Paul O’Connell tries to hold up a Welsh maul at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The theatre superstition has it that a bad dress rehearsal makes for a good opening night, so Joe Schmidt and the Irish squad will not be panicking af(...)

Darren Cave is set to provide midfield cover for Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payneat the World Cup. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

As has been the case with other World Cup squad selections, there was always going to be some risk-taking when Joe Schmidt and his coaches finalise(...)

Ireland fullback Rob Kearney rises high to claim the ball ahead of Wales outhalf Dan Biggar at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Fittingly the heavens opened for the last quarter, which suited the team in front, which was deservedly Wales. And so it was that the Red Dragonhood r(...)

Ireland’s Keith Earls tackles George North resulting in him being taken off injured during the World Cup warm-up match against Wales at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

All the indications in the aftermath of Saturday’s anti-climactic end to Paul O’Connell’s magnificent Test career on home soil, along with Ireland’(...)

Conor Murray is confident going into his second World Cup. “We are in a very good place and I don’t think we should be shying away from that,” he says. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

This time four years ago it’s still remarkable to think that Conor Murray went into Ireland’s World Cup preparatory programme as fifth choice scrumhal(...)

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt faces a number of difficult decisions when it comes to selecting his squad for the World Cup. 2:54

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(...)

Ireland’s Paul O’Connell makes his way out for his final captain’s run at the Aviva Stadium yesterday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho 2:54

This, at face value, looks more like it. Lions Test starters abound for Ireland’s last home game before the World Cup, with fringe contenders drinking(...)

 Luke Fitzgerald: set to be given a run at outside centre against Wales.  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

Luke Fitzgerald looks set to be handed the number 13 jersey against Wales at the Aviva Stadium when Joe Schmidt announces his side at lunchtime today,(...)

Irish defence coach Les Kiss says there are areas where Ireland can improve. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Whereas other coaches have bitten the bullet in finalising their 31-man squads, or will have done so by the weekend, Joe Schmidt and his assistants(...)

Robbie Henshaw: “We’re going to attack a lot more and it’s going to be more exciting play.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

This time four years ago he was embarking on his final year at school, during which he would captain Marist College to their first Connacht Schools Cu(...)