Ulster centre Darren Cave has said the pursuit of a place at the Rugby World Cup took over his life. Photograph: Inpho

Ulsterman admits pursuit of a place in Joe Schmidt’s World Cup squad consumed him

Munster have accepted a request from Donncha O’Callaghan to leave his contract early and join English Premier League side Worcester. Photo: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The secondrow was previously contracted to play with Munster until June 2016

Ireland’s Simon Zebo rides the tackle to break free and score a try. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Fullback believes consistency and individuality pivotal to winning Schmidt’s approval

Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Detailed programme for event must be submitted by February 2017

Ian Madigan in action during an Ireland training session at Carton House on Tuesday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland coach sounded out Ian Madigan over scrumhalf role last season

Cian Healy trains with the Ireland squad at Carton House today. The prop has been cleared to play against England this Saturday. Photo: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Loosehead prop has spent months recovering from an operation on his neck

Girvan Dempsey is currently the interim backs coach for Leinster. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Ireland manager knows opposition will take advantage of any knowledge they can glean

Billy Walsh and Zaur Antia have been named as coaches for the Ireland team to travel to the Feliks Stamm tournament in Poland on September 9th. Photograph: Kostadin Andonov/Inpho

Ireland boxing coach presently on holidays but named as coach for upcoming trip to to Poland

Paul O’Connell enters into the tunnel along with his son Paddy after playing his final Irish international at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:   Ryan Byrne/Inpho

‘It’s nice the reaction I got. But it was embarrassing. We just lost a match.’

Ireland boxing head coach Billy Walsh has been offered a post with the US women’s boxing team. Photograph: Kostadin Andonov/Inpho

ISC ‘extremely disappointed that the proposal was not presented to the IABA board’

Paul O’Connell  leads the Ireland Captain’s Run at  Aviva Stadium ahead of Saturday’s World Cup warm-up match against  Wales. Photograph:  Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Ireland captain’s focus is purely on team's preparations for Rugby World Cup

 Ireland head coach Billy Walsh: has overseen a golden period of success in Irish amateur boxing.  Photograph:  Pat Murphy/Sportsfile

Former Olympic boxing team captain says loss of coach would be ‘disgraceful’

 Ireland head coach Billy Walsh has led his teams to unprecedented succes on the world stage in recent years.

Ireland’s head coach understood to have accepted new job with USA

Jack McGrath could be central to Ireland’s World Cup plans should Cian Healy be deemed unfit to play. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

As Joe Schmidt ponders options before World Cup, Leinster loosehead prop hopes to be one

Ireland’s former olympic medallist John Joe Nevin returned to the ring with a win in the US. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Irish Olympic medallist beats Victor Capaceta inside the distance in Coney Island

 Paddy Jackson: “I just have to focus on playing 10, getting my roles right and trying manage the team around me.”

Lack of versatility not a concern for Ulster’s specialist outhalf

Cian Healy is very unlikely to feature this weekend against Wales. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland prepare for Paul O’Connell’s last home international against Wales

Ireland captain Lucy Mulhall in action during the World Sevens Series Qualifiers at UCD Bowl. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho.

‘Now we’re in the World Series it gives us a chance to compete against the best’

“Kicking is also part of the game I get confidence from. There’s no doubt if I am kicking well it lifts other parts of my game,” says Ireland’s Ian Madigan. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Accuracy from the tee can be the difference between winning and losing a tournament

Jordi Murphy would relish the chance to bury some of his boyhood backrow heroes at the Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Inpho

Leinster’s Spanish born backrow faces stiff competition to make Joe Schmidt’s final 31

Ireland’s Devin Toner during the captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

Lock’s career has been a triumph of learning and building at Leinster and Ireland

Leinster Rugby have this morning confirmed that Leo Cullen has been appointed as head coach on a two year deal. Photograph: Dáire Brennan/Sportsfile

‘Leo’s status as a player is beyond question - an outstanding captain and leader’

Ulster’s Stuart Olding leaves the field after a head injury sustained against Munster at Thomond Park in last season’s Pro12 competition. Photograph: James Crombie

Leinster Rugby and TCD have linked up in two promising brain injury studies

No new injury concerns for the Irish squad after the Scotland victory on Saturday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Positive news emanating from camp regarding Andrew Trimble after second warm-up win for Ireland

 “Tiger Woods is Usain Bolt unable to break 11 seconds over 100 metres.”  Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Watching Tiger play golf has become a voyeuristic, almost furtive engagement

James McGee is the only player from Ireland competing in the Challenger events, which have larger prize funds of €46,000. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Players likely to remain under radar unless they reach main draw of Grand Slam event

Golfing twins, Leona and Lisa Maguire. “As sisters they will always be close,” says their mother, Breda. “But that doesn’t mean they will always be together.” Photograph: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Display at European Ladies Masters further confirmation of world No I amateur’s ability

Katie Taylor has been added to the undercard for Andy Lee’s upcoming fight. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Olympic champion last week responded to Billy Joe Saunders’s sexist comments

Jenny Claffey, who has just launched her career as a tennis pro, wants to be the first Irish woman after Lesley O'Halloran in 1989 to play at Wimbledon. Photograph: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Dublin player has given herself five years to make an impact on the sport

Golf has emerged in the most recent World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) figures as having a significantly higher percentage of Adverse Analytical Findings (AAF) than athletics, cycling, rugby or soccer. Photograph: Getty

Wada also puts sport only behind weightlifting and equestrian for positive tests

Cian Healy underwent disc surgery towards the end of last season. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ireland frontrow forward said to be struggling for fitness ahead of World Cup

George Gibney has been living in the US for 20 years.

Coach charged in 1993 with sex abuse of young swimmers now lives in Florida

Ireland prop Mike Ross has won 49 international caps since his debut in 2009. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Irish warhorse knows significance of last four warm-up Tests before tournament

A view of the artificial grass court in use at the Irish Open at Fitzwilliam. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Open letter from James Cluskey makes case for more clay courts in Ireland

Doug Howlett believes Joe Schmidt can be Ireland’s trump card at the Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Inpho

Mental strength essential for success in tournament, says former All Black winger

Serena Williams leaves court with the Venus Rosewater Dish after her victory in the women’s singles against Garbine Muguruza. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images.

Wimbledon champion feels she is getting better in her mature years

Novak Djokovic (R) beat Roger Federer in four sets in the men’s final of the Wimbledon Championships Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

World No1 takes his third title at Wimbledon with a dominant display against struggling Federer

Serena Williams  leaves court with the Venus Rosewater Dish after her victory over Garbine Muguruza in the Wimbledon singles final. Photograph:  Julian Finney/Getty Images

No 1 seed now holds all four Grand Slam titles and moves to 21 career majors

Williams has played in 251 Grand Slam matches to Muguruza’s 20. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

Garbiñe Murguruza will try to stop American winning sixth title at Wimbledon

Roger Federer of Switzerland serves in his men’s singles semi-final match against Scotland’s Andy Murray at Wimbledon yesterday. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

Swiss master crushes Murray to set up repeat of 2014 final against Djokovic

Serena Williams plays a forehand against Maria Sharapova during the women’s singles semi-final at Wimbledon. Photograph: Julian Feeney/Getty Images.

Serena Williams proves only heavyweight in bout between former champions

Roger Federer has won his last three matches against Andy Murray. Photograph:  Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Djokovic ominously moving into top gear after surviving wobble in fourth round

Richard Gasquet celebrates victory over Stan Wawrinka with a well-deserved rest. Photoraph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.

The top three found little resistance, but Frenchman goes to five to beat Swiss opponent

Serena Williams serves during her quarter-final against Victoria Azarenka. Photograph: Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty Images

The American top seed faces a semi-final against old rival Maria Sharapova

Serena Williams celebrates after winning her match against Victoria Azarenka  at  Wimbledon. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

Serena Williams survives tough battle and will now face Russian in the semi-finals

Novak Djokovic in action against Kevin Anderson during their resumed fourth round match at Wimbledon: the Serb was relieved to win. Photograph: Seán Dempsey/EPA

Andy Murray could still face Roger Federer in epic semi-final in bottom half of draw

Scotland’s Andy Murray  celebrates after winning his match against Ivo Karlovic of Croatia at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London yesterday. Photograph:  Toby Melville/Reuters

Novak Djokovic comes from two sets down to level before play suspended for night

Sisters Serena and Venus Williams embrace after their fourth-round match at Wimbledon. Photograph: Julian Finney/Getty Images

World number one advances to quarter-finals with straight sets win over Venus

Serena and Venus Williams are to meet each other in the fourth round. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Serena and Venus Williams set to play their first Grand Slam match since 2009

Jelena Jankovic of Serbia celebrates match point in her Ladies’ Singles third-round match against Petra Kvitova of Czech Republic during day six of Wimbledon on Saturday. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Nadal’s Wimbledon conqueror crashes, Serb outsider beats women’s champion

 Australia’s Nick Kyrgios – he feeds off distraction and it seems to make him better. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Australian gets revenge on Raonic and finds little rows around every corner

Serena Williams was pushed to the limit by Heather Watson on Centre Court at Wimbledon. Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire.

Dramatic evening sees home favourite almost knock out top seed on Centre Court

Heather Watson argues a line call on day one of Wimbledon. Druing the match, she drew a €2,500 fine for a verbal obscenity. Photograph: PA

Competitors at SW19 pay dearly for losing the run of themselves during play

 Caroline Wozniacki celebrates a point against  Denisa Allertova  during their second round match at Wimbledon. Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Determined Dane overcomes a second-set wobble against unheralded Allertova

Britain’s Liam Broady took advantage of his wildcard at Wimbledon by winning his first round match against Marinko Matosevic, earning him about €64,000. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Irish tennis players are unlikely to ever benefit from lucrative grand slam wild cards

Maria Sharapova  hits a forehand during her match against Richel Hogenkamp at Wimbledon. Photograph: Henry Browne/Reuters

Russian’s power too much for Dutch outsider after she learns power of patience

Novak Djokovic celebrates beating Jarkko Nieminen in their second-round match at Wimbledon. Photograph:   Dominic Lipinski/PA

Defending champion ready for boisterous Australian crowd when he faces Bernard Tomic

Rafael Nadal of Spain shakes sweat of his head after winning his match against Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci at Wimbledon. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Swiss world number two retains effortless air of cool during straight-sets win over Damir Dzumhur

Britain’s Andy Murray reacts after a point against Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin during their men’s singles first round match on day two of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 30, 2015. RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE -- AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Federer, Murray and Nadal make short work of opponents on searingly hot day

Eugenie Bouchard in action against Ying-Ying Duan at Wimbledon: the 21-year-old Canadian chose to play injured and lost 7-6(3), 6-4 in the first round. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Canadian’s terrible form continues as she loses in first round to China’s Ying-Ying Duan

Nick Kyrgios enters the court to face Diego Schwartzman in his first round match at Wimbledon yesterday. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Brash Australian found himself in trouble again on day one

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic tries to shoo a bird from the court during his men’s singles first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on day one of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships. Photograph: Glyn Kirk

Defending champion accused of getting tips from coach Boris Becker during matches

Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic won the WTA Eastbourne International tennis tournament in Eastbourne. Photograph: Getty Images

Outsider Bencic won warm-up event, but will the old hands pick up their game?

Novak Djokovic of Serbia during a pratice session prior to the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Number one seed opens play on Centre Court against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber

 Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland celebrates beating Nick Kyrgios in the first round of the Aegon tennis championships at the Queens Club. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

French Open champion feels he is close to establishing himself at the very top

Leinster’s Ian Madigan says battle for places is intense. Photograph: Cathal Noonan

The Leinster players hopes to compete in his first World Cup later this year

Bjorn Thompson, whose mother is from Limerick, was spotted playing in a tournament in Japan.

17-year-old player enjoying life on a scholarship at $73,000-a-year Florida academy

Brian O’Driscoll and Shane Horgan show their disappointment after the defeat by France at the 2007 World Cup. Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Popular pundit sees no comparisons between 2015 and World Cup 2007

 Irish qualified Api Pewhairangi has signed for Connacht . The 23-year-old utility back played in the  Rugby League World Cup for Ireland  in 2013. Photo:   Simon Watts/Getty Images

The 23-year-old utility back played for Ireland at 2013 Rugby League World Cup

Andy Lee in action against Peter Quillin at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Photo: Ed Mulholland/Inpho

Limerick man will face Billy Joe Saunders in September in WBO middleweight bout

Parks Tennis:  every summer it  attracts a huge throng of 25,000 children to tennis courts nationwide. Photo: Sports

Every summer thousands of children avail of the chance to experience the game

Ireland’s Megan Frazer in action during team’s win against USA. Photograph: David Aliaga/Inpho

A win over China should give Ireland a place for the first time in an Olympic Games

 The William Webb Ellis Cup trophy, awarded to the winners of the Rugby World Cup. Photo:    David Rogers/Getty Images

Five countries expected to be in the mix with winners to be unveiled in May 2017

James McGee has been named Ireland’s number one player for the Davis Cup relegation match with South Africa.Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

Ireland’s non-playing captain Conor Niland is a firm believer in the biggest annual international team event in sport

Helen O’Reilly officiated at last year’s Women’s World Cup in France. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Former St Mary’s player has already refereed in AIL and Women’s World Cup in France

Instead of rugby or soccer, Aviva Stadium will host an American College Football  clash   in early September, 2016. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Boston College and Georgia Tech to meet in high-profile college football season opener

Former Dublin footballer Tommy Carr and his son 15-year-old Simon, who is hoping to make it as a professional tennis player. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

In the first of a weekly domestic tennis column, a determined young hopeful outlines his future plans in the sports

Munster head coach Anthony Foley in Belfast. “Parts of their off-loading game really killed us at times and they opened up a lot of space for themselves.” Photograph: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Glasgow’s off-loading and sharpertactics make space for three first-half tries

Glasgow’s Al Kellock lifts the Guinness Pro 12 trophy afteer the Scottish side’s victory over Munster at Ravenhill. Photo:   Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Leone Nakarawa inspires for Scottish side as they win Pro 12 title in Belfast

Large crowds gather around the 10th green during day one of the Irish Open at Royal County Down. Photograph: PA

Predicted attendance of 90,000 could have been even higher, tourism officials say

 Rory McIlroy signs autographs for fans at Royal County Down Golf Club, Co Down.  Photograph:  Cathal Noonan/©Inpho

Tournament favourite Rory McIlroy hosts Pro-Am for children’s cancer charity

Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Tony McCoy pictured  at Royal County Down ahead of the Irish Open. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

World number one believes home tournament now a better ‘fit’ to his schedule

Sergio Garcia of Spain answers questions from the media during the Pro-Am round prior to the Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Spaniard won his first European Tour event at Druid’s Glen in 1999

Josh Matavesi celebrates his match winning try against Munster in the Pro 12 semi-final - which moments later was disallowed by the TMO. Photograph: Inpho

With the 2014/15 season nearly over, here’s some of the good, the bad and the stupid

Munster’s Paul O’Connell salutes the crowd after the Guinness Pro 12 semi-final at  Thomond Park. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Secondrow admits win over Ospreys likely to be final game for Munster at Thomond Park

John Cooney comes in at scrumhalf for Connacht with Kieran Marmion out injured. Photograph: Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho

Pat Lam says players are battered and bruised but hugely motivated for trip to Kingsholm

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend: his team  have won 16 of their 22 Pro12 games in the regular league. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Coach hopes energy from Scotstoun crowd can spur victory over Ulster

Alastair Seeley leads William Dunlop during qualifying at the Northwest 200. William and his brother Michael were riding behind their father Robert when he died in a crash during practice on the circuit in 2008. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

Dunlop brothers and peers keep coming back in this celebration of fearless ability

“I’ve always been able to be calm on the pitch,” says Ulster outhalf Paddy Jackson. “I’ve learned over the years because I came in at a young age and I’ve had a lot of experience of ups and downs.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ulster outhalf finding voice on pitch after struggling in previous years to impose himself

Gordon D’Arcy could make his final home appearance for Leinster off the bench as they try to ensure a top-six finish. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

Leinster aim to keep Pro12 destiny ‘in our own hands’ as D’Arcy faces final home game

Cian Healy is likely to miss the rest of Leinster’s season as he battles with a neck injury. Photograph: Inpho

Prop’s neck a concern for Irish camp with August internationals likely return date

Irish Sports Council chief executive John Treacy says criminalising doping should be considered. Photograph: Inpho

ISC chief executive says that jailing athletes who cheat would be a major step forward

Eoin Reddan and Leinster have two Pro 12 games left to ensure they finish in the Champions Cup qualification places. Photograph: Afp

Matt O’Connor’s side have two games to hold on to a Champions Cup qualification place

Ulster’s Darren Cave believes being knocked out of Europe early on has helped his side domestically. Photograph: Inpho

Centre believes lack of success in Europe has boosted Ulster domestically

Wexford woman is back to full health and looking forward to further successes

 Isa Nacewa in action for Leinster in the Challenge Cup semi-final against Biarritz in 2013. The utility back has not played professional rugby since retiring at the end of that season. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Grenoble coach believes fullback is gifted genetically and different from most players

CJ Stander: “I just go out to do my best in the red jersey. It is all about the team but it is great to be selected for awards like this.” Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

South African backrow forward will be available to play for Ireland after World Cup

Isa Nacewa is returning to Leinster for the 2015-16 season. Photo:  Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Matt O’Connor believes Fijian will play vital role during World Cup window

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