Ireland’s Sean O’Brien gave a wonderfully bullish performance against France. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Leaders fall and others instantly rise up. Three, possibly four men lost, the Millennium became Seán O’Brien’s field, while Rory Best was only phenome(...)

Ireland fans celebrate victory after the IRB 2011 Rugby World Cup Pool C match between Australia and Ireland at Eden Park on September 17, 2011 in Auckland. Photograph: Sandra Mu/Getty Images

1 - 1987 Ireland 46 Canada 19 - Carisbrook, Dunedin It didn’t turn out to be the most auspicious of World Cups for Ireland. Coach, t(...)

Cian Healy, Paul O’Connell and Ronan O’Gara during Ireland’s 15-6 win over Australia at the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Getty

With rugby’s senior nations forming a relatively small pool of just eight sides, it figures that certain teams tend to meet each other regularly at th(...)

Seán O’Brien wants to make the most of his second Rugby World Cup campaign. Photograph: Inpho

Seán O’Brien is one of the 14 survivors from the last World Cup. Given that he was such a weapon in that tournament – Shaun Edwards and Wales deducing(...)

The 2011 Rugby World Cup semi-final defeat to Wales was Ronan O’gara’s last appearance for Ireland. Photograph: Getty

“It was an episode which has burned so deep into the heart and mind of Ireland that it is not yet possible for the historian to approach it with th(...)

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt faces a number of difficult decisions when it comes to selecting his squad for the World Cup.

Some celebrated outside backs are likely to miss out on the Ireland 31-man squad when it is submitted to the World Cup organisers by 5pm on Monday. No(...)

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

It’s more a challenge than a dilemma for Jordi Murphy to face the players he once looked up to when he was a teenager. More immediately to fight his w(...)

Stephen Ferris was arguably the most destructive flanker ever to play for Ireland. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The cruelty of it all reverberates when realising Stephen Ferris only turned 30 this month. Probably the most destructive flanker to play for Irela(...)

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

Martin McGuinness and Rory McIlroy made quite the pair at Royal County Down, the 18 holes of dunes and sand where this year’s Irish Open will be pla(...)

Shane Warne, Darren Clarke and BBC presenter Stephen Watson share a joke after playing in the Irish Open Pro-Am at Royal Co Down. Photograph: Mark Runnacles/Getty Images.

Stephen Watson managed to record a par and two spectators on the front nine. The face of BBC Sport Northern Ireland was persecuted by a misbehaving dr(...)