kyle Terada/Getty Images

Days of mass brawls and dark defending long gone as ‘brand’ carefully protects its image

Roy Keane celebrates with Manchester United team-mates in 2002. Sam Walker argues that while Keane provided towering leadership on the field of play, his fiery and unrepentant streak hurt the teams he led in other ways. Photograph: PA

Roy Keane and Michael Jordan fail to make the cut in Sam Walker’s quixotic study of leadership

Andy McEntee: “We have 40 guys in there working really hard and another 10 we had to let go. They are really trying.”

Manager McEntee provides a link to Meath football’s good old days

The story of the Lions tours is the inverse of the Heineken Cup. The four-year tour is a century-thick boy’s own annual of extraordinary journeys, lifelong friendships, romanticised violence, electrifying scores and stories that have travelled through the decades. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Commercial power that created ‘tradition’ of the Heineken Cup could help kill the Lions

 Sean Cavanagh celebrates scoring a point in the victory over Derry at Celtic Park. “There is serious competition for places at the moment. I am seeing it there in training. Whether that is good enough, time will tell.” Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Veteran says current squad among the strongest of all his time with the county

Tyrone’s Mark Bradley tries to avoid the Derry duo of  of  Enda Lynn and Carlus McWilliams during the Ulster SFC quarter-final at Celtic Park. Photograph: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho/Presseye

Mickey Harte’s side far too strong as the move on to meeting with Donegal

The finishing touches are applied to the newly renamed and renovated McGovern Park in Ruislip, London. Photograph: Gerry McManus/Inpho

Ruislip has been given a new 1,900-seat stand and is now known as McGovern Park

Mayo before their recent championship match against Sligo. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Fergus Connolly, performance director at Michigan football, needs to rethink his stance

Fergal Boland tries to escape the attentions of Neil Ewing and Patrick O’Connor during Mayo’s win over Sligo. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Visitors far from disgraced at MacHale Park but Rochford’s side never truly threatened

Galway’s Joe Canning: ‘It is hard to think of any GAA player who is so central to the conversation and ambitions of his team and county.’ Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Galway’s maturing star still chasing All-Ireland success but refuses to be defined by it

Aidan O’Shea in action against Michael Murphy in the Allianz Football League in Castlebar in April. Photograph: Tom Beary/Inpho

Whatever about not winning the All-Ireland with him, Mayo haven’t a hope without him

Rory McIlroy attends an Ulster v Leinster rugby match with Niall Horan – one of the many interests he has away from the course. Photo: Getty Images

World No2 shouldn’t be compared to Tiger Woods because he is completely different

LaVar Ball:  has positioned his three sons to  become the new dominant name of pro-basketball and therefore frontrunners in the limitless endorsement opportunities. Photograph:  Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

Controversial figure has patented the Z02’s by Big Baller which retail at a whopping $495

Mark Breheny: “This wasn’t something I set out to do. But I still enjoy it. I am striving to win a second Connacht medal.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Fifteen years on he returns to New York again to face the hosts in the championship

Sean Cooke: lost his case for post traumatic stress after being dropped from his soccer team at Cork Circuit Court. Photograph: David Keane

Court case in Cork raises question of why so many get disheartened along the way

Galway U-21 manager Gerry Fahy: “If we can leave these young men in a better place as people and as footballers then we will have achieved success.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Manager keenly aware of the bigger picture as All-Ireland final against Dublin beckons

 Johnny Glynn takes on Kilkenny’s Paul Murphy in the 2015 All-Ireland final in Croke Park. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Signs point to New York-based forward being involved in this year’s championship

Former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie has unleashed another barrage of insults towards Liverpool.  Photograph: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Former Sun editor destroyed his reputation during his coverage of Hillsborough disaster

 Charley Hoffman jogs up the 13th hole during his spectacular first round at the US Masters at  Augusta National. Photograph:  Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Nine years after his last Major, golf struggling for the heightened theatre he provided

Bernard Brogan sidefoots home a goal against Monaghan in the 2014 All-Ireland quarter-final. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Opposition defences are paying a huge price for being drawn to the original ball-carrier

Wexford managed to beat Brian Cody’s Kilkenny in Nowlan park for the first time since 1957. Photo: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Meanwhile, Galway are the usual puzzle while Down completed the great escape

Mayo and Donegal players clash during a tempestuous encounter in Castlebar. Photograph: Tom Beary/Inpho

Visitors go scoreless in the final 30 minutes of a blood and thunder clash in Castlebar

Under Malachy O’Rourke Monaghan have perfected a template of organisation and counter-attacking intelligence. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Malachy O’Rourke has shaped a team that is ego-free but armed with a flinty self-belief

Dublin’s Dean Rock kicks a point to level the Division 1 game late on against Tyrone in February. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Dublin may appear omnipotent but at least four counties will not be cowed in summer

Monaghan’s Conor McManus is surrounded by Donegal players during the  Allianz Football League Division One game at  Fr Tierney Park in  Ballyshannon. Photograph: Trevor Lucy/Inpho/Presseye

Conor McManus’s penalty earns point for visitors in Ballyshannon

Donegal and Monaghan: It may be time to ban these teams from playing each other for a while. Photograph: Trevor Lucy/Presseye/Inpho

No county showing much interest in taking on record-breakers on eve of championship

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