Cian Healy in action against England in the Six Nations: niggling injuries cast doubt on his participation in South Africa tour. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Seán O’Brien makes progress but doubts over Josh van der Flier and Luke Fitzgerald

Munster Head coach Anthony Foley at training ahead of their Pro12 tie against Edinburgh. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Much scrutiny has been on the province this week as Anthony Foley saga rumbles on

Outhalf Jack Carty returns to the Connacht side following injury for the province’s Pro12 game against Treviso at Stadio Monigo. Photograph: James Crosbie/Inpho.

Coach Pat Lam knows Italian side are desperate for points to overtake Zebre

Devin Toner during Leinster training ahead of their Pro12 clash with Ulster. Photo: Inpho

Leinster man relishing forward battle with international colleague Iain Henderson

Ireland and Leinster outhalf Johnny Sexton at the launch of Topaz’s Cash for Clubs  community initiative, which offers clubs of all types and sizes from across the island of Ireland the chance to win  cash prizes. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland outhalf frustrated by way his safety has become a national talking point

Ireland coach Craig Fulton remains upbeat about his side’s campaign at Rio Olympics. Photograph: James Crombie.

Coach Craig Fulton looking forward to historic opening match against India

Concussion is suspected of causing various degenerative brain diseases and there is evidence to suggest that blows to the head are not good for the brain.

International Concussion and Head Injury Research Foundation is launched

Ben Te’o: the player earned respect from his Leinster team-mates over how he adapted to rugby union. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Leinster centre pleased with adapting to rugby union as he nears Worcester move

Leinster prop Marty Moore is close to a return from injury. Photograph: Inpho

Lam likely to be without Buckley for rest of season after prop fractures ankle

South Africa won the Rugby World Cup when they last hosted it in 1995, but may be prevented from doing so again in 2023. Photograph: Getty

Government banned unions from staging major events for missing race guidelines

 Simon Keogh, operations manager and head of legal affairs in Irupa. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

A total of 12 agents look after 170 senior players across the country

Katie Taylor fighting with Russia’s Sofya Ochigava during the women’s lightweight final at the London 2012 Olympic Games. Photograph: Scott Heavey/Getty Images.

Defiant champion plans to prepare for next meeting with Alekseevna

Ian Madigan at the Ulster Bank League – Drop Kick for your Club Launch at Lansdowne RFC yesterday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Outhalf believes new start in france the logical next step in his rugby career

Ireland’s Brendan Irvine in action against Daniel Asenov of Bulgaria in the Olympic qualifying event. Photo: Inpho

Katie Taylor bounced back in Turkey while Patrick Hyland was stopped in Conneticut

Leinster flanker  Josh van der Flier stretches over to touch down for try in the Guinness Pro 12 game against Edinburgh at the RDS. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Fergus McFadden grabs two tries as Leo Cullen’s side extend lead at top

Katie Taylor reacts as Yana Alekseevna of Azerbaijan celebrates victory in their European Olympics qualifier semi-final in Samsun, Turkey. Photograph: Ilyas Gun/Anadolu Agency

Bray boxer can still qualify with top four placing at next month’s world championship

Banbridge host Glenanne at Havelock Park in the EY Hockey League this weekend.

Crunch time for teams looking to finish in top four of EY Hockey League

Katie Taylor is into the last four at the European Olympic Qualification tournament. Photograph: Inpho

Ceire Smith and Christine Desmond both beaten while Katie Taylor advanced

Paul O’Connell: suffered a career-ending injury in the World Cup that ruined his hopes of playing club rugby in France. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Irupa to the fore in helping players with their additional insurance needs

A pool of blood stains the canvas after a UFC bout:  Mixed martial arts brings people into a world that is more closely associated with assault and violence than any other sport. Photograph: David Dermer/ Diamond Images/Getty Images

The inevitable result of giving freedom of expression to warriors are weekends that by consent may end up in the city morgue

 Ceire Smith and Christina Desmond both enjoyed wins in Turkey on Monday. Photograph: Inpho

Christina Desmond and Ceire Smith edge closer to Rio in European Olympic qualifiers

Katie Taylor is among the boxers competing in Samsun, Turkey. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Six male and three female boxers are hoping to secure their Rio tickets over the next week

Glenanne are currently sitting on 20 points, the same as Three Rock Rovers.

There are still seven teams competing for a place in the Champions Trophy

Grenoble’s  Chris Farrell: “I guess I see it as a challenge and maybe an opportunity to put my name in people’s minds in Ireland.” Photograph: Jean Pierre Clarot/AFP/Getty

Ulster-born centre relishing the chance to pit his wits against Robbie Henshaw

Ireland’s Olympic team is €225,000 short in funding for their programme and preparations for Rio Olympic Games. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Irish men’s team €225,000 short as they prepare for historic event in Rio

Ruba Rosalina Bukhatwa: “With my scarf on they know I’m a Muslim and I love that. It’s a good thing.” Photograph: Alan Betson

IRFU tell Tallaght Rugby Club their player Ruba Rosalina Bukhatwa can don headdress

Munster’s CJ Stander is tackled by Rhys Ruddock of Leinster in 2014: Ruddock said will it be a good challenge to play against Stander. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Flanker praises backrow opponent’s impressive ball carrying skills ahead of showdown

Leinster’s Fergus McFadden: “Hopefully, there will be more consistency across the park from us this week.” Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Defeat to Connacht raises stakes for Leo Cullen’s side as Munster visit the Aviva

Connacht and Ireland secondrow Ultan Dillane, who missed  the game against Leinster  through injury, has recovered and  will be available for selection this  weekend against Ulster. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

With two interprovincial clashes this weekend, every player wants a piece of the action

Ireland  coach Craig Fulton faces a huge challenge to get his team in the best shape for the Rio Olympics. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Men’s team €225,000 shy of planned cost of groundwork for huge challenge in Rio

Eight fights, men only on the main stage and Taylor across the car park in the other building, apparently finished before any of the men began and doing it as she likes doing it, quietly and without fuss.

Eight men’s fights staged in main arena as Taylor fought Kurt Walker in different building

Shane Lowry: ‘I want to play the big guys. I want to beat them. I’d say I could definitely be a consistent top 10 golfer.’ Photograph: Chris Condon/PGA Tour

Offaly man is up for the challenge at the WGC-Dell Matchplay Championship

French referee Pascal Gauzere shows a yellow card to Scotland’s Alex Dunbar during the Six Nations match  against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Greig Laidlaw and Vern Cotter both point to yellow cards as key factor in defeat

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt smiles at a press conference after the Six Nations win over Scotland at Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Ireland coach delighted that competition for places has continued to develop

Ireland’s Dave Kearney returns to the Leinster team for the first time since sustaining a shoulder injury against France in the Six Nations. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Photograph.

Leo Cullen makes eight changes to starting XV for trip to Glasgow

Munster number eight Robin Copeland on the charge against Newport Gwent Dragons. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Anthony Foley’s men are four points off the Pro12 playoff places

Munster’s James Cronin in training ahead of their Pro12 clash with Cardiff Blues. Photo: Inpho

Foley’s side travel to take on Cardiff in their Pro12 clash tomorrow

Leinster’s Dave Kearney during training ahead of their clash with Glasgow Warriors in the Pro12. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

The Ireland international is among eight changes to the side that beat Ospreys

Maeve Kyle, Ireland’s only woman athlete competing in the Olympic games in Tokyo, says goodbye to her husband, Seán, at Dublin Airport, in 1964 before leaving for Japan. Photo: Dermot Barry

Maeve Kyle was the first woman to represent Ireland at the Olympics in Melbourne in 1956

Proposed merger will see Monkstown become a super mixed club for men and women. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

South Dublin set-ups await approval to unite for player benefit

“If you make a mistake, you get punished. England are probably the most clinical side,” says Ireland number eight Jamie Heaslip. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ireland forward says Six Nations standard getting better every year and margins ever finer

Ireland’s Simon Zebo hands off Italy’s Gonzalo Garcia at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Alan Betson

Ireland fullback will give Joe Schmidt pause for thought when Rob Kearney returns

Health concerns: crumb rubber is used as infill on 3G and 4G pitches, which have been laid in clubs and leisure centres all over Ireland. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Growing concerns over toxic material in crumb rubber prompts investigation

Dan Carter in action against Ronan O’Gara. “Who would have thought it? Playing against Ireland we used to target the 10 channel and now he’s a defence coach,” quipped the legendary  All Black. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Gifted outhalf gives an insight into what makes up the All Blacks mindset

Lisnagarvey are 11 points ahead of Monkstown in the EY Hockey League Irish. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Race for other places in Europe still on and Monkstown look best positioned

Eve McCrystal with her silver medal from the 2014 UCI Paracycling Road World Championships in Greenville, USA, which she won with Katie-George Dunlevy. Photograph: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Able-bodied cyclist hoping to steer her vision-impaired team-mate to medal in Rio

Mildronate (Meldonium) medication is pictured in the pharmacy in Saulkrasti, Latvia. Photograph: Reuters

Drug will not be put PGA Tour’s prohibited-substance list until end of this year

 Maria Sharapova:  normal course of treatment for the drug is four to six weeks and not the 10 years   she used it.   Photo: Damian Dovarganes/AP

How tennis authorities deal with their golden girl after positive drug test will be revealing

Leinster’s Ben Te’o goes over for a try against Ospreys. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Departing man of the match admits English offer was just too good to turn down

Leinster’s Ben Te’o and Jeff Hassler of Ospreys in action during Saturday’s Pro12 game. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Leo Cullen’s team secure three point win in scrappy contest at the RDS on Saturday

David Harte: the Ireland goalkeeper is currently rated the world’s number one. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

However, opposition in Rio likely to prove much more formidable

 Jordi Murphy: “I suppose the best way to force my way into that picture is to play well this weekend.” Photo: Inpho

Leinster flanker hoping to make Joe Schmidt sit up and take notice

“The majority of all injuries occur during contact or collision, such as the tackle and the scrum,” says the open letter from the health professionals. Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Letter from 70 health experts calls for a ban on tackling for schoolchildren

Leinster prop Tadhg Furlong: was only promoted from the Leinster Academy in to the senior squad as recently as the 2014-15 season. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Prop’s potential return to Joe Schmidt’s Six Nations squad now in jeopardy

Luke Marshall will start alongside Sammy Arnold in the Ulster midfield for the first time against Cardiff. Photograph: Darren Kidd/Inpho.

Two sides looking to rebound from defeats will pull out all stops in Wales

Pat Lam has made four changes to his Connacht side for visit of Ospreys. Phtograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho.

In-form welsh side travel to Galway looking to stay on their push up Pro12 table

Ireland’s Johnny McPhillips bursts by England’s Jack Singleton during his team’s comeback victory in Newcastle. Photograph: Alex Dodd/Inpho

Spirited Irish second half showing leaves England rattled for first win from three

Craig Fulton: he hopes the Ireland players can be off work to have a decent shot at the Olympics. Photograph: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Games next month will take coach Craig Fulton’s team to 10 international matches since January 14th

Cian Healy and Mike Ross ahead of the weekend’s clash with England. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

‘Coming from injury my goal was to come back in and get back to working with Jack’

Katie Taylor: ““I’d love to box for a world professional title but I don’t know if that’s going to be after Rio. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Olympic champion’s dad, Pete, has taken a break from his daughter’s preparation

Annalise Murphy: “There’s maybe three or four that are likely to win the gold medal but eight of us definitely have the potential to win. I think on my good days I’m in that eight.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Fourth in London four years ago, the Dubliner is focused on bid for Olympic glory

Ireland secondrow Devin Toner pictured at  Carton House on Tuesday. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland lock defends props as he prepares for another physical encounter with England

Jared Payne has still not been ruled out of Ireland’s Six Nations clash with England despite sitting out training again. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

New Zealand-born centre will be given every opportunity to prove fitness for 6 Nations tie

The Health and Safety Authority in Ireland is aware of what has become a polarising debate around claims and counter-claims that the rubber crumb is hazardous

Claims that rubber infill in synthetic pitches has toxic material that causes cancer

Rubber infill is kicked up during a soccer match at Dundalk’s artificial pitch at Oriel Park ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

Fears about cancer and carcinogens continue to surface for synthetic grass industry

Lisnagarvey put four past Ulster rivals Banbridge in the EY Hockey League last weekend. Photograph: Rowland White/Inpho.

Lisnagarvey still the team to beat after stretching lead at top of EY Hockey League

Hayden Triggs: “He’s on a stretcher, man, with his neck tied down. That’s scary.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

New Zealander Hayden Triggs says concussion is becoming more of an issue all the time

Johnny Sexton leaves the pitch following Ireland’s loss at Stade de France: “We’ve had Johnny totally checked out and he is very comfortable today,” says Ireland head coach Joe Schmidth. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Johnny Sexton said to be ‘very comfortable’ after Paris battering

Robbie Henshaw is expected to join Leinster at the end of the season. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland centre expected to join Leinster after comfirming he will leave Connacht

Dave O’Callaghan: returns at openside flanker for Munster against Ospreys. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Anthony Foley makes four changes to side for important clash against Ospreys

Cliodhna Moloney: comes in at hooker replacing Zoe Grattage who moves to the replacements. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Cliodhna Moloney comes in at hooker as Tom Tierney’s side target first win in France

Cian Healy lasted 70 minutes of Leinster’s 52-0 win over Zebre. Photograph: Inpho

Leinster run in eight tries against Italians as Garry Ringrose is named man of the match

Leinster’s  Ross Molony during training. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Leo Cullen’s side blends proven ability and promise as Zebre aim to break duck

Ireland head coach Craig Fulton. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Leaders Lisnagarvey face third-placed Banbridge, while Monkstown go to Pembroke

Outhalf Sam Windsor is expected to make his competitive debut for Ulster against Glasgow. Photograph; Matt Mackey/Inpho.

Glasgow bring serious firepower to Belfast but their away record has not been impressive

Ireland’s Claire Lambe  and Sinead Jennings, who have qualified for the Olympic Games in Rio  in the lightweight women’s double sculls. Photograph: Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

Medical doctor says she will monitor developments carefully over next few months

Coach Pat Lam talks to his players during a Connacht training session at the  Sportsground, Galway, this week. Photograph: James Crosbie/Inpho.

Coach Pat Lam makes three changes to starting team for visit to Dragons

Frontrow view: Cian Healy and Mike Ross are both back in training. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

France remain brittle if Ireland can make strong start in Paris, says Girvan Dempsey

Former middleweight and super-middleweight world champion Chris Eubank on his first defeat to Steve Collins: “Collins won but if you watch that fight start to finish and score it, I didn’t lose the fight.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Former champion is still one of boxing’s most eccentric figures 20 years after his heyday

Leinster’s Rhys Ruddock has been selected to partner Devon Toner at secondrow for the trip to the Ricoh Arena in Coventry. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Wasps wary Leo Cullen’s wounded animals will come to Coventry and spoil the party

Banbridge’s Eugene Magee: one of several Irish players to test Canada goalkeeper David Carter. Photograph: Inpho.

Scoreless draw with Canada concludes successful two-week stint in South Africa

Ireland’s Georgia Drummy has qualified for the Australian Open girsl singles at just 15-years-old. Photo: Jonathan Porter/Inpho

The 15-year-old student becomes youngest Irish player to compete in Grand Slam event

Harlequins director of rugby Conor O’Shea has announced he will leave the London club at the end of the current English Premiership season. Photograph: Clive Gee/PA

Director of rugby announces departure from Harlequins to ‘keep control of situation’

Georgia Drummy is one win away from a place in the Australian Open junior singles draw. Photograph: Matt Mackey/Inpho

15-year-old would be the youngest Irish player to qualify for a Grand Slam event

James McGee missed out on qualification for the Australian Open, losing to Daniel Brands. Photo: inpho

The Irish player was narrowly beaten by German Daniel Brands

Katie Taylor celebrates  winning a  gold medal at the  2015 European Games in  Baku, Azerbaijan. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Bray boxer not fussed about milestone, only the new targets ahead

  Stuart McCloskey: has impressed at outside centre for Ulster this season. Photograph: Darren Kidd/Presseye/Inpho

Les Kiss’s side hoping to avenge a comprehensive early-campaign 27-9 defeat in Belfast

James McGee serves in his match against Radu Albot of Moldova during round two of 2016 Australian Open Qualifying at Melbourne Park. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Castleknock player will now meet Daniel Brands in final qualifying round

Tadhg Furlong: “If I played really well and lost, I couldn’t care (that I played well). You’re buying into the team.” Photograph: Maurilio Boldrini/Inpho.

‘I’d loved to be involved in the Six Nations. To be there you have to be playing well’

Mike Heskin: has left the Irish Hockey Association to become director of sport at NUI Galway. Photograph:Ryan Byrne/Inpho

National team facing into the most important seven months in its history

James McGee has won his Australian Open first round qualifier. Photograph: Inpho

28-year-old needs to win three matches in order to enter Grand Slam main draw

Former Ireland international rugby player David Wallace and Melanie Nocher, retired Olympic Swimmer, launched the Swim Ireland’s third Swim for a Mile Challenge at the National Aquatic Centre on Monday. Photograph: Inpho.

Words of wisdom from Declan Kidney or Andy Farrell just what Munster coach needs

Leinster’s Tadhg Furlong during training yesterday. Joe Schmidt’s side face Bath in the Champions Cup this weekend. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Leinster will be desperate for a performance as they seek redemption

Connacht’s Ultan Dillane attempts to go past Ulster’s Luke Marshall: Dillane is back in Connacht’s starting line-up for clash with Scarlets. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Scarlets prepared for visitors’ cutting edge despite poor record against Welsh sides

Ulster’s Ian Humphreys: “You have to fight that bit harder for recognition and respect, not in a bad way, but you know you are on your own.” Photograph: Darren Griffiths/Presseye/Inpho

Ulster outhalf thinks Ireland side can be improved by players moving elsewhere

Ireland men’s international coach Craig Fulton is optimistic yet realistic about his team’s chances at Rio Olympics. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

An 11-day stint in South Africa is a bid to catch up on professional opponents

David Conway, Director of National Sport Campus, John Treacy, Chief Executive of Sport Ireland, Pascal Donohoe TD, Minster for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Kieran Mulvey, Chair of Sport Ireland and Gary Keegan, Director of the Irish Institute of Sport at the new High Performance Training Centre in Abbotstown. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Boxing bygones were let be bygones at the launch of the grand new facility

Outhalf Owen Farrell of England is congratulated by his father, then England assistant coach Andy Farrell, after  the Six Nations match between Ireland and England at Aviva Stadium in  2013. Photograph: by David Rogers/Getty Images.

Early exit of host nation England tarnishes coach’s otherwise fine record

Georgia Drummy has ambitions to qualify for the Junior Australian Open this year. Photograph: Matt Mackey/Inpho.

15-year-old’s surge to top 200 of world junior ranks a result of huge undertaking

Referee Maggie Farrelly who makes history when she takes charge of Sunday’s McKenna Cup clash between  Fermanagh and St Mary’s at Brewster Park, Enniskillen. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Landmark senior county-level men’s GAA fixture on Sunday to have first female referee

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