During the National Hurling League relegation play-off against Kilkenny Clare’s Shane O’Donnell gave notice that, after a litany of injuries, he was finally ready to deliver on the promise of two years ago. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Loss at Semple Stadium would not be the end of the world for either side

Limerick’s Barry Hennessy: will start in goal against Clare at Semple Stadium on Sunday. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Minor star Cian Lynch to start at corner forward for TJ Ryan’s side

Tyrone’s Ronan McNabb gets to grips with Donegal’s Michael Murphy during their Ulster clash last Sunday.

Donegal-Tyrone game should have had more black cards but referee had tough job

Donegal’s Michael Murphy and Neil McGee with Justin McMahon of Tyrone during the Ulster SFC preliminary round game in  Ballybofey. Photo:  Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Mickey Harte’s team have not beaten their rivals in provincial competition since 2007

Donegal’s Patrick McBrearty: has been in exceptional form. Photograph: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Retirement has claimed Tyrone legends Conor Gormley and Stephen O’Neill

Galway’s Fiontan O Curraoin forms a formidable midfield partnership with Paul Conroy. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Leitrim will look to limit damage with half of team’s defence made up of debutants

Former All Star Colm Browne was manager of Laois back in 1995. Photograph: Tom Honan\Inpho

20 years ago this fixture brought huge controversy with a very sporting finish

Tyrone’s Sean Cavanagh has been named to start against Donegal this weekend. Photo: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho

Mickey Harte names just one full debutant, Pádraig McNulty at centrefield

Seán Óg Ó hAilpín and Diarmuid O’Sullivan celebrate winning the 2005 All-Ireland. Cork haven’t won the senior hurling title since. Photograph: Tom Honan/Inpho Seán Óg Ó hAilpín and Diarmuid O’Sullivan celebrate winning the 2005 All-Ireland. Cork haven’t won the senior hurling title since. Photograph: Tom Honan/Inpho

Rebels perform overhaul to reverse decade of falling behind at youth level

Jim McGuinness’s first championship game in charge for Donegal attracted the opprobrium of the Sunday Game, something that turned  McGuinness into a cause celebre  that summer. Photograph: Russell Pritchard/Presseye/Inpho

To argue game has a duty to entertain is to misunderstand its enduring appeal

Tyrone’s Seán Cavanagh and Donegal’s Michael Murphy in action during their Allianz League Division One match at Ballybofey, Co Donegal. Photograph: Inpho

Donegal have taken over the mantle of Ulster’s most successful county

Pauric Mahony (left) scored 1-90 during Waterford’s successful league campaign. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

Manager Derek McGrath praises maturity and hard work of his wounded warrior

Aidan O’Mahony had medical reasons for taking Salbutamol. Photograph: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

Only one other case in 14 years of testing – and that was dismissed

Drug testing was agreed with the GAA in 2001 and implemented the following year. Photo:  James Crombie/Inpho

‘Trial panellist’ reportedly tested positive for steroids during out of competition test

Sign at Semple Stadium. Photograph: Inpho.

Association will meet with Irish Sports Council to discuss the introduction of tests

John Meyler: says current structures aren’t serving the development of hurling. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Retired players from successful counties could mentor others, says former boss

Tom Woulfe, who was pivotal in getting the GAA to drop ‘Rule 27’, has died age 99.

Woulfe was pivotal in getting the association to drop ‘Rule 27’ - the ban on foreign games

Tyrone U-21 mentor Peter Canavan: There’s no reason to doubt his  sincerity in rejecting the insinuation that the management schooled the players in cynical practices. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Any mouthing picked up from one player to another should be met with a black card

“I can say from initial meeting with referees that their knowledge of the rules is impeccable” says Walsh

Seán Walsh of Kerry chairs the Referees Development Committee

Waterford’s Michael Walsh and Cormac Murphy of Cork in action during the Allianz Hurling League Division One Final at Semple Stadium. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Derek McGrath’s side stun favourites Cork with comprehensive 10-point win

If Cork can limit their influence, through Aidan Walsh (above), Séamus Harnedy and Mark Ellis in the central area Waterford’s challenge won’t run as smoothly. Photograph: Inpho

Neither side admitting championship encounter will have any impact on their approach

Waterford’s Tony Browne is pursued by Brian Corcoran and Pat Ryan of Cork during the 1998 National Hurling League Final. Photograph: Patrick Bolger/Inpho.

Former coach recalls first steps in the county’s return to the big time

Midleton’s Aidan Ryan will line out at full back for Cork in the Allianz Hurling League final against Waterford. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Jimmy Barry-Murphy makes three changes from side that beat Dublin in semi-final

Derek McGrath: The current Waterford boss was a vital cog in the machine that  delivered unprecedented underage success in the past 10 years. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Ongoing development work helping to ensure a continuous presence at hurling’s top table

Dublin celebrate their Allianz Football League Division One final success over Cork at Croke Park. Photograph: Inpho

Precedent suggests counties with multiple league wins do no better than win one All-Ireland along the way – Jim Gavin’s team ha(...)

 Waterford’s Pauric Mahony and Cork’s Lorcán McLoughlin at Croke Park on Monday in advance of the Allianz Hurling League Division One  final. Photograph: Sportsfile

Cork’s Lorcán McLoughlin is optimistic the team is going in the right direction ahead of league final

Dublin’s Diarmuid Connolly scores a penalty past Cork goalkeeper Ken O’Halloran during the Allianz Football League division one final at  Croke Park. Photo:  Donall Farmer/Inpho

Jim Gavin’s side on top all around the field as defence restricts Rebel raids

Down’s Kevin McKernan is likely to play a sweeping role to provide cover for the defence given the quality of the opposition attack. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Clash of styles will make for interesting viewing as Rossies seek to outmuscle rivals

Dublin and Tipperary’s under-21 footballers stand together before their All-Ireland semi-final clash as they observe a minute’s silence for the late Dave Billings. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

GAA was lucky to have a man like St Vincents clubman, who died suddenly last week

Dublin manager Ger Cunningham saw his side lose out on two scorable frees due to new advantage rule in their one-point Allianz Hurling League semi-final against Cork.  Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Jimmy Barry-Murphy accepts Cork were a bit lucky but ‘thrilled’ to survive semi-final

Séamus Callanan has been cleared to play in Tipperary’s league semi-final against Waterford. Photograph: Inpho

All-Star free to take on Waterford after red card picked up against Offaly is rescinded

 Donegal’s Hugh McFadden tries to block down Cork’s John O’Rourke. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho

Dublin and Cork continue the process of putting right what went wrong last year

Cork’s Mark Collins celebrates scoring his side’s first goal against Mayo - one of ten during the league. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Rebels scored 10 goals in the league despite defensive tactics

Clarification comes response to a query as to what would happen if a player was fouled for a penalty in the act of scoring a point. Photograph: Inpho

Interpretation was recommended by the GAA’s Management Committee

Monaghan’s Vinny Corey gets to the ball ahead of Dublin’s Paul Flynn in the Allianz National Football League semi-final in Croke Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Jim Gavin’s side see out dramatic endgame to remain on trail of third successive title

Dublin manager Jim Gavin during the Allianz Football League Division One  semi-final against Monaghan at  Croke Park, Dublin. Photograph: Inpho

Monaghan manager Malachy O’Rourke happy with side’s improvement after the previous week’s 11-point beating by Dublin

Cork’s Noel Galvin tackles Aidan O’Shea of Mayo during the Allianz Football League Division One game at Páirc Uí Rinn last week. Photograph: James Crosbie/Inpho.

Crunch time as league campaigns come to a head in football

Tyrone manager Mickey Harte may be missing from the sideline for  Sunday’s crucial league fixture against All-Ireland champions Kerry. Photograpgh: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho/Presseye

Manager underwent surgical procedure on Monday and is recovering at home

Mickey Harte: has said Tyrone need to be in Division One of the league. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Presseye/Inpho

Mickey Harte’s men must beat Kerry in Omagh to remain in Division One

Kery welcome Colm Cooper back this weekend. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Former Footballer of the Year winners are both named on bench for vital Tyrone match

Davy Fitzgerald: Clare manager has been in the eye of the storm over the treatment of Davy O’Halloran. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Role of new Player Welfare Mentors could be expanded to address areas of current concern

Kilkenny’s Cillian Buckley scores the winning point despite the efforts of Clare’s Cian Dillon during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A relegation play-off at Nowlan Park Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Terrific match goes to the wire in Nowlan Park before Cillian Buckley hits winner

TJ Reid is one of four Ballyhale Shamrocks players to return to the Kilkenny side for Sunday’s Division 1A releagtion play-off with Clare. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Four Ballyhale Shamrocks players among seven changes for relegation play-off

Killian Burke: starts for Cork against Wexford.  Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Killian Burke, Anthony Spillane and William Kearney called up by Jimmy Barry-Murphy

Kilkenny trainer Fr Tommy Maher with Ted Carroll, Fr Tommy Murphy and Eddie Keher.

Monsignor helped take game from raw state and made it a sport of supreme skill

John Evans: “If we’re ambitious we’ve got to be looking at trying to win a Connacht title. That’s a must  . . ” Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Experienced manager’s team host Galway as they bid to maintain their promotion push

Henry Shefflin Press Conference where he announced his inter-county retirement. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Henry’s Shefflin’s farewell: The full transcript of that final media press conference

Kilkenny trainer Fr Tommy Maher with Ted Carroll, Fr Tommy Murphy and Eddie Keher. He was regarded as perhaps the most influential coach in the game. Photograph: kilkennygaa.ie

Led county to seven All-Ireland titles in 18 seasons at the helm

The GPA will be taking no further action against Clare after hurlers Davy O’Halloran and Nickey O’Connell complained about the disciplinary treatment they received from manager Davy Fitzgerald. Photograph: Inpho

GPA will offer support to hurlers Nickey O’Connell and Davy O’Halloran

Henry Shefflin addressing the assembled media: “Of course you’d love to keep going but I’m 36 not 26 and I knew that day was coming.” Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Decorated star only made up his mind watching Kilkenny play Clare last weekend

2011 final : John O’Keeffe and Shane McGrath get up close and personal  – Hard work had certainly brought out a formidable talent but Henry Shefflin had what all great players possess – the confidence and nerve to execute his skills under excruciating pressure

Executing his skills under excruciating pressure was what set the Kilkenny great apart

Derry manager Brian McIver: his side must beat Dublin and Cork and hope the teams immediately above them draw their match and lose their final fixtures on Sunday week.  Photograph: Inpho

Last year’s finalists have taken only one point out of 10 in Division One campaign

Waterford’s Maurice Shanahan tussles with Matthew O’Hanlon of Wexford during Waterford’s Allianz League Division 1A win. Photograph: Inpho

Accomplished display sees Derek McGrath’s men Bounce straight back from Division One B

Galway’s  Joe Canning: his recent return strengthens the side  but the balance of motivation – for Dublin, a possible return to Nowlan Park for a relegation play-off – favours a Dublin win. Photograph: Inpho

Allianz Football and Hurling League previews

Feargal McGill, the GAA’s head of games administration: “The problem was that five games weren’t enough so we had to look at more fixtures and the quarter-finals worked.” Photograph: Inpho

Despite proving controversial, the format has seen success on a number of fronts

Richie Hogan and Cillian Buckley will be rested for Kilkenny this weekend. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

All-Ireland champions definitely involved in relegation play-off Cillian Buckley also rested

Ballyhale Shamrocks’ Henry Shefflin and  Eoin Reid go for a high ball in the All-Ireland club final against Kilmallock. They scored five points between them. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Wides costly for Kilmallock as first-half Colin Fennelly goal proves key

Ballyhale captain TJ Reid and teammates celebrate their All-Ireland club success over Kilmallock at Croke Park. Photograph: Inpho

Joint manager Andy Moloney admits to wanting to be part of a set-up that equalled 1980s side

Gary Sice: one of several Corofin players with county experience. Photograph: Gerry McManus/Inpho.

Ulster side without injured Bradley as they go into final with Galway champions

Ballyhale’s Colin Fennelly in action against Kilcormac-Killoughey in the Leinster club final. He poses a potent threat in the wide expanses of Croke Park. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Star-studded Kilkenny champions no strangers to the demands of All-Ireland final day

 Pádraic Maher claims the sliotar ahead Tipperary team-mate  Ronan Maher and Kilkenny’s  Walter Walsh and Richie Hogan during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A match at  Semple Stadium. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Sparkling early exchanges give way to easy victory over All-Ireland champions

Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea plays one of the many hand-passes in the recent Allianz Football League clash against Tyrone.   Photo: Mike Shaughnessy/Inpho

Former FRC member says GAA needs to conduct annual review of how the game is played

All Star Peter Crowley comes into the Kerry half-back line for the visit of Donegal. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Kerry make three changes for repeat of All-Ireland final aginst Donegal

David Gough: “I understand the GAA’s viewpoint. I completely understand it. There has been no fall-out between me and the powers-that-be in the GAA over it.” Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

David Gough’s rainbow wristband is more a reflection of an individual’s identity than a statement of political allegiance

Cork’s Colm O’Neill: has shown great resolve to work his way back from three heartbreaking cruciate injuries.  Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Three cruciate injuries later, the 2012 All Star is making up for lost time

Dublin manager Ger Cunningham wants improved home form in Croke Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

County have lost two games from two in the stadium this year

Jim Gavin at yesterday’s launch of a new commercial deal. “We are not looking for a settled team. Most teams that we are playing are settled. We are trying new things.” Photo: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Dublin manager says hooter would have benefited games and aided referees

  Colm O’Driscoll tackles Kerry’s Anthony Maher during his side’s 11-point win over their rivals. Photograph: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

But given what transpired later in 2014, Brian Cuthbert urges caution

Tyrone’s Seán Cavannagh and Dublin’s Eoghan O’Gara will again do battle at Croke Park in their Division One encounter. Photograph: Inpho

Mickey Harte’s Tyrone look set up to frustrate Dublin

Dublin’s goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton: replaces Seán Currie at Croke Park for the Division One match against Tyrone. Photograph: Inpho

Jim Gavin makes six changes to the team beaten by All-Ireland champions Kerry

Jason Ryan has seen his Kildare side beaten despite dominating games in this year’s Allianz Football League Division Two. Photograph: James Crosbie/Inpho.

Manager believes it’s an overall problem with consistent delivery throughout matches

Shane O’Neill: will be back at headquarters for the Division One clash against Ger Cunningham’s league leaders Dublin. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Cork boss Brian Cuthbert selects Stephen O’Donoghue to start at centrefield

The 2015 GAA Annual Congress which  took place at the  Slieve Russell Hotel, Co Cavan.  Photo: Andrew Paton/Inpho

As a broad policy making body and a sounding board for members, it should still have a key role

GAA director general Paraic Duffy, outgoing president Liam O’Neill and new president Aogán Ó Fearghail. Photo: Inpho/Andrew Paton

One-on-one penalty in hurling endorsed as well as introduction of an advantage rule similar to football’s

New GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail addresses the GAA’s annual congress at the Slieve Russell Hotel, Co Cavan. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho

New GAA president takes office looking for consensus on fixtures and says there is no place for elites in the association

Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor make his first start of the year as his side face Monaghan at MacHale Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Dublin and Kerry’s clash in Killarney the highlight of the weekend's actions

Páraic Duffy addressing the GAA Congress: “Is broadcast policy impacting on attendances and club games? We’re showing two live games every Sunday.” Photo: Andrew Paton/Inpho

Director general fears televised games impacting on attendances and club games

“Our development officer when he goes into schools finds it a lot easier to talk about the games because he can say it’s on Sky, the same television station as Premier League football and that gives exposure to the games and their value.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Reservations remain about increased cost but profile of games is seen to have benefited

Kieran Donaghy makes his first Allianz League appearance of the campaign for Kerry against Dublin. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Cillian O’Connor and Seamus O’Shea boost Mayo for Monaghan test

Mary Immaculate College, Limerick  manager Eamonn Cregan with player Declan Hannon. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Rows give clubs and counties added reason to regard third-level games as nuisance

Dublin’s Liam Rushe, Chris Chrummy and Colm Cronin battle for possession against Matthew Ruth and Brian Kennedy of Kilkenny. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Ger Cunningham’s side follow up their win over Tipp with another fine display

AIB  has become the bank the eighth sponsor of the GAA’s All-Ireland football championship. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Deal with the GAA unvelied at Croke Park is believed to worth around €1.5m a year

O’Donovan Rossa’s Christopher McGuinness and Deaglin Murphy celebrate victory over Kilburn Gaels in the All-Ireland Intermediate Club Hurling Final at Croke. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Between recent national profile and years of development work the future’s brightening

Luke O’Farrell will line out at full forward for Cork against Clare at Páirc Uí Rinn. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Galway to hold late fitness tests on Fergal Moore and Pádraig Mannion

It’s unlikely the GAA in Croke Park feel inhibited about justifying the broadcasting deal so discussion should have been facilitated.

There is a sound argument in favour of the current broadcasting rights allocation

Dublin’s Danny Sutcliffe gets ahead of Tipperary’s Kieran Bergin during the Allianz Hurling League Dviaison One A clash at Parnell Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Goals from Eamonn Dillon and Liam Rushe help secure 12-point win

Tipperary’s Brendan Maher: “You have to look at each year as it is and 2015 is a new year for us and we are looking forward to games we have coming up.” Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Series of galling defeats to Kilkenny has not dimmed commitment or appetite

Kilkenny’s Paul Murphy Photograph: INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

All Star corner back Paul Murphy tasked with filling JJ Delaney’s place

Jim Gavin accused Cork of defensive tactics. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Croke Park’s main worry though should be creating a more competitive championship

Cork’s James Loughrey: “Look at Donegal: it takes a year or longer to master a defensive structure. You can’t just suddenly do it.” Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Cork defender says refining a good defensive system takes time and effort

Garth Brooks’s five  concerts scheduled for  Croke Park never went ahead last year. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

‘I think looking to have five concerts in a row was just too much and I think we got caught up in the exuberance of that’

Dublin’s Kevin McManamon and Odhran Mac Niallais of Donegal will renew battle at Croke Park in their Allianz League Division One clash. Photograph: Inpho

Croke Park are expecting something in the neighbourhood of 25,000 for Dublin v Donegal Division One clash

Gort manager Matt Murphy believes that the experience of playing an All-Ireland semi-final three years ago against Coolderry  will stand to his team. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Portora make different type of history as they face Kilmallock in their first ever semi-final

Tommy Walsh will makes his first start for Kerry since his return from Australia. Photograph: James Crosbie/Inpho.

GAA forced to move All-Ireland hurling club semi-finals due to a frozen Semple Stadium pitch

Ciarán O’Hanlon (right) is one of the three Queen’s University players deemed ineligible to play in the Sigerson Cup. Photograph: Inpho.

Belfast university likely to contest Higher Education Authority’s expulsion decision

Tyrone’s Seán Cavanagh: suffered a heavy blow to the head when playing against Monaghan at Healy Park. Photo: Inpho/Presseye

Pressurised diagnoses and casual comments go with the territory for medical officers

Kerry’s Pa Kilkenny and Adam Gallagher of Mayo hit the ground in their Allianz Football League Division 1 tussle in Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

One of the most coveted defenders in the game accentuates the positive of a good start

Tommy Walsh finds his way blocked by Mayo’s Donal Vaughan as the All-Ireland champions lost to Mayo in Killarney. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Tommy Walsh makes first appearance since return from Australia but picks up an injury

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