Conor McManus of Monaghan celebrates scoring a goal late on in Kiltoom. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho

Malachy O’Rourke: ‘We’d a number of experienced players out there, we didn’t panic’

In the league, St Tiernach’s Park in Clones  is different. The house is open . . . the stewards are so chilled that they all but affect a Jamaican patois in their welcome. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho/Presseye

It may not be the championship but it has a distinctive charm all of its own

Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Mayo’s managerial purge was painful but never personal for the star forward

Eamon Branningan shoots for Galway in their Connacht league final wni over Roscommon. Photograph: Inpho

Kevin Walsh’s side seal Connacht league title in an entertaining clash in Tuam

There is now the beginning of a movement to keep players in the game purely because they enjoy the game. Photograph: Eric Luke

The GAA revealed that 58% of all players are ‘lost’ to the games between 12 and 21

 Andriú Mac Lochlainn finished with Kildare in 2012 at the age of 29. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Players are finding it harder to stay playing as injury, burn-out and life get in the way

Fiona Doyle: “If everything falls into place, there is no reason I shouldn’t get into the final. And then it about whoever can put all that work – a lifetime of practice – down into this race. Then, it is anybody’s game.”

Doyle’s thousands of hours in the pool have been dedicated to the 60-something seconds she will race in Rio

IAAF president Sebastian Coe. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

IAAF chief might have got job he wanted but he’s lost all prestige and popularity

St Brigid’s celebrate after their All-Ireland club victory. The club’s success has underpinned Roscommon’s recent strength at minor and U-21 level . Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Huge public anxiety over a potential proposal which would affect clubs such as St Brigid’s and Clann na nGael

Real Madrid’s new French coach Zinedine Zidane. Photograph: Gerard Julien/AFP/Getty Images

Real Madrid hoping he can superimpose his brilliance on bunch of misfiring superstars

Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath: Keen to produce a winning mentality. Photograph: Inpho

Fermanagh coach hoping to boost team’s confidence as they confront old enemy

Shane Long scores for Ireland against Germany in their Euro 2016 qualifier match at the Aviva Stadium. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

2015 saw many brave bids for immortality, but just as many in danger of being forgotten

Connacht’s Robbie Henshaw  is walking proof of everything that is good and promising about rugby in the west. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ireland centre would be big attraction at Leinster but he is an icon in west

Tiger Woods radically changed the profile of golf and transformed the earning power of the field. Photograph: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Rory McIlroy’s tribute an acknowledgement that Woods will always be a great

Cora Staunton won her 10th All Star in November. Her 2-10 against Tyrone was the undoubted highlight of another excellent season. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Mayo great is adamant women’s game deserves more from GAA

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers stands on court during game two of the Western Conference Finals against the San Antonio Spurs in the 2008 NBA playoffs. Photograph: Getty Images

The Lakers star announces his intention to retire owing basketball nothing

Young Cuala supporters cheer the camogie team on. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Dublin hurling club built from ground up by passion of a small minority in community

Dublin and Galway in action in  Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. Photograph: CJ Gunther/EPA

GAA obsession with showcasing its games to international audience is long-standing one

Russia’s Liliya Shobukhova: the marathon runner ran race after race untroubled by the fear of suspension despite showing blood values which were off the charts. Photograph: Sean Dempsey/PA

Damning Wada report on systemic doping regime unlikey to have the desired effect

The inclusion of James McClean was the fairytale of the Giovanni Trapattoni’s selection for the 2012 tournament. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Ireland team has changed dramatically since Italian led side to Euro 2012 in Poland

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill celebrates after the match. Photo: Lee Smith / Reuters

Qualification for Euro 2016 a fitting reward for Martin O’Neill and his spirited squad

Ireland’s Ciaran Clark in action against  Bosnia’s Milan Djuric in Zenica on Friday night. Photograph:  Dado Ruvic/Reuters

Ireland’s back four epitomise fighting spirit with which the team plays

UFC women’s bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey in Melbourne ahead of her title fight against Holly Holm. Photograph: Paul Crock/Getty Images

UFC champion has become global megastar with one exception – she speaks her mind

Brian McIver: “We have never won an Ulster club title so we can’t put that pressure on ourselves.” Photograph: Andrew Paton/Presseye/InphoPaton

Brian McIver’s side face Armagh stalwarts in an intriguing Ulster club semi-final

Richard Keogh: “We have a lot of experience in big games and have to use that.” Photo: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

Determined Republic of Ireland central defender fully focused on playoff challenge

Bosnia & Herzegovina striker Edin Dzeko during the press conference ahead of the Euro 2016 play-off, first leg against the Republic of Ireland in Zenica. Photograph: Dado Ruvic/Reuters/Livepic

Bosnia and Herzegovina coach Mehmed Bazdarevic says his side are not afraid of Ireland

Sam Burgess: returning to South Sydney Rabbitohs on lucrative contract. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA Wire

Player’s decision to leave union and England for league and Australia is understandable

Galway manager Anthony Cunningham. Nobody has come closer to bringing the Liam MacCarthy Cup back to the county for the first time since the late 1980s. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Dispute over Anthony Cunningham’s position casts shadow over novel county final

The former Tyrone man Mattie McGleenan has been the key to Scotstown’s rise. Photo: Inpho

Dedicated Tyrone man gives Monaghan champions their winning ambition

Billy Walsh at Dublin Airport en route to his new job as coach of the USA women’s team  in Colorado Springs.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Whoever is to blame, the bottom line is that America’s gain is Ireland’s sad loss

Paul O’Connell hasn’t made a tragedy out of The End or declared himself devastated. Instead, he lightened the mood by posting a daffy picture from hospital and will be in among the team this weekend, offering advice and probably a final rallying cry. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

Ireland legend’s sustained excellence earned him deep respect in both hemispheres

The grounded Leo McLoone of Naomh Conaill is crowded by St Eunan’s players during the 2012 Donegal football final in Ballybofey. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho.

Regan looks to make amends as Glenties rekindle contest with reigning champions

Manager Martin O’Neill has vowed that the Republic of Ireland will be ready for whatever is thrown at them as they prepare for the Euro 2016 play-offs. Photograph: Tony Marshall/PA Wire.

Ireland manager’s belief team has improved will be fully vindicated by play-off victory

Poland’s Gregorz Krychowiak scores their first goal. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

John O’Shea and Jonathan Walters to miss first game of play-offs after Poland clash

Shane Long during training in Warsaw Photograph: Adam Holt/Reuters

With Thursday’s goal still echoing, Shane Long and Ireland turn to Sunday’s showdown

Polish head coach Adam Nawalka (L) and striker Robert Lewandowski (R)  Photograph: Bartlomiej Zborowski/EPA

Poland’s coach predicts striker will prove he is world’s best number nine on Sunday

Martin O’Neill masterminded one of the most famous wins in Irish sporting history against Germany on Thursday night - but now attention turns to Poland. Photograph: Inpho

In a single campaign Hoolahan has gone from luxury player to beating heart of side

Joachim Löw:    “Overall I think it was one of the most unnecessary defeats we have had to accept in recent years.” Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

German coach rues missed chances as Martin O’Neill’s side pounce on meagre pickings

John Leonard: “I don’t want this book to read as a celebration of drugs. The reality is I lost my mind a lot of times. I was very close to losing friends and losing sanity.” Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

The former understudy to Dublin’s Stephen Cluxton was an insatiable pills-and-thrills chaser

Mayo joint-managers Noel Connelly and Pat Holmes  stepped down on Friday night after a meeting of the Mayo county board executive. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

After the resignation of Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly who is out there that can make the tiny difference that will change the gala(...)

Philly McMahon held the best forward of his generation, Kerry’s Colm Cooper, scoreless in the All-Ireland football final. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Dublin defender is brilliant player whose talents have been overshadowed by controversy

 Dublin’s Cian O’Sullivan celebrates with the Sam Maguire trophy: “It might seem like times are good now but you have to make the most of the opportunities.” Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Key defender overcame a hamstring strain to play a crucial role in Dublin’s All-Ireland win

Dublin’s  Philly McMahon and Kerry’s Colm Cooper.  Photograph: Inpho/James Crombie

Michael Darragh MacAuley said Dublin worked hard to avoid repeat of last year’s defeat

Kerry substitute Kieran Donaghy battles in the Dublin square for a high ball with Rory O’Carroll and Johnny Cooper in the All-Ireland final at Croke Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Jim Gavin’s side prove greatness as they beat Kerry to win third All-Ireland in five years

Dublin Manager Jim Gavin celebrates with Cian O’Sullivan after the game. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Dublin manager explained: ‘He was honest to say he’s good to go and we trusted him’

Dublin’s Bernard Brogan and Paul Flynn celebrate with the Sam Maguire trophy. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

This Dublin generation's achievements compare with the very best of them

Dublin have developed a more defensive system this season but as they struggled in the All-Ireland semi-final replay, James McCarthy  attacked the Mayo rearguard with gusto. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho

Kerry clash may finally reveal which is real team lurking inside the Leinster champions

The opening ceremony of the 2015 Rugby World Cup at Twickenham Stadium in London. Photograph: Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Have you the fortitude to put up with a month of lightly condescending critiques of the former colonies?

Gareth Thomas paved the way for other gay athletes to feel sufficiently emboldened to also come out. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Gareth Thomas, Ashwin Willemse stories don’t sit well in sleek world of advertisement

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill celebrates his team’s victory over Georgia. Photograph: Paul Childs/Reuters

Subdued display from Ireland rescued by moment of individual excellence

Kilkenny’s TJ Reid and Eoin Larkin tackle Padraig Mannion of Galway during Sunday’s All-Ireland hurling final. Photograph: Inpho

Of all Cody’s perfect hurling Septembers this may have been the most imperious

The Dublin team in Croke Park last Sunday. Imagine the agony of Dublin fans watching it all dissolve. Photograph: INPHO/Donall Farmer

The nature of last Sunday’s match made it Mayo’s story but what about the Dublin fans?

Galway forward Jason Flynn: “I don’t think many players are remembered if you don’t win an All-Ireland; it’s as simple as that.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

The player knows the history but thinks this team is special enough to beat Kilkenny

Dublin’s Denis Bastick scores the first goal of Dublin’s demolition of Mayo in Castlebar in March. Photograph: NPHO/Donall Farmer

After a Castlebar nightmare, Mayo had to reconfigure their strategy to cope with Dublin’s scoring bursts

Dublin’s Michael Fitzsimons, Jack McCaffrey, Philly McMahon,Tomas Brady, John Small and Paul Flynn foul Colm Boyle of Mayo resulting in a late penalty. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Leinster champions end game on the ropes as Westerners fight back for draw

Mayo fans celebrate after their side scored a late penalty in their All-Ireland semi-final draw with Dublin. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Connacht champions rescue draw in All-Ireland semi-final with glorious last stand

Billy Walsh: has overseen spectacular success for Irish boxers in his years as head coach. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Irish sport, and Irish boxing, should do everything to keep the successful coach

Using Barry Moran  as a defensive sweeper against Donegal to negate the influence of Michael Murphy was a bold statement by Mayo’s joint managers Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Pat Holmes and Noel Connelly have equipped county with a new level of tactical flexibility

Mayo’s Barry Moran in action against Donegal. “It really is horses for courses. So what worked against Donegal obviously isn’t going to work against Dublin.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Experienced midfielder says Mayo will tailor their tactics to combat Dublin’s strengths

Kerry’s James O’Donoghue jumps with joy following at the final whistle at Croke Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Kingdom book place in All-Ireland final after finally defeating Tyrone in Croke Park

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice and trainer Cian O’Neill celebrate after their side beat Tyrone in the All-Ireland senior football championship semi-final at Croke Par. Photo: Andrew Patton/INPHO

The winning manager explained why he felt Paul Geaney could offer more

  Seán Cavanagh celebrates Tyrone’s victory over Monaghan with team-mates. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Great team of last decade has broken up but persistence of old attitudes has led to revival

Eamonn Fitzmaurice has not felt beholden to the notion Kerry teams have a moral obligation to play the game in a certain way. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Kerry manager fearless in reshaping team into winners by any means necessary

Kerry manager Eamon Fitzmaurice with selector Diarmuid Murphy. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Not even Éamonn Fitzmaurice expected such a brilliant display by All-Ireland champions

Fermanagh’s Marty O’Brien takes to the air against Dublin’s Alan Brogan at Croke Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Kingdom hit Kildare for seven goals while Dublin dispense with spirited Fermanagh

 Cecil the lion strolls around in Hwange National Park, in Hwange, Zimbabwe before his death at the hands of American dentist Walter Palmer. Photograph: Paula French via AP

Walter Palmer provoked more anger than most skilful PETA campaign could ever hope for

Bryan Sheehan’s presence for Kerry will add to  the kick-out options for Brendan Kealy. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Kildare have pace to cause shock but Fitzmaurice’s side have smarts to avoid one

Raymie Johnston of Fermanagh in full flight against Mayo. Photograph: Andrew Paton/INPHO

Odds stacked against northern pretenders, but reaching last eight exposes potential

Michael Murphy: wasn’t moveing with his usual freedom for Donegal in the Ulster final against Monaghan. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Improving Tribesmen likely to ask serious questions of Rory Gallagher’s side

Cork’s Daniel Kearney is knocked over by the advancing Jonathan Glynn of Galway during the All-Ireland SHC quarter-final at Semple Stadium, Thurles. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho.

Cork and Dublin trail in wake of counties playing like they have something to prove

Waterford’s Austin Gleeson celebrates during the  All-Ireland quarter-final against Dublin at Semple Stadium in Thurles. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Déise set sights on Kilkenny after after cracking performance in Thurles

Former England footballer Gary Lineker volunteered his services to cover BBC golf coverage after Steve Rider left the broadcasters. Photograph: Getty.

British Open’s defection to Sky has left a groundswell of resentment from established broadcaster

Michael Walsh: Dublin need to limit the ball going through him and Waterford’s other senior man Kevin Moran. Photograph: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

All-Ireland hurling quarter-final, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Sunday, 2.0pm (Live on RTE)

Henry Shefflin of Kilkenny gets by Galway full back Kevin Hynes and centre back Tony Ó Regan during the 2012 All-Ireland Senior Hurling final at Croke Park, which was won by Kilkenny after a replay. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho.

List of great players that have played at 3 and 6 over the years have yet to see glory days return to the mid west

Galway’s David Collins. His influence on his team’s defence extends far beyond his position. Photograph: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

All-Ireland hurling quarter-final, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Sunday, 4.0pm (Live on RTE)

Monaghan manager Malachy O’Rourke speaks to a reporter at the end of the game. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Presseye/Inpho

Monaghan knew they could beat reigning champions, says manager

Monaghan’s Conor McManus celebrates scoring a point. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

O’Rourke’s clever contenders squeeze home to secure their second title in three years

Conor McManus guided Monaghan to a second Ulster football title in three years with victory over Donegal in Clones. Photograph: Inpho

Patience and a clever game plan help Malachy O’Rourke’s side reclaim the provincial crown

Gerry McCarville was a strong presence for Ulster in  the 1980s. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

County that has a habit of going into hibernation will contest third Ulster final in row

Waterford manager Derek McGrath before the Munster SHC final against Tipperary at Semple Stadium. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Manager proud that his young charges put it up to Tipperary at Semple Stadium

Waterford’s Michael Walsh is tackled by Tipperary’s Padraic Maher during the Munster senior hurling championship final at Semple Stadium in Thurles. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Young Waterford side beaten but unbowed following a gripping final clash at Thurles

Tipperary’s Shane McGrath kicks the sliotar  forward as he’s challenged by Waterford players during the Munster SHC Final at Semple Stadium. Photograph:   Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Munster hurling final fails to catch fire at Semple Stadium

Media coverage of Gaelic games is growing: most managers can reasonably argue that there simply isn’t sufficient time to accede to(...)

Plane Landing in Sligo by Aleksandra Mir, which is one of the pieces on display at the old Snia/Saehan factory in the grounds of Hazelwood House in Sligo. Photograph: James Connolly

The new owners of Hazelwood, a Palladian manor in Co Sligo, have turned an old textile plant in the grounds into a venue for a hug(...)

Davy Fitzgerald: “Between this summer and the next two or three summers we will be working very hard to get a fifth All-Ireland back to Clare in 130 years.”  Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Victory over Cork would see the 2013 All-Ireland champions generate serious momentum

Mark Collins reacts with dismay as referee Pádraig Hughes awards a penalty for Kerry in the Munster final in Killarney. photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Brian Cuthbert left disappointed after Cork are denied at the death in Killarney

Kerry’s Jonathon Lyons and Kevin O’Dricoll of Cork at the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Final in  Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Cuthbert is left vexed, while Kerry’s leaky form continues to cause problems

This is where Colm Cooper is used to being, in the Kerry starting XV. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Páidí Ó Sé didn’t speak to Mick O’Dwyer for two years after he was put there

Éamonn Fitzmaurice made the move into management with what appeared to be seamless ease. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Éamonn Fitzmaurice is hungry for more silverware after unconvincing league run

Latvian Kristaps Porzingis, who  was drafted number four overall by the New York Knicks, towers over NBA commissioner Adam Silver, at the Barclays Center in New York. Photograph: Earl Wilson/The New York Times

New York Knicks fans have little faith obscure seven-foot Latvian can revive them

Rory Kavanagh and current Derry manager Brian McIver celebrate Donegal’s National League final victory over Mayo in 2007. Given the transformation of Donegal football, the win has been reduced to a footnote, but it was only the county’s second senior national title. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Derry man was close to achieving breakthrough during tenure with neighbouring county

Liam Dunne: “We expected a lot of ourselves. We felt we were very well prepared. But obviously some things weren’t right.” Photo: James Crombie/ Inpho

Wexford manager struggles to explain away another black day for Wexford hurling

Kilkenny’s TJ Reid  is brought down for a penalty by the combined efforts of Matthew O’Hanlon and Liam Ryan of Wexford during the Leinster SHC semi-final at Nowlan Park.  Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Glenmore player scores 3-5 from play on championship debut at Nowlan Park

In his role as club manager or pundit you couldn’t listen to Martin O’Neill without grasping how enthralled he is by the game. As Ireland manager, he has cut a much more subdued figure. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Expecting international stars to materialise just like that is no longer way forward

A determined Karl Lacey keeps Tony Kernan at arm’s length at the Athletics Ground. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Presseye/Inpho

Kerry, Donegal and Mayo tighten grip locally as Wicklow almost pull off shock

Ireland manager Martin O’Neill cuts a frustrated figure. Photograph: Inpho/Cathal Noonan

Republic of Ireland’s hopes of reaching finals hang by thread after disappointing draw

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney talks to his players after the final whistle against Donegal. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Presseye/Inpho

Rory Gallagher pleased with Donegal’s hunger as they brush aside rivals

Martin O’Reilly scores Donegal’s second goal in their comfortable Ulster Championship win over Armagh. Photograph: Inpho

Early Paddy McBrearty goal sets the tone as Gallagher’s men breeze into Ulster semis

Donegal’s Mickey McDonald, who is Rory McIlroy’s uncle, in action in 1982: “I would have said that we expected to go there and win because we had won in 1980. But it was tough, end-to-end football”

As they meet Donegal, Rory McIlroy’s uncle Mickey McDonald recalls that tense moment

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