Mike McCarthy: “If you don’t front up physically, if you come second best you are not going to win the game.” Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Straw clutching down Carton House way. A staid media afternoon before the daunting Welsh opener should not be taken as reflecting the mood in the Ire(...)

Francis Saili in action as Munster defeat Treviso 28-5 in Italy in the last round of European Champions Cup games. Photograph: Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho

Treviso 5 Munster 28 Not to be another name on the their wall. That was the request and that’s what Munster head coach Anthony Foley got from his si(...)

Ulster’s Nick Williams in action against Connacht. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Maybe it’s the relative lack of Irish interest, but the final weekend of what is now the European Champions Cup somehow used to seem more fun. Mathe(...)

Munster head of fitness Aled Walters and head coach Anthony Foley during training at University of Limerick this week. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Champions Cup: Treviso v Munster, Stadio Comunale di Monigo, Sunday, 1.0pm (BT Sport) This matters, honest. It matters because Munster are back her(...)

Prop John Ryan has signed a new three-year deal at Munster and will start away to Treviso on Sunday. Photograph:  Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Prop John Ryan and lock Donnacha Ryan come into the Munster pack as head coach Anthony Foley makes two changes from the side that beat Stade Francais (...)

Munster’s Simon Zebo celebrates his try with Francis Saili and Rory Scannell in their Champions Cup win over Stade Francais. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Munster 26 Stade Francais 13 There’s still fire in the Munster belly after all. This redemptory bonus point win will have little tangible effect on(...)

Leinster’s Eoin Reddan and Munster’s Andrew Conway are upended during the sides’ Pro12 clash in Thomond Park. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

At half-time Munster had 96 carries to Leinster’s 44, but the score was 7-10 in Leinster’s favour. The wind had a hand in this, as did Munster’s miss (...)

Munster’s Tommy O’Donnell in action against  Cian Healy of Leinster at Thomond Park last Sunday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Munster supporters have had very little to cheer about this Christmas but one moment which lifted the gloom was the sight of Tommy O’Donnell running (...)

Leinster centre Garry Ringrose makes the break for Isa Nacewa’s early try in the Guinness Pro12 game at Thomond park. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

We will get to the enduring brilliance of Seánie O’Brien but this story must begin at the weaving feet of Garry Ringrose. Andrew Conway might have (...)

Munster coach Anthony Foley: “It’s all our doing. “That’s the hardest part to it.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

There are ghosts all around Thomond Park. Late into Saturday’s icy cold night the spectre of Ronan O’Gara loomed largest over this once impenetrable (...)