Rafael Nadal of Spain shakes sweat of his head after winning his match against Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci at Wimbledon. Photograph: Stefan Wermuth/Reuters

Swiss world number two retains effortless air of cool during straight-sets win over Damir Dzumhur

Britain’s Andy Murray reacts after a point against Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin during their men’s singles first round match on day two of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on June 30, 2015. RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE -- AFP PHOTO / LEON NEALLEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Federer, Murray and Nadal make short work of opponents on searingly hot day

Eugenie Bouchard in action against Ying-Ying Duan at Wimbledon: the 21-year-old Canadian chose to play injured and lost 7-6(3), 6-4 in the first round. Photograph: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Canadian’s terrible form continues as she loses in first round to China’s Ying-Ying Duan

Nick Kyrgios enters the court to face Diego Schwartzman in his first round match at Wimbledon yesterday. Photo: Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Brash Australian found himself in trouble again on day one

Serbia’s Novak Djokovic tries to shoo a bird from the court during his men’s singles first round match against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber on day one of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships. Photograph: Glyn Kirk

Defending champion accused of getting tips from coach Boris Becker during matches

Switzerland’s Belinda Bencic won the WTA Eastbourne International tennis tournament in Eastbourne. Photograph: Getty Images

Outsider Bencic won warm-up event, but will the old hands pick up their game?

Novak Djokovic of Serbia during a pratice session prior to the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Number one seed opens play on Centre Court against Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber

 Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland celebrates beating Nick Kyrgios in the first round of the Aegon tennis championships at the Queens Club. Photograph: Facundo Arrizabalaga/EPA

French Open champion feels he is close to establishing himself at the very top

Leinster’s Ian Madigan says battle for places is intense. Photograph: Cathal Noonan

The Leinster players hopes to compete in his first World Cup later this year

Bjorn Thompson, whose mother is from Limerick, was spotted playing in a tournament in Japan.

17-year-old player enjoying life on a scholarship at $73,000-a-year Florida academy

Brian O’Driscoll and Shane Horgan show their disappointment after the defeat by France at the 2007 World Cup. Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Popular pundit sees no comparisons between 2015 and World Cup 2007

 Irish qualified Api Pewhairangi has signed for Connacht . The 23-year-old utility back played in the  Rugby League World Cup for Ireland  in 2013. Photo:   Simon Watts/Getty Images

The 23-year-old utility back played for Ireland at 2013 Rugby League World Cup

Andy Lee in action against Peter Quillin at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Photo: Ed Mulholland/Inpho

Limerick man will face Billy Joe Saunders in September in WBO middleweight bout

Parks Tennis:  every summer it  attracts a huge throng of 25,000 children to tennis courts nationwide. Photo: Sports

Every summer thousands of children avail of the chance to experience the game

Ireland’s Megan Frazer in action during team’s win against USA. Photograph: David Aliaga/Inpho

A win over China should give Ireland a place for the first time in an Olympic Games

 The William Webb Ellis Cup trophy, awarded to the winners of the Rugby World Cup. Photo:    David Rogers/Getty Images

Five countries expected to be in the mix with winners to be unveiled in May 2017

James McGee has been named Ireland’s number one player for the Davis Cup relegation match with South Africa.Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

Ireland’s non-playing captain Conor Niland is a firm believer in the biggest annual international team event in sport

Helen O’Reilly officiated at last year’s Women’s World Cup in France. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Former St Mary’s player has already refereed in AIL and Women’s World Cup in France

Instead of rugby or soccer, Aviva Stadium will host an American College Football  clash   in early September, 2016. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

Boston College and Georgia Tech to meet in high-profile college football season opener

Former Dublin footballer Tommy Carr and his son 15-year-old Simon, who is hoping to make it as a professional tennis player. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

In the first of a weekly domestic tennis column, a determined young hopeful outlines his future plans in the sports

Munster head coach Anthony Foley in Belfast. “Parts of their off-loading game really killed us at times and they opened up a lot of space for themselves.” Photograph: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Glasgow’s off-loading and sharpertactics make space for three first-half tries

Glasgow’s Al Kellock lifts the Guinness Pro 12 trophy afteer the Scottish side’s victory over Munster at Ravenhill. Photo:   Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Leone Nakarawa inspires for Scottish side as they win Pro 12 title in Belfast

Large crowds gather around the 10th green during day one of the Irish Open at Royal County Down. Photograph: PA

Predicted attendance of 90,000 could have been even higher, tourism officials say

 Rory McIlroy signs autographs for fans at Royal County Down Golf Club, Co Down.  Photograph:  Cathal Noonan/©Inpho

Tournament favourite Rory McIlroy hosts Pro-Am for children’s cancer charity

Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and Tony McCoy pictured  at Royal County Down ahead of the Irish Open. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

World number one believes home tournament now a better ‘fit’ to his schedule

Sergio Garcia of Spain answers questions from the media during the Pro-Am round prior to the Irish Open at Royal County Down Golf Club. Photo: Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Spaniard won his first European Tour event at Druid’s Glen in 1999

Josh Matavesi celebrates his match winning try against Munster in the Pro 12 semi-final - which moments later was disallowed by the TMO. Photograph: Inpho

With the 2014/15 season nearly over, here’s some of the good, the bad and the stupid

Munster’s Paul O’Connell salutes the crowd after the Guinness Pro 12 semi-final at  Thomond Park. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Secondrow admits win over Ospreys likely to be final game for Munster at Thomond Park

John Cooney comes in at scrumhalf for Connacht with Kieran Marmion out injured. Photograph: Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho

Pat Lam says players are battered and bruised but hugely motivated for trip to Kingsholm

Glasgow Warriors head coach Gregor Townsend: his team  have won 16 of their 22 Pro12 games in the regular league. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Coach hopes energy from Scotstoun crowd can spur victory over Ulster

Alastair Seeley leads William Dunlop during qualifying at the Northwest 200. William and his brother Michael were riding behind their father Robert when he died in a crash during practice on the circuit in 2008. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Pacemaker.

Dunlop brothers and peers keep coming back in this celebration of fearless ability

“I’ve always been able to be calm on the pitch,” says Ulster outhalf Paddy Jackson. “I’ve learned over the years because I came in at a young age and I’ve had a lot of experience of ups and downs.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ulster outhalf finding voice on pitch after struggling in previous years to impose himself

Gordon D’Arcy could make his final home appearance for Leinster off the bench as they try to ensure a top-six finish. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

Leinster aim to keep Pro12 destiny ‘in our own hands’ as D’Arcy faces final home game

Cian Healy is likely to miss the rest of Leinster’s season as he battles with a neck injury. Photograph: Inpho

Prop’s neck a concern for Irish camp with August internationals likely return date

Irish Sports Council chief executive John Treacy says criminalising doping should be considered. Photograph: Inpho

ISC chief executive says that jailing athletes who cheat would be a major step forward

Eoin Reddan and Leinster have two Pro 12 games left to ensure they finish in the Champions Cup qualification places. Photograph: Afp

Matt O’Connor’s side have two games to hold on to a Champions Cup qualification place

Ulster’s Darren Cave believes being knocked out of Europe early on has helped his side domestically. Photograph: Inpho

Centre believes lack of success in Europe has boosted Ulster domestically

Wexford woman is back to full health and looking forward to further successes

 Isa Nacewa in action for Leinster in the Challenge Cup semi-final against Biarritz in 2013. The utility back has not played professional rugby since retiring at the end of that season. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Grenoble coach believes fullback is gifted genetically and different from most players

CJ Stander: “I just go out to do my best in the red jersey. It is all about the team but it is great to be selected for awards like this.” Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

South African backrow forward will be available to play for Ireland after World Cup

Isa Nacewa is returning to Leinster for the 2015-16 season. Photo:  Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Matt O’Connor believes Fijian will play vital role during World Cup window

Munster’s Tyler Bleyendaal lays off a pass during Munster A’s game against Ulster Ravens at Nass RFC. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Versatile former New Zealand under-20 captain taking it all in his stride

Swim Ireland’s high performance director Peter Banks: I think the environment will be good for everybody. It will certainly help [Irish swimming] if he does what he is capable of doing.” Photograph: Inpho

Swim Ireland’s high performance director Peter Banks believes Ryan, who made last year’s USA team, would add to system

Luke Fitzgerald has played 663 minutes for Leinster in the Pro12 this season, 41.4% of the total 1,600. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Luke Fitzgerald the only Ireland starter to feature in over 40% of province’s game time

A previous all-French final between Toulouse and Perpignan at Lansdowne Road in 2003 attracted a crowd of less than 30,000. Photograph: Getty Images

Just 5,000 fans from Clermont and Toulon expected to make the trip to Twickenham

Victor Connell in his home in Co Longford. After his accident 10 years ago, the local community rallied around Victor and gave their time and money in the building of his home. “I knew almost everybody who worked on it,” he says. Photograph: Alan Betson

Victor Connell was tired when a late scrum was called. When it hit, the hooker heard his neck pop. It was a moment that was to cha(...)

Scott Evans recently made the top 25 in the world rankings in Badminton with only four other European players ahead of him. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

OCI select 36 competitors in 10 events in first tranche of entries for inaugural event

Chris Henry  is hoping Ulster can use Leinster’s short turnaround to their advantage in Ravenhill. Photograph: Jonathan Porter/Presseye/Inpho

Ireland flanker hoping for his second start of year since his stroke in November

 Paddy Barnes fights Zou Shiming in the light flyweight semi-final at the London Olympics in 2012. The 28-year-old is set to compete at the record-breaking third Olympics. Photograph: Scott Heavey/Getty Images

Belfast fighters’ success in World Series of Boxing in Venezuela sees them set for Rio

Conor Murray and Peter O’Mahony return to the Munster side for their game against Edinburgh at Murrayfield. Photogrpah: James Crombie/Inpho.

O’Connell, O’Mahony and Murray add top quality for Munster’s trip to Murrayfield

Andy Lee’s fight in New York on Saturday night is no longer for the Limerick man’s middleweight title belt

Fight with Peter Quillin will still go ahead in New York but Lee’s world title won’t be on the line

 Andy Lee in action against Matt Korobov during their fight for a vacant WBO middleweight title  belt in Las Vegas last December. Photograph: David Becker/Getty Images

World champion faces unbeaten American Peter Quillin in his first title defence

Andy Lee in action against Matt Korobov. “That fight, to be completely honest, was a make-or-break fight for me,” says Lee. Photograph: David Becker/Ggetty

Limerick man puts his world title on the line against Peter Quillin in New York

Ian Madigan kicks for goal in Leinster’s European Champions Cup quarter-final victory over Bath. He landed six from six on the day. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Playmaker’s contribution from the tee has been crucial in recent games

Leinster’s Fergus McFadden was knocked out by Kyle Eastmond’s tackle during their European Champions Cup quarter-final against Bath. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Leinster winger respects the concern showed by his opposite number Matt Banahan

Leinster’s Rob Kearney waves to the crowd after the victory over  Bath in the European Champions Cup quarter final at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:  Niall Carson/PA Wire

‘Right now, we’ve got a very tired but happy bunch in there’

Mils Muliaina in action for Connacht against Gloucester on Friday. He was taken to Cardiff after the game for questioning about an alleged assault on a woman there last month. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Connacht player arrested over an alleged incident in Cardiff city on March 6th

Leinster’s Jamie Heaslip and Matt O’Connor are hapy with the performance of their scrum in the win over Bath. Photo: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Matt O’Connor and Jamie Heaslip content as Bath camp frustrated with penalties

Mark English with his 800m silver medal from the European Championships. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

800m runner is focused on medals in this year’s Beijing World Championships

Leinster coach Matt O’Connor speaks during a press conference in UCD. Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Leinster coach points to set-pieces as being crucial if Bath are to be reined in

Irish men’s hockey is facing its biggest controversy in years.

Irish Hockey Association seek confirmation from teams on their intentions for 2015/’16 season

Jamie Heaslip will captain Leinster against Bath on Saturday. Photograph: Inpho

Kane Douglas the only injury ahead of season defining Champions Cup quarter-final

South African flanker Francois Louw believes emergence of such English talent as George Ford and Jonathan Joseph bodes well for Somerset club. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Matt O’Connor’s side told to expect much tougher contest than in 2011

 Ireland’s Conor McGregor at a press event at the Convention Centre in Dublin ahead of his UFC world featherweight title fight against Brazilian Jose Aldo in the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, in July. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

Irish star talks the talk in Dublin ahead of Las Vegas UFC title fight

Banbridge’s Stephen Dowds celebrates scoring the first goal against Cork Church of Ireland  in the Irish Senior Cup men’s final at the National Hockey Stadium in UCD. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Cork Church of Ireland in it until the end but Wright goal seals victory for Ulster team

George Gibney: a judicial review prevented the case from proceeding due to the length of time elapsed since the alleged incidents took place

Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan brought up case in Dáil without mentioning Gibney by name

Connacht coach Pat Lam has had to utilise his full squad for the Pro12 game at Thomond Park against Munster. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

Both teams are missing some key players for crucial game in Limerick

The IRFU’s Dan Downey sets up the GPS units on the Aviva Stadium’s pitch ahead of Ireland’s Six Nations game against France in February. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

The use of GPS has revolutionised how the players prepare and recover from matches

Ireland’s captain Paul O’Connell was voted RBS Six Nations player of the tournament for 2015. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

Captain played starring role on the pitch and through his leadership as Ireland claimed back-to-back Championships

The fallout after the 65-48 vote in favour of the Ulster Hockey Union (UHU) not taking part in the IHL will instantly confound players in Ulster teams, many of whom see the IHL as a step up in standards. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

After a vote the province has decided not to co-operate with their governing body

Leo Cullen with the Leinster squad at UCD. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Leo Cullen says victory over league leaders needed to stay in touch with top four

Ospreys’ Dan Biggar is set to win the Rhino Golden Boot for most points in the Pro 12. His 93.3 per cent record from the tee is the best seasonal record ever for a regular kicker in a major league. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ulster’s trip to Glasgow could have major consequences for playoff places

Robbie Henshaw’s brilliant catch and try was the highlight of Ireland’s  19-9 Six Nations  win over England at the Aviva Stadium on March 1st. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

From Keatley’s boot in Rome to Henshaw’s flying catch try to the finale of all finales

French referee  Jerome Garces:  Given Ireland’s penchant for competing in the air, the recent decisions by Garces may haunt them in Edinburgh.  Photograph: Inpho

Whistleblowers who could play pivotal role in the final destination of the championship

Scotland’s Stuart Hogg in action against England at Twickenham Stadium. Hogg is a  potential match winner for Scotland with his ability to break. Photograph: Getty Images

Scots face the possibility of their third Six Nations whitewash since 2004

Robbie Henshaw, Jared Payne, Luke Fitzgerald, Rob Kearney and Jonathon Sexton at an Ireland squad training session at Carton House, Co Wicklow. Photograph: Inpho

Six Nations Championship: If Wales by more than 21 points in Rome, every additional point in their winning margin increases the ne(...)

The general idea is that a national league will promote standards and that Ireland will benefit from that and put itself in a better position to qualify for world events such as the Olympic Games

Irish hockey wants to form an all-Ireland league but Ulster are not convinced

Scotland’s head coach Vern Cotter has made two changes to his team to face Ireland. Photograph: Lynne Cameron/PA

Coach Vern Cotter has stuck with his backs for the final match of the championship

Scotland’s Ross Ford goes on the attack against Italy at Murrayfield during the Six Nations game last month. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

They hope a victory over Ireland in Edinburgh will launch their World Cup campaign

Rob Kearney in reflective humour at training camp ahead of the  Scotland game. Photograph: Inpho

Fighting talk: Fullback says side needs to give Scotland game ‘right bash’ after Wales loss

Italy captain Sergio Parisse is a doubt for their concluding Six Nations game against Wales. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters.

Ireland have a clean bill of health but Italy may miss their captain Sergio Parisse

Rob Kearney says Ireland believe they can win the Six Nations championship next Saturday. Photograph: Inpho

Rob Kearney understands post-Cardiff criticism but still has eyes on Six Nations trophy

Ireland’s Paul O’Connell hands off Luke Charteris as he makes a line break in the first half agaisnt  Wales. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

O’Connell admits mistakes cost Ireland against Wales but already looking forward to next week’s match against Scotland

Ireland will be part of a ten-team tournament in Argentina with potentially six places available for Rio 2016 on the line.

The next phase in Argentina will be a much more difficult prospect for the Irish side

Rory Best during Ireland’s Captain’s Run at the Millennium Stadium two years ago, the last time they played Wales in Cardiff. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Ireland have fared well in Cardiff in recent years playing with the roof open

Devin Toner aims to better his rucking by replicating Paul O’Connell’s technique. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Lock is not getting caught up in Grand Slam hype and wants to improve his performances

Ciarán Gaffney returns to the Ireland under-20s side after hamstring injury. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

Although Ireland lost to England last time out, they can still win the championship

“As the games go on, it just gets more difficult because teams have more footage of you and they know what to expect.”

Prop knows what to expect from Wales but it won’t make the game any easier

Ireland captain Conor Niland encourages his side during their 5-0 defeat to Belarus at Castleknock Lawn Tennis Club. Photograph: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Conor Niland hopes to have his best players available for the relegation playoff in July

Mils Muliaina returns to the Connacht side for their Pro12 game against Cardiff Blues. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho.

After scoring seven tries against Treviso last week Pat Lam’s side travel with confidence

George Gibney: the national swimming coach from 1984-1991 was arrested in 1993 and charged on 27 counts of indecent assault and unlawful carnal knowledge. A judicial review in 1994 prevented the case from proceeding due to the length of time elapsed since the alleged incidents took place

Fitzgerald responds to Dáil queries about Olympic coach George Gibney who lives in US

 Jason Quigley will take on Lanny Dardar in Los Angeles on Friday night. Photograph: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

New era of successful Irish boxers on the cards with two fighting over the coming weeks

Katie Taylor at the OCI promotion  ‘100 Days to Go’ marking a countdown the European Games. “It’s a huge occasion and I think that in years to come it will be massive for European athletes.” Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland will send a strong team of 62 to the first edition of the Games in Azerbaijan

Conor Murray: “You do have a game plan and, under any coach, there’s a game plan that you try and follow it as best you can.” Photograph: Inpho

Game plan and orders critical but team not machine-like, says scrumhalf

Robbie Henshaw celebrates with Conor Murray after his try Photo: Inpho/James Crombie

Man-of-the-match employs manoeuvre practised with Conor Murray to deadly effect

Ireland captain Paul O’Connell with his son Paddy following the Six Nations win over England at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

‘Yeah I’d say that’s probably my last home Six Nations match against England’ says Ireland skipper

Tiernan O’Halloran will get his first start of the season at fullback in Sunday’s match at the Sportsground. Photograph: Donall Farmer/INPHO

Pat Lam calls for improved defence against Treviso in Guinness Pro 12

Denis Hurley  leads Munster for  the third consecutive game when they face Glasgow in Musgrave Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Despite home advantage in Cork, the province know the Scots will be hungry to stay top

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