Laois’s Donie Kingston: “It’s a big thing to get them out of Croke Park and I think it should have been done before this year.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Winners of Wicklow-Laois clash will this year face the champions at Nowlan Park

Kilkenny’s Walter Walsh and Brian Cody at the launch of the Leinster championship. “It’s a good starting point for any team to be functional, I’d say,” said Cody. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

“He might just throw anything out there just for the sake of throwing it out?” says top Cat

Ireland celebrate Ronnie Whelan’s stunning winner against the USSR in 1988. Photograph: Getty

Stunning volley caps off exceptional Irish performance in Hannover draw at Euro 1988

Clare’s Seán and Podge Collins celebrate winning Allianz Football League Division Three Final on Saturday. Podge will be targeting a Division One Hurling title with Clare next Sunday. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Clare dual star has come back from a cruciate injury and looks as exciting as ever

Tyrone’s Mickey Harte and Cavan manager Terry Hyland shake hands after the game. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Tyrone are quickly making up ground on the main contenders for All-Ireland title

Kerry’s Bryan Sheehan clashes with Dublin players during the Allianz National League final in Croke Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Dublin boss plays down league win saying it is only third most important competition

Cavan manager Terry Hyland with experienced forward Seanie Johnston who has returned to duty with his native county.  Photograph: James Crombie/inpho

Terry Hyland’s talented new-look team have thrown off the shackles

“At the start  I could not-drown for a length. Two lengths, tops,” Malachy Clerkin wistfully recalls.  Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Malachy Clerkin took the challenge to Swim for a mile. Find out how he got on.... .

Kilkenny’s Jonjo Farrell dejected at the final whistle. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Fitzgerald’s team blitz Cats with three first-half goals to reach league final

Clare’s Colm Galvin and Lester Ryan of Kilkenny clash during Sunday’s Allianz League semi-final. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Davy Fitzgerald’s side ran riot against the Cats in Thurles to reach the league final

Waterford’s Maurice Shanahan celebrates a Tom Devine goal against Tipperary in the Munster Championship last June. It’s a sight rarely seen this season as goals have proved hard to come by for Derek McGrath’s side with Devine scoring the team’s only goal  in seven league games ahead of their semi-final with Limerick. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

In Division 1A of the Allianz National League there were only 29 goals in 15 games

Loyal followers: fans watch Loughmore-Castleiney play. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

We’re on the hunt for Ireland’s best sports club, and we want you to help by nominating yours. The winner of the competition – and(...)

Dublin  manager Jim Gavin at   Allianz Football League Division One semi-final in  Croke Park: “I think the last quarter of the game fizzled out a bit, but Donegal do pose a lot of threats.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Dublin ease past lacklustre Donegal, while experienced Kerry brush aside Roscommon

Donegal’s Ryan McHugh: “We have eight weeks to prepare for championship . . the Dubs beat us and they were a far superior team.” Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho

The league is great. . . but championship is what we thrive on,” says Ryan McHugh

Kieran Donaghy: has added his substantial presence to Kerry’s options at centrefield. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Possible league final with Dublin would focus the attention of all in the Kingdom

Dean Rock finds the net for Dublin against Roscommon in Carrick-on-Shannon, Leitrim, after the game was switched from Dr Hyde Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Dublin supporters get sharp end of stick after late venue change to Carrick-on-Shannon

Michael Murphy of Donegal and Neil McAdam of Monaghan compete for the ball. Photo: Andrew Paton/Inpho

Colin Walshe’s point against Donegal was enough to relegate Cork to Division Two

Dublin’s Chris Crummy attempts to block a shot from John Fitzgibbon of Limerick Photograph: Inpho/Gary Carr

Dublin forwards struggle to get into the game as Limerick take Parnell Park win

Conor McManus’s 2-37 makes him the top scorer in the division by a distance – nine points ahead of Ciarán Murtagh of Roscommon. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ulster champion’s over-reliance on star forward is doing them no favours

 Mayo selector Tony McEntee. Photograph: James Crombie/INPHO

‘Composure and character is one way of looking at it, but I’d be a slight bit harsher on them’

Republic of Ireland’s Wes Hoolahan collides with  Peter Pekarik of Slovakia during the friendly international at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Martin O’Neill says Newcastle goalkeeper suffered ‘serious knee injury’

Brendan Harrison slides along the wet turf at Dr Hyde Park  to gather possession for Mayo, who checked Roscommon’s recent run of good results in the Allianz League. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Victory over Roscommon on Sunday afternoon opens route to survival in Division One

Mayo’s Lee Keegan has no regrets about the incident in last year’s All-Ireland semi-final that led to Diarmuid Connolly’s dismissal. “There’s no point in me trying to make out that we go out to be innocent,” he says. Photograph: Donall Farmer/inpho

County’s sports person of the year had little interest in the game when he was younger

Sports journalist (and now swimmer) Malachy Clerkin now has something to tell Mr Intercounty Footballer/ Mr One Of The Fittest Men In Ireland. “We’re not so differenct.” Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill

Malachy Clerkin: ‘We’re not so different, me and you, Mr Intercounty Footballer’

“My Dad passed away on Sunday, I signed for Houston Dash on Thursday and then went to the awards on Sunday and won International Player of the Year. My emotions were all over the place.”

Denise O’Sullivan is set for a dream move to the US but the loss of her father at 63 makes it all bittersweet

TJ Ryan: “It’s a huge game for Limerick hurling and we are in the position that we wanted to be in with four wins.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Tough assignment for TJ Ryan’s men as they travel to face great rivals in Ennis

Na Piarsaigh’s David Dempsey and Martin Burke of Ruairí Óg Cushendall during the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Club Championship final at Croke Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

First All-Ireland for a Limerick hurling club after emphatic win over Cushendall

Na Piarsaigh’s David Breen under pressure from Neil McManus and Eoghan Campbell of Ruairí Óg Cushendall during the All-Ireland club hurling final at Croke Park. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Limerick club bring the first All-Ireland title back to the county after victory at Croke Park

Former Limerick senior player Shane O’Neill manages Na Piarsaigh. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho.

All-Ireland Hurling Club final preview: Cushendall Ruairí Óg (Antrim) v Na Piarsaigh (Limerick)

Barry Moran (left) has been a steadying influence during Castlebar Mitchels’ march to the All-Ireland final. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho.

All-Ireland Senior Club Football Championship preview: Castlebar Mitchels (Mayo) v Ballyboden St Enda’s (Dublin)

Conor McGregor during the UFC 196 weigh-ins at the MGM Grand. Photograph: Getty

Questioning of MMA as a sport receives defensive response from supposed trash-talk lovers

Waterford’s Michael Walsh tries to escape the attentions of Dublin’s Shane Barrett. Photograph: Inpho

Ger Cunningham’s side keep subdued hosts at bay in a bitty encounter at Walsh Park

Irish times swimmer Malachy Clerkin feels he has been lazy. A lazy gobshite in fact. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Unless they hand me an outboard motor, I won’t be able to swim for a mile

 Juliet Murphy: “I miss it more now than when I first retired. To be honest, I am probably struggling more with it now than I did originally.”

Ex-Cork star has played little since 2013 – but that’s all about to change

Maria Sharapova addresses the media regarding a failed drug test in Los Angeles. Photograph: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

The authorities' response shows how the game doesn’t really care about doping

Tom Parsons: “We have a quick turnaround, we have Kerry at home, so this is forgotten straight away and we are back to square one.” Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Stephen Rochford’s side relived to have earned a crucial win over Monaghan

 Karl O’Connell of Monaghan and Brendan Harrison of Mayo. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho

Goalkeeper strides forward to convert two monster kicks for Rochford’s side

Ryan Wylie of Monaghan is tackled by Mayo’s Conor O’Shea. Photo: Andrew Paton/Inpho

Monaghan suffered a second consecutive defeat as they missed Conor McManus

Paul Murphy: originally a corner-forward and then midfielder, he has carved out a permanent spot at corner-back for himself on Brian Cody’s Kilkenny team. Photograph: Inpho/Cathal Noonan

Luck helped corner back find his role for Kilkenny but retaining it has been down to himself

Seamie O’Shea returns to the Mayo starting line up against Monaghan in Clones. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

Dublin likely to pile more misery on Cork at Croke Park

Ruby Walsh: “When I was going out over her ears, I could see her head was folding in under her. And when you see that, you only have one thought. ‘Oh God, don’t break your neck.’ Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The first day of the 2015 Cheltenham Festival proved to be one of incredibly high drama

Deirdre Gogarty and Christy Martin trade blows during a bout in Las Vegas, Nevada on March 16th 1996. Martin won the fight with a decision in the sixth round. Mandatory Credit: Al Bello /Allsport

The girl from Mornington defied convention to pursue her world boxing title dream

Jim Gavin unhappy with his team’s performance but Dublin make it three from three

Dublin’s Diarmuid Connolly sends Monaghan goalkeeper  Rory Beggan the wrong way as he slots home a penalty in the  Allianz Football League Division 1 match at Croke Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Cormac Costello also knocks over late point in see-saw encounter

Irish Times swimmer Orna Mulcahy is finding ways to cope with the boredom of countless lengths. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

For Malachy Clerkin, every session follows a familiar pattern – "do it, nearly drown, do it again, get annoyed, do it again”

Gladys Ganiel: “Show up, put in the work, keep at it day after day even just doing a little bit and you’ll get there.” Photograph: Declan Roughan/Inpho

Marathon runner posts Olympic-standard time just nine months after having first child

Mayo’s Sarah Rowe: “No lads team would put up with the conditions we train and play in, they would go nuts.” Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Never mind paying for fake rain, how about simple things like some food after training?

Donegal manager Rory Gallagher: “It was great to be able to train like a professional team and to have good down time together [in Tenerife training camp].” Photograph: Lorcan Doherty/Presseye/Inpho

Two wins from two as traditionally slow Division One starters find winning rhythm

Daire Plunkett helped Dublin get back to winning ways against Galway in the NHL at Parnell Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

After defeat to Tipperary, beating Galway came brought much-needed relief

Dublin’s Liam Rushe holds off the challenge of Galway’s  Niall Burke during the  Allianz Hurling League Division 1A game at  Parnell Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Liam Rushe and David Treacy impose themselves in Parnell Park encounter

Victoria Pendleton riding Pacha Du Polder during  The South Dorset Hunt point-to-point  in Milborne St Andrew, England. Photograph:  Julian Herbert/Getty Images

Olympic champion cyclist’s steep learning curve could result in festival appearance

The Kerry team, pictured after winning the Christy Ring Cup last year, beat Kerry 1-24 to 2-14 in O’Moore Park over the weekend. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Ger McCarthy: ‘powerful, united’ bunch of players determined to stay in Division One

Dublin’s Oisin Gough and Tipperary’s Jason Forde battle for possession at Semple Stadium. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Tipperary start league in flying form as they inflict double-digit beating on Leinster side

Tipperary’s Conor Kenny and Dublin’s Eoghan O’Donnell Photograph: Inpho/Ken Sutton

It was exhibition stuff at times from Michael Ryan’s side at Semple Stadium

Paul Durcan in action for Ballyboden: “Ballyboden were good to me, they were understanding and they sorted me out with the flights.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Donegal goalkeeper travelling to and fro from Qatar to aid club’s All-Ireland bid

Irish Times swimmer Malachy Clerkin is struggling with strength and singing after illness swept the house. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

We have to sing to each stroke. For me ‘Let it Be’ has been replaced by ‘Let It Be Over’

Ann Marie O’Donovan with Mary Quinn, who was appointed to the IRFU committee in October. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Getting women to become more involved in sporting bodies is a concern in Ireland and overseas

Ireland’s CJ Stander is  tackled by Taulupe Faletau and Gethin Jenkins of Wales during the Six Nations game at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: James Cromie/Inpho

Flanker was Ireland’s opening spell made flesh and deserved man of match award

Tommy O’Donnell is led off for a Head Injury Assessment he later passed during Ireland’s 16-16 Six Nations draw with Wales. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland boss admits six-day turnaround ahead of Paris trip is a daunting prosepct

Mayo’s defeat to Cork last weekend was overshadowed somewhat by the controversy regarding Lee Keegan’s concussion at Páirc Uí Rinn. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Allianz Football League, Club Championships and College matches

Pat Spillane: “There’s two pubs and two churches and none of them are under pressure. Without the GAA, there’d be nothing in these communities.” Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Tiny rural Kerry club with a big heart ready to compete in All-Ireland junior club final

Christina McMahon: “She won Ulster titles, she won All-Irelands. She went all over Europe and the world, herself and Frick, her husband and coach. She made a genuine success of herself, yet was often baffled by what people thought of her.”

Carrickmacross boxer has learned to believe nothing - until she’s in the ring

Killimor’s Susan Keane in action against Emma McFadden of Loughgiel in the AIB All-Ireland senior camogie club championship semi-final at Clones. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Redundancy in Waterford meant Killimor star resumed her camogie career

Dublin’s Dean Rock with Mark Griffin of Kerry in Croke Park on Saturday night. Photograph: Inpho

Ballymun player started every tie in 2015, from O’Byrne Cup to All-Ireland final

 Lee Keegan is helped from the field by selector Tony McEntee and team doctor Seán Moffatt after a clash of heads with Cork’s Eoin Cadogan during Sunday’s football league clash. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Mayo player should have been taken off immediately, says GAA concussion expert

Danielle Murphy in action in the car she built from the ground up. Image courtesy of Daniel O’Shea

Twice Queen of Europe, the Dublin woman has her sights set on claiming the King of Europe title in 2016

“Betting on schools matches or juvenile matches in general is something we are categorically against,” said the GAA’s head of health and community,   Colin Regan.

Croke Park appeals to Government to ban betting on all juvenile sporting events

Dublin’s Cormac Costello is held back by DCU’s Conor Moynagh during the O’Byrne Cup game at  DCU. Photograph:   Donall Farmer/Inpho

Shane Carthy impresses as Jim Gavin’s side book O'Bryrne Cup semi-final with Longford

Austin Stacks forward David Mannix has been in fine form for DCU. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Conclusion of O’Byrne Cup group stages to add a little spice to weekend action

A selection of young sportspeople to watch in 2016 including a jockey, a golfer, a Dublin footballer, a boxer and a female MMA fig(...)

 Christy O’Connor jnr celebrates on the final green after beating Fred Couples at the 1989 Ryder Cup. Photograph: Bob Thomas/Getty Images

It was the moment that defined the golfing great and one that won't be forgotten

Wexford camogie star Ursula Jacob, who is embarking on her 14th year with the county team. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

While Rory retires with Leinster title, sister Urusula looks to add to four All-Ireland haul

Leitrim’s Emlyn Mulligan: “It’s only when you step outside it for a few months that you realise how much of a bubble it is.” Photograph: James Crombie

Star has a fresh perspective on life outside football’s bubble following a year abroad

Jamie Vardy: it will be a surprise if the old rules don’t still apply. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images

TV money has given his club huge clout, but striker will likely sign with one of the big four

Tempers flare during last January’s Power NI McKenna Cup first round clash between Armagh and Tyrone at the  Athletic Grounds, Armagh. Photograph: Russell Pritchard/Inpho/Presseye

Ulster’s winter competition is ultra-competitive and popular, unlike the other provinces

Donal Óg Cusack: joins Davy Fitzgerald on Clare sideline for Cork clash. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Johnston returns to Cavan team for first time since June 2011 for Armagh clash

Lizzie Kelly became the first woman in Britain to win a Grade One jumps race when coming first at Feltham on Tea For Two. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images.

Young jockey proves hard work and dedication really can get you places

Sarah Byrne, Sophie Spence, Jenny Egan, Katie Walsh, Niamh Briggs, Kylie Murphy, Noelle Lenihan, Madeline Perry, Gráinne Dwyer. Front row (l-r):  Ann Marie McGlynn, Briege Corkery, Catherina McKiernan, Rena Buckley, Katie Taylor, Leona Maguire at the  2015 Irish Times/Irish Sports Council Sportswoman of the Year  at the  Shelbourne Hotel.

Cork pair share Sportswoman of the Year award following another outstanding year

The Sport and Sponsorship Sentiment Index: the research was carried out between December 10th and 15th. Presumably, this accounts for Conor McGregor’s one-punch knockout of Jose Aldo not making it into the top-five most memorable moments of the year

Paul O’Connell’s injury in Rugby World Cup places second in sports index with 22%

Conor McGregor prior to his featherweight title fight against Jose Aldo during UFC 194  in Las Vegas. Photograph:  Steve Marcus/Getty Images

Reality of pay-per-view audiences suggests Las Vegas will always win out over Ballybough

 Oliver Bierhoff, one of the ball-pullers, was clearly and hilariously bored of the whole affair long before the end. Photograph: Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images

Over in Vegas, the speed, the precision, the brutality – Rogan let Aldo have it

Tyson Fury: “Holding him up as some totem of sexism would be like holding the KKK up as the face of race problems in America.” Photograph:  Simon Cooper/PA

Challenging it is a harder job than merely signing a petition against the boxer

The delirium and dejection at full time. Photo: Inpho

Sensational showing from Donaghmoyne keeper Linda Martin proved the difference

This wonderful photograph from a packed  Ireland versus Austria match  in 1963 is just one of many in   ’Dalymount Park,   Home of Irish Football’ by Colin White.

GAA, soccer and rugby followers certainly have lots to choose from this Christmas

John Leonard with his book Dub Sub Confidential at the award ceremony in the  Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Dublin.  Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Tale of drink, drugs and the Dubs secures inaugural award for ex-player John Leonard

Lucy Mulhall: “You’re just playing away with Wicklow and your club and you don’t see an Olympics in your future.” Photograph: Inpho.

Ireland captain was happy playing Gaelic football until an email changed her life

 Antrim’s  Neal McAuley and Clare’s David McInerney at the launch of the  Hurling Development Committee action plan in Croke Park yesterday. Photograph: Matt Browne/Sportsfile.

Celtic Challenge to be played nationwide from May and June of next year

“I turned professional because I was going badly as an amateur. I needed to try something different,” says Rachael Blackmore. Photograph: Caroline Norris

Blackmore is Ireland’s only professional female jumps jockey – but that wasn’t her plan

Michael Conlan kisses coach Billy Walsh after winning the world bantamweight semi-final. Something that was working got taken apart and destroyed. Photograph: Paul Mohan

Some people in boxing saw Billy Walsh as a milkman from Wexford who got lucky

Billy Walsh leaving Dublin Airport en route to his new position as coach of the American women’s boxing team. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Departure of coach has now morphed into a political row between the two bodies

The IABA changed their view between the Saturday and the Tuesday on Walsh’s salary. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Billy Walsh gone but the boxing association have Sports Ireland firmly in its sights

Billy Walsh’s new salary in the US is believed to be $200,000, with add-ons of health insurance, pension plans and flights. Walsh has consistently said that money was not at issue for him. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Boxing coach Billy Walsh, Ireland’s most successful Olympic coach, has left for the US

The IABA have stated they did everything within reason to retain the services of head coach Billy Walsh. Photograph: Inpho

Organisation release statement reacting furiously to the intervention of Sport Ireland

Former Ireland Boxing head coach Billy Walsh makes his way through departures at Dublin Airport. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

August deal with the Sports Council worth €95,000 was withdrawn within days

Irish Sports Council chairman Kieran Mulvey has promised boxer fraternity best financial support possible. Photograph: Domnick Walsh/Eye Focus

Billy Walsh needed permission from CEO to talk to media, according to new details

Kieran Mulvey, Chairman of the Irish Sports Council is still hopeful of securing Billy Walsh’s return. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

The IABA are to hold an emergency meeting following Kieran Mulvey’s comments

“There’s a lot more to this sport than training hard and turning up for a fight. The game does that to you,” says Conor McGregor. Photograph: Emily Harney/Inpho.

The Dublin fighter is well aware of what it takes to get to the top of his game

Despondant Ireland fans watch on in Clondalkin. Photograph: Dara Mac Donaill/The Irish Times

While the pundits tried to get their heads around it most had theirs in their hands

Kerry’s Daniel Collins shoots at the Antrim goal during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1B relegation/promotion play-off at Parnell Park, Dublin, in May. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho.

Kingdom coming as Leinster hurling has new and unlikely contestants for 2016

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