It feels odd to be writing the European season off but it’s clear the Irish teams won’t win it out

 Irish players warm up in the Keep Rugby Clean IRB Anti-doping tee shirts before the 2014 Junior World Championship match against Fiji  in Auckland, New Zealand. Photo: Jason Oxenham/Getty

‘Without firm evidence, it’s unfair to tarnish the reputation of a generation of players’

Munster’s Paul O’Connell is tackled by Clermont Auvergne’s Wesley Fofana during the 2013 Heineken Cup semi final. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

For such a massive club, Clermont Auvergne always make you feel like you have a chance

Ireland physio Keith Fox assesses Conor Murray before leading him  from the pitch late in the game against Australia. Photo: Colm O’Neill/Inpho.

Alan Quinlan: It didn’t matter that a Test match was on the line, concussion protocols had to be followed

Australia coach Michael Cheika before the autumn Test against Wales at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.

Alan Quinlan believes the former Leinster coach does not take any prisoners in quest for success

Ireland line up for the South Africa  clash. “The more belief players have in the coach, his game plan and the chances of it succeeding, the more united they will be.” Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Vaunted South Africans made far more mistakes than Ireland did and paid the price

 Lions captain Paul O’Connell beats South Africa’s Victor Matfield to the ball at Ellis Park  in Johannesburg in 2009. The two men renew acquintances this Saturday. Photo: Stu Forster/Getty

Ireland’s Paul O’Connell and South Africa’s Victor Matfield are two or the best lineout operators in world rugby

Ulster’s Nick Williams and Jared Payne dejected after the loss to Toulon at the weekend. Photograph: Darren Kidd/Inpho

Alan Quinlan: Players perform best when there is stability rather than constant chopping

Forward momentum: Munster outhalf Ian Keatley has been named in Joe Schmidt’s Ireland squad. Photograph: Inpho

Ian Keatley is showing that he has the ability to fill the gap left by the iconic Ronan O’Gara

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