No Grand Tour has ever been won without some tale of hardship –  Dutch rider Rick Flens of Team LottoNL-Jumbo after crashing during the 13th stage of the 98th Giro d’Italia yesterday. Photograph:  Claudio Peri/EPA

Beyond doping, etiquette of ride on, don’t look back, deal with consequences later holds

Kilkenny hurling legend Henry Shefflin never experienced sledging on a hurling field in the course of a glittering career. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Kilkenny stalwart turned pundit believes a unified Banner county can edge out Limerick

The proposed Centre of Excellence at Tralee IT.

New training facilities worth €5.8m being developed in the Kingdom

Clare’s Shane O’Donnell: “We’re very close. We’ve always been very close.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

‘We were all fairly content with the way everything was dealt with’

Niall McMorrow: midfielder is  going  to see a specialist over his  hand tendon injury he picked up at training, but he has been ruled out for at least the next few weeks. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Ger Cunningham loses players ahead of Leinster championship opener

 Limerick’s Cian Lynch in action against Dublin at Croke Park during this year’s league campaign. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ciarán Carey’s nephew is eager to make an impact in first championship season

Tyrone’s Seán Cavanagh tackles Donegal’s  Odhrán MacNiallais during the Ulster SFC clash at Ballybofey. Photo: Lorcan Doherty/Presseye/Inpho

Tyrone veteran says incidences and level of abuse reaching a new high in game

Dublin GAA football star Alan Brogan, and his son Jamie. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Alan Brogan heading into last championship campaign with Dublin footballers

Leitrim manager Shane Ward shakes hands with Kevin Walsh of Galway after the Connacht Senior Football Championship quarter-final at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmad. Photograph: James Crosbie/Inpho.

Leitrim manager Shane Ward bemoans lack of clinical finishing

Galway goalscorer Damien Comer gets a pat on the head from his team-mate Michael Lundy during the Connacht SFC quarter-final match against Leitrim at Páirc Seán Mac Diarmada in carrick-on-Shannon. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Tribesmen win by double scores in Carrick-on-Shannon, but can they halt Mayo’s march?

Mark English is getting ready for his summer schedule of races  with the aim being to peak at the World Athletics Championships in Beijing at the end of August. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Reaction of some players to issue this week has been distinctly amateurish

With his latest medical exams at UCD now over, English is ready to open his outdoor season. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

European Indoor silver medalist says sport has been badly tarnished by cheats

Roscommon’s Senan Kilbride and Leitrim’s Gary Reynolds. Kilbride believes that Connacht is perhaps at its strongest in several years.

Both Leitrim and Roscommon go into the championships with confidence

Waterford’s Kevin Moran with his GAA/GPA Opel Player of the Month award. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Forward and free-taker could leave clinic after operation on broken shin

Kerry’s David Moran in action for Kerry against Donegal last summer. Photo: Inpho

Son of the legendary ‘Ogie’, Kerry’s man behind enemy lines

Dublin footballer James McCarthy has a therapeutic use exemption for a Ventolin inhaler.

Dublin defender and GPA chief voice fears for young players over banned substances

Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash says GAA players need drug education. Photograph: Inpho

Cork goalkeeper fears implications of positive tests after inadvertent use

Ronnie Delany of Ireland wins the 1500m at the Melbourne Olympic Games of 1956, three years previous he won the Irish schools 800m. Photograph: IOC/Allsport.

Irish Schools Athletics Championships an inspiration for many in all walks of life

Wexford forward PJ Banville has won four county football medals with Horeswood. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Wexford forward has the best of both worlds playing football while travelling

Michael Meehan:  “I suppose there’s hope in Galway every year, but being fair, I’m sure it’s Mayo, followed by Roscommon, followed by Galway.” Photograph:  Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Former Galway county star Michael Meehan recalls a close shave in the Big Apple

Colin O’Riordan will captain Tipperary in Saturday’s All-Ireland Under-21 Football Championship final against Tyrone at Parnell Park.

Munster under-21 champions’ surge in football is centred around their captain

Karl Lacey: “It makes a huge difference, it’s unbelievable. I only kind of realise how much of a difference it makes now that I’m doing it.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Classy defender dedicating his summer to Donegal’s cause

Henry Shefflin celebrating another Kilkenny All-Ireland victory. “At the moment it is still a bit of a novelty, that bit of freedom. I have been busy with my family life, my work.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/inpho

Legendary figure maintains Cats are still the team to beat in this year’s championship

Kilkenny hurling legend Henry Shefflin with, from left,  Alice Brannigan (8), Hannah Brannigan (7) and twins Conor  and Tadhg Scanlon (7), at the launch of Kellogg’s renewed sponsorship deal with GAA Cúl Camps.

Retired three-time player of the year in talks with RTÉ and Sky

PJ Banville, the former Wexford player, is now lining out with New York. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

New York host Tribesmen in annual Connacht football championship opener

 Roscommon manager John Evans: “There were a few harsh words at half-time.” Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho

Half forward hospitalised after getting bang on the eye before Division Two final

Caolan Mooney of Down claims the ball ahead of Roscommon’s  Neil Collins during the Allianz Football League division two final at Croke Park. Photo:  Donall Farmer/Inpho

Connacht side pull away from Down in second half to secure back-to-back league silverware

Paula Radcliffe is being rightfully remembered in the build-up to tomorrow’s London Marathon not just as one of Britain’s greatest athletes, but an athlete we may never again see the likes of. Photograph: Alan Betson

World record holder, now 41 year old, takes final lap of honour in London Marathon

Dublin’s Tomás Brady missed most of the 2013 All-Ireland winning season due to a cruciate ligament injury. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

The versatile footballer misses hurling but is now focused on beating Cork in the Allianz Football League final

Roving half-forward Colm O’Driscoll has been a key player in Brian Cuthbert’s new-look Cork team. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Cork half-forward has flourished alongside siblings in Brian Cuthbert’s set-up

GPA CEO Dessie Farrell at the launch of the report entitled “Never Enough Time” – the experience of third level student county GAA players by Dr Aoife Lane, Department of Health Sport and Exercise Science, Waterford Institute of Technology.

Burden of playing so much sport affecting third-level academic studies

Roscommon’s Neil Collins fighting past Cavan challenges at Breffni Park. The defender is also fighting to make his mark in the fashion industry. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho

Defender is a key member of Roscommon side chasing the Division Two title

Sky will broadcast eight Saturday evening qualifiers, four provincial championship games and two All-Ireland football championship quarter-finals exclusively.

British broadcaster will have 14 exclusive matches while RTÉ will show 31 in total

Down’s Donal O’Hare: “It’s just a thing that has been going around the county, that people haven’t wanted to play. But the 30 people who are there at the minute opted to play for the county and I think there is no better feeling in the world than wearing your county colours.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Win or lose against Roscommon, thoughts will soon shift to the Ulster championship

Conor O’Sullivan has opted out of the Cork senior hurling panel. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Management confirm that Sarsfields defender will not be involved for the foreseeable future

James McCarthy was forced to undergo surgery at the end of last season to repair a damaged groin muscle. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Dublin defender says league has been a bonus but the focus is now on winning it

Martin Fagan ran inside the marathon qualification time for the 2016 Olympic Games during a race in Zurich. Photogrph:  Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Marathon runner secures Rio qualification time in Switzerland

Ireland’s Martin Fagan has made the qualifying time for the Rio Olympic Games after running a time of      2:16:09 at the Zurich marathon in his first race back after a two-year ban for doping. Photo:  Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Irish athlete runs 2:16:09 in first marathon back after serving two-year doping ban

The Rio Olympics: only 475 days to go and each one of those will count for aspiring Irish athletes

Athletes face uphill task with many events demanding better times than Irish record

“I’m lucky in that I’m part of a great team in St Vincent’s and a great team with Dublin over the last three or four years.” – Diarmuid Connolly. photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Dublin and St Vincent’s forward not dwelling too much on the past ahead of new campaign

Dublin hurler Mark Schutte in his Cuala club colours.

Hurler ready to make up for lost time after last year’s injury woe

Alan Cadogan returns at corner forward for Cork in their Allianz Hurling League semi-final against Dublin on Sunday. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Alan Cadogan, Mark Ellis and Stephen McDonnell return for Nowlan Park encounter

GAA director general Páraic Duffy says naming rights to Croke Park are unlikely to be sold. Photograph: Norman McCloskey/Inpho

DG says GAA may be open to deal, but it will not happen not during his tenure

 Michael Cahill in action for Tipperary against Kilkenny in last year’s All-Ireland final. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Allianz Hurling League semi-final against Waterford may come too soon for defender

Tributs have flowed in following the death of Dave Billings. Photograph: Inpho

Deep shock at the death of former Dublin selector and ’Gaelic games evangelist’

 Mark English, seen here winning the silver medal in the 800m at the 2015 European Indoor Athletics Championships, needs to run quicker than 1:45.80 to qualify for the Rio Olympics. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Men’s marathon standard of 2:17 a little quicker than expected

 Noel Connors tries to block down Cork’s Patrick Horgan. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Decies have best defensive record of any team in league this season

 Ryan O’Dwyer says he will always be known as a Tipperary hurler playing for Dublin. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

New manager Ger Cunningham is also an import into the set-up

Tiger Woods was one of the first professional golfer to make efforts on fitness and weight. Photograph: Reuters.

While some people like to take a stand against putting horses health at risk, perhaps they should spare a thought for the jockeys (...)

Main change in hurling sees just one player in goal to face a penalty

Wicklow manager Johnny Magee laments loss of experienced players. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

County finished joint-bottom of Division Four after losing to London on last day

Colm O’Driscoll: one of three brothers in the Cork line-up for Sunday’s semi-final against Donegal at Croke Park

Monaghan name unchanged side for another tilt against Dublin

Kerry manager Eamonn Kelly: “I would think that if a team wins their league outright they should be promoted, automatically, same as they would in every other league.”

Eamonn Kelly’s side now required to beat Antrim to seal promotion to Division 1B

Brian O’Driscoll (right) played for the Cork senior side in this year’s Allianz Football League. Photograph: James Crosbie/Inpho.

Family affair as Brother wants to again follow in his older siblings’ footsteps

Monaghan manager Malachy O’Rourke’s focus for the training camp has changed after their 11-point loss to Dublin. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Presseye/Inpho

Malachy O’Rourke’s side preparing for Allianz League semi-final after last week’s defeat

Donegal under-21 captain Ryan McHugh and Tyrone under-21 captain Kieran McGeary, who was part of the Tyrone side to last win an underage title. Photograph: Presseye/Darren Kidd/Inpho

Tyrone seeking a first Ulster final win since 2006, while Donegal last won in 2010

Conor Gillespie, who is back for Meath after a long spell on the sidelines. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Conor Gillespie believes county played best football in their division

Maxim Iglinskiy of Astana, who tested positive for EPO. Photoraph: Michel Krakowski/AFP/Getty Images

Ruling on Astana ban will show how much has changed since McQuaid’s term at UCI

Back in harness: the return of Jonathan Sexton (centre, against Bayonne) to the European Champions Cup  should strengthen Racing Metro in Sunday’s quarter-final. Photograph: Iroziroz Gaizka/AFP/Getty Images

Saracens in good nick too, and could be the one English club to progress to semi-finals

 Pat McQuaid, the former head of UCI, cycling’s world governing body.

An unrepentant former head of international cycling trenchantly defends his legacy in a sport dogged by doping controversies

Leighton Glynn celebrates with the trophy after the victory over Australia at Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast in 2011. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Former Armagh boss says representing country remains a huge honour for players

Aogan O’Fearghail: “There are far more good things in Gaelic football than negative things, absolutely no doubt about that.” Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

GAA president contradicts Mickey Harte and says entertainment still central to the game

Joe Kernan won an All-Ireland football title in his first year in charge of Armagh. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Former Armagh boss set to oversee November Test against Australians

Waterford hurling manager Derek McGrath is planning for the future

Two even divisions of six teams would serve the game of hurling better, according to McGrath

Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor of Kenya  wins at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang, China. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The event is dying a death, with numbers of participants declining each year

 Jason Smyth celebrates  wining the 200m T13  final during the London 2012 Paralympic Games. He received €40,000 from the Irish Sports Council. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Twenty athletes receive the €40,000 “podium” amount

European indoord silver medalist Mark English missed out on full podium funding. Photograph: Inpho

Katie Taylor and Robert Heffernan will also benefit from Irish Sport Council International carding scheme

Tipperary’s Cathal Barrett: “It would be nice to win the league final. Winning is a habit, and you can keep believing, following through in Munster, and the championship.” Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Defender says driven Clare boss helped him come to prominence in the Fitzgibbon Cup

Ireland’s Rob Heffernan finished fourth in the 2012 Olympics but may be upgraded and given the bronze medal.  Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Russian Sergei Kirdyapkin won the 50km walk at the 2012 London Olympics

Henry Shefflin’s decision to call time – at the age of 36, with a record 10 All-Ireland medals, 13 Leinster titles, 11 All Stars, six League titles – has been coming. Photograph: INPHO/James Crombie

One of the greatest players in the history of hurling will bow out in Kilkenny on Wednesday

Ciaran Kilkenny of Dublin in action against  Keith Higgins and Patrick Durcan of Mayo in the Allianz Football League. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

Dublin forward says long absence has made him appreciate game a lot more

Galway’s Damien Comer: “You’d the high of the U-21 on Saturday, then go out with the seniors and another loss . . .” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Galway’s Damien Comer one of a select band juggling commitments to their county

Eoghan O’Gara will miss the season for Dublin with a cruciate ligament injury. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Cruciate ligament injury is ‘very disappointing’ for the player

An RTE documentary charts John Joe Nevin’s return to boxing. Photograph: Inpho

An RTE documentary show’s Nevin’s return to boxing after breaking both of his legs

Kilkenny’s TJ Reid: The Ballyhale Shamrocks captain is willing to come back into the Kilkenny side for a relegation playoff. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Dublin need a win or a draw against Galway to see them through to knock-outs

Clare hurler Davy O’Halloran told The Irish Times that he and team-mate Nicky O’Connell felt “humiliated” by the treatment he received from Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald.  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Management and players say disciplinary issue ‘is now closed’ following St Patrick’s Day meeting

Slaughtneil’s Christopher McKaigue tries to outrun the challenge of Corofin’s Micheál Lundy during the AIB All-Ireland Club Senior Football Final at Croke Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Former Crossmolina All-Ireland winner becomes first to win as manager of a different club

Slaughtneil’s Christopher McKaigue dives to try and block Corofin’s Michael Lundy during yesterday’s All-Ireland club football final at Croke Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

No way back for Slaughtneil once Michael Lundy fired over three quickfire points

Joey Holden (right) in action against Dan Currams of Kilcormac/Killoughey in the AIB Leinster Club Senior Hurling  Final at  O’Moore Park in  Portlaoise. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Ballyhale Shamrocks defender has sharpened his game against some of the best

High fielding has been one of the highlights of Johnny Buckley and his  Kerry team-mates. Photograph:   Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Dr Crokes player relishing full run in a league campaign

Clare win overshadowed by circumstances of Davy O’Halloran and Nicky O’Connell exit from squad

Ireland’s Mark English is interviewed on his return home from winning silver at the European indoors in Prague. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

With the race for fitness ever-dominant real athletes are being overlooked

Dublin’s Niall Corcoran says inconsistency has been a trait of their game in recent years but it is something they are trying to rectify. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Defender Niall Corcoran says they “forgot to bring the shovel to work” against Cork

Former soccer player David Bentley, hurler Jackie Tyrell and Gaelic footballer Aaron Kernan are the focus of The Toughest Trade. Photograph: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile.

A TV documentary sees two GAA stars exchange roles for soccer and baseball

Mark English celebrates winning a silver medal in the men’s European Indoor 800m final, in which he ran a tactically perfect race. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

The single-minded 21-year-old’s priority is the World Championships in the summer

Mark English felt he could catch Thijmen Kupers “once he timed it right”. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The 21-year-old puts strong finish down to “big well of energy” he felt in the last 150m

Mark English dips on the line for a second place and qualification for Sunday’s 800m European Indoor Final. Photograph: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Beaten across the line by Britain’s Guy Learmonth but second place finish enough

Ireland’s Declan Murray qualifies from his heat of the Men’s 800m as Poland’s Karol Konieczny and Austria’s Andreas Rapatz fall on the line. Photograph: Inpho

Must finish in top two to reach the European Indoor 800m final and emulate Seb Coe

Britain’s Jenny Meadows has run four of the five quickest 800m times in the world this season

Doping records casts dark shadow of doubt over successful Russian athletes

Mark English is expected to make it through Friday’s 800m heat where he may attempt to run from the front. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

800m runner has final hopes as do several other Irish competitors in Prague

Paul Galvin, at 35, will hope to have a positive impact on the Kerry football team after his decision to come out of retirement. Photograph: James Crosbie/Inpho

Retired Limerick midfielder John Galvin believes the Kerry forward has much to offer

Galway manager Anthony Cunningham: his charges host All-Ireland champions Kilkenny on Sunday. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Star recovering from broken finger but Fergal Moore fit to face Kilkenny

Ryan Wylie of UCD with Conor McHugh of DCU in the Sigerson Cup semi-final. McHugh features in Dublin’s U21 squad. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Most notable absentee is Cormac Costello, one of the standout players from last year

Paul Galvin: will add considerable experience to manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s already formidable panel. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

The 2009 Footballer of the Year returns to All-Ireland champions’ panel

From the start of this summer’s championship, all counties will be required to submit their team of 15 players, plus 11 further panel members (26 in total) no later than 9am on the Thursday before a weekend game. Photograph: Inpho.

Mickey Harte and Pete McGrath critical of tidying up of existing rule

Westmeath manager Tom Cribbin: “The lads have massive respect for him [Gerry Duffy].” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Advisers include former British Olympic nutritionist Barry Murray

Kerry forward Colm Cooper: ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee and he’d also torn the posterior cruciate ligament and fractured the kneecap. Photograph: Inpho

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice says he’s reluctant to put another date on return

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