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

Ben Te’o will leave Leinster after the current campaign. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Departure of centre will further fuel speculation linking Robbie Henshaw with a move

Leinster loosehead prop Cian Healy will find out about his appeal against a two-week suspension on Wednesday. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Leinster hopeful Sexton will recover from quadriceps injury in time for Munster clash

Leinster’s scrumhalf Eoin Reddan  in  Champions Cup action against Toulon at the weekend: “People just make arguments to suit results a lot of the time.” Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

Scrumhalf believes penalties conceded not salaries cost Leinster game against Toulon

Leinster’s Mike Ross goes off injured during the Champiosn Cup game against Toulon at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph:  Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Tighthead prop suffered serious hamstring tear in Leinster’s defeat to Toulon

All with their world championship medals, Michael O’Reilly with his son MJ, Michael Conlon with his daughter Luisne and Joe Ward. Photograph: Inpho

Irish boxer answered the increasing demand for success - but it proved a bitter sweet end to 2015

“If I’m being totally honest, it’s not a fight I would have had. I want to fight the big fights in America,” says Andy Lee, who defends his World Middleweight title against Billy Joe Saunders in Manchester. Photograph: Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Limerick middleweight believes experience will prove decisive against Billy Joe Saunders

Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss: aware of the formidable record Toulouse hold at Stade Ernest Wallon. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Irish province in good shape while French side make nine changes after 38-0 defeat

 Billy Joe Saunders training ahead of his middleweight title fight with champion Andy Lee. Photograph: Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Middleweight isn't interested in changing public perception of his community

Bernard Brogan: Needles going into the arms of GAA players too invasive and may not be well received by those who play Gaelic games. Photograph: Inpho

Dublin All Star says amateur players are doing it for parish have no incentive to cheat

Ireland players line up for the national anthems during the qualifying campaign. Photograph: Inpho

It had been almost 70 years since any Irish field team had last qualified for Olympic games

Eugene Magee scored Banbridge’s winning goal against Cookstown in the EY Hockey League last week. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Pembroke wait on Alan Sothern after international striker sustained injury against Railway

Michael O’Reilly in action during the box-off at the World Championships in Doha. The middleweight faces Conor Wallace in tonight’s final. Photograph: Faisal Al Tamimi/AFP/Getty )

Michael O’Reilly and Darren O’Neill aiming to secure their place in Olympic qualifiers

Leinster  centre Ben Te’o: “I’d love to play international rugby. I’d love to be a part of that, but I’m not sure for who.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

French side ‘tough ask’ as Ma’a Nonu may join Mathieu Bastareaud in powerful midfield

Jasa Veremalua scores a try for Fiji against England in the final of the Dubai Rugby Sevens on Saturday. Photograph: Warren Little/Getty Images.

Becoming an Olympic sport adds to spectacle of world series in Dubai

UK Anti-Doping (Ukad)  carried out analysis on 468 blood and urine samples. The number of adverse findings was a big bagel, zilch, zero.  Photograph: David Davies/PA Wire

Zero adverse findings from 468 tests on players stretches the bounds of credibility

Craig Fulton: “We played well in some phases in each game but not well enough for 60 minutes.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Craig Fulton’s experimental squad fail to register a victory in three games

Nicola Daly in action for Ireland against USA in the World Hockey League: “I always wanted to drive.” Photograph: David Aliaga/Inpho.

Hockey international prepares to get career on track by joining US race team as engineer

Connacht head coach Pat Lam celebrates at Thomond Park after his side triumph over Munster: ‘I want to be known as a team that can adapt and be comfortable to do what it takes to win a game.’ Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Connacht head coach is aiming for first-ever league double over struggling Cardiff Blues

World Rugby say no player who was tested during the recent World Cup was doping. Photograph: Getty Images

No positve tests from 468 samples undertaken across all 20 participating teams

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt watches his team from the sideline. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Post-World Cup analysis should have been carried out by independent experts

Katie Taylor with her brother and coach Lee Taylor. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Shauna O’Keefe put it up to Taylor at the National Stadium in lightweight bout

Johnny Caren, assistant coach to the Irish men’s team, is in charge of Monkstown this season

South Dublin side have not yet lost match in EY National Hockey League

Katie Taylor has won four Irish titles in previous years, all were secured on walkovers and she has never had to compete in the ring for the title.

Olympic champion will contest her first National Championship fight against Shauna O’Keeffe

Leinster’s Ian Madigan hopes to have contract negotiations with IRFU done and dusted by Christmas time. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland outhalf considering change of clubs as agent negotiates new contract with IRFU

Peter Nelson: “A Leinster derby has a little bit more bite to it but we look forward to those games.” Photograph: Darren Kidd/Inpho

Outhalf Peter Nelson says clash with Leinster at RDS will be ‘ a brand new game’

Leinster’s Seán Cronin is looking forward to coming up against Ulster’s Rory Best this weekend. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ireland hooker joined Leinster team-mates for meeting on day after Bath defeat

Ian McKinley: former Ireland Under-20 outhalf, who now plays for Zebre, lost his sight in one eye. Photograph: Francesca Soli

Rugby governing body has opted out of protective eyewear trial on ‘safety grounds’

Martin O’Neill: Understands only too well the nature of tribes. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Despite the Football for All campaign, Northern Irish sports fans are still divided

Spectators gather on the pitch after news of the bombing and terrorist attacks in Paris reaches the fans after the international friendly  between France and Germany at the Stade de France  in Paris. Photograph: Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images

Four Irish sports people who ply their trade in France give some insight into life after last Friday’s atrocities

A picture taken on November 14, 2015 shows a Ulster’s flag with the inscription “Respect for Paris and all the French” at the Charles-Mathon stadium in Oyonnax. Photo: Getty Images

No easy solution for organisers in the aftermath of events in Paris

Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao ahead of their world title fight in  Las Vegas in May. Photograph: Jonathan Alcorn/EPA

Floyd Mayweather tale shows how testing in all sports must be carried out independently

Johnny Sexton did not have his best game in a Leinster jersey against Wasps at the RDS. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Wasps take full advantage of home team’s error-ridden afternoon at the RDS

Leinster coach Leo Cullen said his team’s performance against Wasps in the European Champions Cup at the RDS was “pretty awful”. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Munster have to wait see if Stade Francais tie in Paris is to go ahead as planned

Leinster’s Isa Nacewa and head coach Leo Cullen know the Irish provinces cannot compete financially with English and French clubs. Photograph: Dan Sheridan

Wasps’ brilliant back three highlights new money available to English Premiership clubs

Jonathan Sexton with Leinster head coach Leo Cullen at squad training. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Leo Cullen’s side has unfamiliar look as they kick off European season at home to Wasps

The 2016 Rio Olympic Games will be the biggest tournament in the history of Irish hockey. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Craig Fulton has squad preparing for Rio Olympics with three-match series with Spain

Seán Cronin’s World Cup started well with a try against Canada but ended with him being left out of the matchday squads against France and Argentina. Photograph: Stuart Forster/Getty Images.

New Zealander’s return after two-year break from European rugby gives Seán Cronin a lift

Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss. Photograph:  Brian Little/Inpho/Presseye

Ulster travel to the Alps to play French side Oyonnax in their first round European match

Australian referee Angus Gardner will take charge of Ireland’s Six Nations match at home to Italy on March 12th. Photograph: Jason Oxenham/Getty Images

Officials announced for tournament include some new names to tournament

David Nucifora, IRFU, performance director, is leading the review into Ireland’s World Cup displays. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

David Nucifora-led team to report back to the union by the end of November

The Central Stadium in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, where Connacht will take on Yenisey-STM in the Challenge Cup. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Pat Lam’s men face test of adaptability and tenacity as they jump on Siberian express

David Harte: “For me to play in Holland and India and all around the world with Ireland is an incredible experience.” Photo: Dennis Grombkowski/Bongarts/Getty Images

Ireland’s appearatnce at the Olympics will top a fine career for a world-class goalkeeper

Leinster’s Dominic Ryan is tackled by Michael Tagicakibau of Scarlets during the Guinness Pro 12 game at the RDS. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Rob Kearney goes off injured as Scarlets unbeaten start to the season is ended

Ulster director of rugby Les Kiss: It’s getting tougher with English clubs getting salary cap rises. It’s going to be like a shark pool for talent so we want to have an environment that people want to stay in.” Photograph: Inpho

Province’s new director of rugby wants form at Ravenhill to traslate into away success

 Michael Conlan: “Picking up the world number one spot is a great achievement.” Photograph:    Brendan Moran/ Sportsfile/Web Summit

Conlan equals John Joe Nevin’s achievement by becoming number one bantamweight

Robbie Henshaw is set to return for Connacht against Treviso on Friday night. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland centre in full training ahead of Treviso’s visit to the Sportsground on Friday

Luke Fitzgerald  and Leinster team-mate Ben Te’o: Fitzgerald will miss this weekend’s game against Scarlets. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Irish centre has a scan on neck/shoulder injury and will miss Scarlets game

“The family are incredibly excited,” says France-bound Paul O’Connell. “They don’t care about my injuries. They just want to make sure we go.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Munster man focusing on Toulon but could spend up to eight months on sidelines

Paul O’Connell’s hamstring injury could rule him out for the entire rugby season. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland and Toulon lock will be out of rugby for between four and eight months

Japan players celebrate their momentous victory over South Africa in the pool section – the Brave Blossoms missed out on a place in the quarter-finals but won the hearts of the rugby world. Photograph: Getty Images

‘Irish Times’ team looks back at an eventful tournament and pick their highs and lows

The IABA delegation arrive at the Oireachtas: Ciarán Kirwan director, CEO Fergal Carruth, president Pat Ryan and chairman Joe Christle. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Across the Atlantic, Billy Walsh is unveiled in USA as the new US Women’s boxing coach

Former Ireland boxing coach Billy Walsh at the recent World Championships in Doha. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Walsh was unveiled as the USA women’s boxing coach on Wednesday

Billy Walsh: “Leaving the Irish team has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Coach’s departure to USA a real blow to the chances of Ireland’s elite boxers in Rio

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt looks dejected as he leaves the pitch following Ireland’s World Cup quarter-final loss to Argentina. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

“I think it was very hard not to respect the performance that Argentina put on”

Duane Vermuelen’s magic pass helped South Africa finally break down Wales in their World Cup quarter-final victory at Twickenham on Saturday. Photograph: Afp

A set move between the number eight and Fourie du Preeze proved Wales’ undoing

South Africa’s Fourie du Preez goes over for his side’s winning try in their victory over Wales at the Rugby World Cup quarter-finals. Photo: Henry Browne/Reuters

Wales captain Sam Warburton bemoaned the number of penalties his side conceded

Wales coach Warren Gatland speaking at a press conference two days before his side’s World Cup quarter-final with South Africa. Photo: Martin Bureau/Getty Images

Wales coach is prepared for a hugely physical 80 minutes against the Springboks

South Africa’s wing JP Pietersen celebrates after scoring a try in the Pool B match against Scotland at St James’ Park. Photograph: Paul Ellis/AFP/Getty Images.

After the debacle against Japan, Springboks’ attitude has greatly changed

South Africa’s Eben Etzebeth (centre left) is pushed towards the try line by team-mate Lodewyk de Jager during the  match against the USA at the Olympic Stadium, London. Photo: Gareth Fuller/PA

Team to face Wales in quarter-final includes five key players all under 24 years of age

South Africa players arrive for a training session at Pennyhill Park, in Bagshot. Photograph: Christophe Ena/AP

Bryan Habana looks to surpass Jonah Lomu’s RWC try tally for South Africa

 Tommy Seymour celebrates after scoring the first try for Scotland against Samoa at St James’ Park. Scotland won 36-33. Photograph: Lee Smith/Livepic/Reuters

American-born winger looking forward to locking horns with in-form Australia

Wales fullback Liam Williams was the latest player from Warren Gatland’s squad to be ruled out of tournament. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Brett Gosper not alarmed by number of players forced out of World Cup through injury

England’s head coach Stuart Lancaster leaves the   team hotel on Sunday. Photo: Getty Images

England’s premature exit not the end of the world for organisers

Devin Toner celebrates with Iain Henderson after the match.

Ian Madigan, Chris Henry and Iain Henderson make huge contributions

Paul O’Connell tries to get to his feet before being stretchered off.

Ireland captain suffered serious hamstring injury while Sexton, O’Mahony and Earls also helped off

Michael Cheika’s Australia can secure top spot in the pool of death if they beat wales on Saturday. Photograph: Getty

Australia have gone from shambles to people’s favourites in less than a year

Finn Russell returns for Scotland against Samoa as they look for a win which would secure secont place in Pool B. Photograph: PA

Finn Russell returns at St James’ Park as Vern Cotter’s side look to secure second spot

Bryan Habana of South Africa has equalled Jonah Lomu’s record of 15 World Cup tries after scoring a hat-trick against the USA on Wednesday. Photograph: Paul Gilham/Getty Images.

Springboks winger familiar with the hurt of failure but determined not to experience it again

Bryan Habana scored a hat-trick to move level with Jonah Lomu as the World Cup’s all-time leading try scorer as South Africa routed the USA at the Olympic Stadium. Photograph: Reuters

South Africa run in 10 tries to set up last eight showdown with either Wales or Australia

USA ssistant coach Chris O’Brien:  “It’s the fastest growing sport in the country right now and you are seeing kids starting at six and eight years old.” Photograph: Lionel Bonaventure/AFP/Getty

Assistant coach Chris O’Brien believes Eagles will soar as game continues to grow stateside

 Wales’s Gareth Davies puts in against Fiji during their World Cup Pool A match at the Millennium Stadium. Wales forward coach Robin McBryde said: “Fiji put England and Australia under pressure but we were under pressure on our own ball (against Fiji) when the hooker was striking.” Photograph: Getty Images

Wales forwards coach Robin McBryde reveals forwards held clear-the-air meeting as to how to play referees

 Owen Farrell leaves the pitch after getting a yellow card against  Australia. Photograph: Ben Stansall/AFP

More recriminations as assistant coach faces fresh media inquisition on role

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