Dublin’s Colm Basquel with Eoin Doyle of Kildare during Saturday’s O’Byrne Cup encounter. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Cian O’Neill: ‘We are disgusted to lose like that, that we should have been controlling’

Lollipop questioning: Páraic Duffy, John Delaney and Philip Browne. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

John Delaney, Páraic Duffy and Philip Browne run rings around Dáil committee

 Dermot Earley: chosen as the new CEO of the Gaelic Players Association. “There is an appetite for change and we have been hearing that for a long time, certainly on the football side.”  Photograph:  Seb Daly/Sportsfile

The former Kildare midfielder is a safe pair of hands but he comes with a hard edge

Séamus Hickey (centre) with new Gaelic Players Association chief executive Dermot Earley (right) at a press conference yesterday. Hickey is the new chairman while  Seán Murphy is a member of the selection committee. Photograph: Sportsfile

Defender agrees seven-goal defeat in Munster Hurling League was unacceptable

The numbers become dizzying when it comes to TV rights cash. Photograph: Reuters

Uefa reckon financial fair play turned clubs’ fortunes around but they’re kidding nobody

Jim Furyk is expected to be announced as the US Ryder Cup captain for the 2018 match in Paris. Photo: Getty Images

Meanwhile, Lee Westwood’s horse resembled his attempts to win a major

Grassroots: 99 per cent of the GAA’s playing base is  club players. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Formation of Club Players’ Association will give focus to underlying anger with GAA

Kerry’s Brian Ó Seanacháin with Martin Dunne of Tipperary. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Fans brave bleak January to see players test mettle on soggy pitches across country

Meath’s Graham Reilly kicks for goal as Jamie Snell and Ross O’Brien of Wicklow try to block during the Bord na Mona O’Byrne Cup match at Páirc Tailteann in Navan. Photograph: Colm O’Neill/Inpho

Graham Reilly marshals young Royal County side perfectly in one-sided rout in Navan

 New Meath manager Andy McEntee. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Couple of leading counties to play under-21 teams in early-season competitions

Ireland rugby coach Joe Schmidt with Enda McNulty at Soldier Field in Chicago. “The best of the best are the ones who aren’t sceptical. They’re the ones who want to push it forward.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Life coach unperturbed by Joe Brolly’s criticism and proud of his new book ‘Commit’

A  packed RDS ahead of the Pro12 match between Leinster and Ulster: Rory Best, Paddy Jackson and Iain Henderson did not feature. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

If the provinces’ stars are not playing, it is only fair that ticket-buyers know in advance

N’Golo Kanté of Chelsea: could win successive titles with different clubs. Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty

Take a punt on these medium to long shots, and at least losing out won’t be a surprise

The Kilkenny players celebrate after seeing off Waterford in the All-Ireland hurling semi-final replay. Photograph: Inpho

Sports review of 2016: Malachy Clerkin reflects on an unforgettable evening at Semple Stadium as Kilkenny finally overcame Waterfo(...)

You’d hope  Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor gets to decide a game with an injury-time free before the clocks go forward. Photograph: Dara MacDonaill

Here’s to everyone who tried and came up short – i.e. the vast majority of sportspeople

Michael Parkinson with  Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier on the ‘Dick Cavett Show’ in 1974. Photograph: ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images

Iconic chat show host could not bring himself to interview Ali in his declining years

 Malachy Clerkin and Mary Hannigan (left) in conversation with Natalya Coyle, Sarah Rowe and Evanne Ní Chuilinn.  Eric Luke

Sarah Rowe, Mary Hannigan, Natalya Coyle and Evanne Ní Chuilinn give their views

Minister of State for Sport Patrick O’Donovan plans to introduce a 30 per cent gender quota for sporting bodies.

Investing in women’s sport at grassroots level a much more effective policy to pursue

The 18th green during the women’s golf final at the Rio Olympics in August. Photograph: Ross Kinnaird/Getty

Built in a protected forest reserve, the Rio course is likely to fall into ruin by early 2017

Kieran Donaghy’s autobiography ‘What Do You Think Of That?’ has been named Eir Sports Book of the Year. Photograph: Inpho/Morgan Treacy

Kingdom stalwart picked up award for autobiography ‘What Do You Think Of That?’

Tyrone’s Cathal McCarron after losing to Mayo in the 2013 All-Ireland semi-final to Mayo. Photograph: Inpho

You want to have sympathy for McCarron the addict but it’s harder to have it for the person

The  Donaghmoyne players celebrate with the cup following their All-Ireland Ladies Football Senior Club final win over Foxrock-Cabinteely at Parnell Park. Photo: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Scoreline flatters defending champions as they defeat Foxrock-Cabinteely by seven

It’s 20 years since the first Season of Sundays (Sportsfile, €29.95) came out. The 2016 version is as rich and textured as the 19 that went before. This image shows kids in Galway fine-tuning their skills before a NHL encounter with Cork.

Muhammad Ali, Adrian Doherty, Paul O’Connell, others make up 2016’s best reads

Martin Comerford of O’Loughlin Gaels in action during the 2011 All-Ireland senior club final defeat to  Clarinbridge. Photograph:  Cathal Noonan/Inpho

The six-time All-Ireland winner lost his appetite for the intercounty scene

Cuala’s Con O’Callaghan. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Dublin champions hoping to atone for last season’s defeat in Leinster hurling final

Paul O’Connell on Second Captains: “The way we connect with supporters now has really, really changed.” Photograph: Tom Jenkins/Getty Images

Divide between players and public will deepen as long as all those cameras are around

Dr Crokes’ Johnny Buckley breaks the handle of the cup after lifting it up. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Waterford champions unable to provide a test for Kerry opponents in Munster final

Dr Crokes’ Colm Cooper and his team-mates can expect a tough test against The Nire in the Munster Club SFC final. Photograph: Inpho

Weekend club football previews: Dr Crokes should progress from Munster while Corofin can seal Connacht title

Eddie Pepperell at the European Tour qualifying school final stage at PGA Catalunya Resort, where he qualified. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Eddie Pepperell retains his card while getting to know darker, more insidious side of golf

The gravestone of Daniel Carroll, who was shot leaving Croke Park on Bloody Sunday. Photograph: Alan Betson.

The 13th victim killed at Croke Park gets fitting memorial after 96 years in an unmarked grave

I skipped right past fear and went directly to loathing

If sport is the opium of the masses, it’s a lot more fun than the US election

The Ireland team line up before their 1-0 win over Austria in their 2018 World Cup qualifier in Vienna. Photo: John Walton/PA

Malachy Clerkin runs the rule over the team that made Irish football history in Vienna

Aiden McGeady, David McGoldrick and Harry Arter during Republic of Ireland training in Abbotstown. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ireland’s players are not world-beaters but they are no easy touch for any side either

Colin Doyle, Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle at Republic of Ireland training in Abbotstown. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Daryl Horgan and Andy Boyle get warm welcome on first day in international set-up

 Diarmuid Connolly of St Vincent’s lifts the Clery’s Perpetual Trophy. Photo: Inpho

Marino club pick up 28th Dublin title but Castleknock no pushovers in first final

Club founder Johnny Corcoran (centre) with Mick Geraghty, chairman Charlie Spillane, and Oisín and Catherine Tolan at the Castleknock GAA grounds yesterday. Below: Castleknock players celebrating their semi-final win over St Jude’s. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw.

West Dublin club may have been in existence for just 18 years but have certainly made mark

St Vincent’s Dermot Connolly in action against Ballymun Kickhams’ Kevin Leahy at Parnell Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

It’s hard to imagine St Vincent’s coming up against a better side than Ballymun this side of Christmas

Dick Clerkin made his debut for Monaghan in 1999. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Monaghan midfielder rides off into sunset after career spent fighting in the trenches

Ballygunner’s David O’Sullivan in action against Padraic Maher of Thurles Sarsfields during their Munster SHC clash. Photo: Inpho

Tipperary kingpins determined to improve on their pretty modest record in Munster

Cuala defenders Rob Reid and Paul Schutte battle for an aerial ball with Kilmacud Crokes’ Ryan O’Dwyer. The clubs meet again in the Dublin SHC final on Saturday. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Coláiste Eoin can take credit for anything up to 26 players on Kilmacud and Cuala panels

Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny celebrates winning the Premier League after victory over Bohemians at Oriel Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Dundalk manager has long plotted his side’s eventful campaign on the European stage

Despite the success of the Tipperary intercounty side, the Tipp county football final is up against it, by the county board’s own hand. Photograph: Inpho

Malachy Clerkin: Each and every county prioritises one code over the other

The death of Anthony Foley has shocked the public in much the same way as Cormac McAnallen’s did  12 years ago. Photograph: Inpho

For Anthony Foley and Cormac McAnallen sport didn’t need to be put in perspective

Clare senior hurling’s new management team of Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

New hurling management team stepping up to finish venture of helping boys become men

Coalisland’s Cathaoir Quinn celebrates a goal against Killyclogher in the drawn Tyrone SFC final last week. Lorcan Doherty/Inpho.

Monaleen should have enough to see off Dromcollogher-Broadford in Limerick

Dublin celebrate after beating Mayo to win the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship for 2016. Photo: Inpho

The draws for the football and hurling championships took place on Thursday night

Mayo’s Lee Keegan is black carded by referee Maurice Deegan in the All-Ireland football final replay. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

In GAA world of extremes black card can’t just be an irritant. It has to be blight on game

Diarmuid Connolly scores a goal from the penalty spot for Dublin after Rob Hennelly had fouled Paddy Andrews in the square. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Jim Gavin’s changes come up trumps as his brilliant side claim back-to-back titles

Mayo goalkeeper Robert Hennelly fouls Paddy Andrews to concede a penalty in the second half of the All-Ireland final. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Rob Hennelly struggled as Dublin attacked his restarts right from the get-go

Dublin’s Cian O’Sullivan and Jonny Cooper battle for the ball with Mayo’s Andy Moran in the drawn All-Ireland final. Mayo were three points down in injury time before clawing their way back. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Dublin victory seemed only possible outcome two weeks ago but all that’s changed now

Dublin’s Brian Fenton chases  Donal Vaughan in the drawn All-Ireland final. Dublin’s reliance on young players such as  Fenton, Small and Kilkenny was evident two weeks ago.  Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Kilkenny, Fenton and Small dragged champions from their slumbers in drawn game

Dublin manager Jim Gavin. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Mayo will have grown in confidence since drawn All-Ireland final, believes rival manager

Mayo’s Lee Keegan and Dublin’s Diarmuid Connolly during the drawn All-Ireland final. Photograph: Inpho

Brushes off suggestion of an orchestrated attempt to direct focus onto Mayo defender

Dublin’s Bernard Brogan celebrates after his side’s first goal as Kevin McLoughlin and goalkeeper David Clarke of Mayo look on dejected. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Keeping a clean sheet would go a long way to ensuring Sam Maguire goes west

Dublin’s Sinead Goldrick dejected after the TG4 Ladies Senior All-Ireland Championship Final at Croke Park. Photo: Inpho

Minority sports spend their time pushing against the consensus and then this happens

A despondent Liam McHale leaves the pitch after being sent  off in the 1996 All-Ireland final replay. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Malachy Clerkin looks back on a history of All-Ireland football final replays

Kilkenny’s JJ Delaney leaves the field as the sky turns dark after the All-Ireland hurling final replay between Kilkenny and Tipperary in 2014. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Teams, prize, venue may be identical, hardly anything else resembles All-Ireland final

Referee Conor Lane keeping Dublin’s Paul Flynn and Lee Keegan of Mayo apart. Photograph: INPHO/Cathal

Close your eyes and imagine Mayo had given away a three point lead in injury time

Dublin’s Diarmuid Connolly and Ciarán Kilkenny on the sideline in added time. It was one of the only times all day that Connolly had a chance to shoot at the posts without Lee Keegan stuck to his side. Photograph: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

It had never occurred to anyone that Mayo’s forwards would outscore the Dublin ones

Dublin’s James McCarthy with Aidan O’Shea of Mayo during the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship final at Croke Park. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Two own goals and an eventual draw were all the ingredients few were expecting on Sunday

James McCarthy’s stellar early-season form was interrupted by injury and he clearly wasn’t back to his smooth-running best against Kerry. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Malachy Clerkin runs the rule over Jim Gavin’s all-conquering side

Mayo’s chances could come down to the performance of Aidan O’Shea in Sunday’s All-Ireland final. Photograph: Gerry McManus/Inpho

Malachy Clerkin looks at the 15 players looking to help county win a first title in 65 years

Kevin MacManamon: “What he has that others don’t is an instinct to run at defenders with ball in hand and a directness that can be irresistible at times.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Dublin forward will start his first All-Ireland final against Mayo after upping his work-rate

Colm Boyle wins a penalty for Mayo in the semi-final against Dublin last year. The same nagging doubt that has arisen before stalks Mayo once again: will their forwards get enough scores to beat the Dubs? Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

Mayo’s path to victory at Croke Park looks to be obstructed by too many maybes

“Imagine living in a world where Mayo were All-Ireland champions. We would have to decommission the term marquee forward.” File photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Mayo as overlords. Mayo played by George Clooney. Everything we know will be wrong

Dublin’s Bernard Brogan reacts to a missed chance during the All-Ireland semi-final clash with Kerry. Photo: Inpho

Dublin team are just seven wins away from equaling a record held since 1933

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody after Tipperary’s All-Ireland win. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Brian Cody’s next move will be fascinating with pack closing in on Cats

Kilkenny’s Shane Prendergast and Cillian Buckley contest a high ball against John McGrath and Jason Forde of Tipperary. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

For once, Cody’s side has no reply to relentless shooting and workrate of Tipp

Tipperary’s John McGrath celebrates scoring his side’s second goal during the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final clash with Kilkenny. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Malachy Clerkin looks at the decisive minutes in Tipperary’s thrilling victory

James Barry in action in the  Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship quarter-final against Cork in  Semple Stadium in May. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Switched to ull back in panic move in 2014, James Barry has made spot his own

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody watches the teams at Croke Park: the Black Cats have not dazzled with their usual quality this summer. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Kilkenny always have work rate to win, but Mick Ryan has built team to take them down

Eamon O’Shea: his Tipperary team were involved in some classic games with Kilkenny. Photograph : Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Economics professor’s novel ideas stretched the tactical boundaries of the game

Dermot Connolly, who slotted the insurance score for Dublin, celebrates before the Hill 16 faithful at the end of a gripping semi-final at  Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Champions show remarkable composure to overhaul Kerry’s lead in gripping endgame

David Byrne and goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton fail to prevent Paul Geaney’s effort from going over the line for  Kerry’s second goal. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Champions show remarkable mettle to complete their comeback in an epic clash

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice puts it all on the line on Sunday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Despite leading Kerry to All-Ireland glory in 2014, defeat could end Fitzmaurice’s reign

Dublin manager Jim Gavin will expect his team to continue their winning ways against the Kingdom. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

The Lowdown: Malachy Clerkin previews Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final in Croke Park

The secretary general of the OCI, Dermot Henihan, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The OCI has confirmed two Irish Olympic boxers are facing disciplinary action for gambling during the Rio Games. Photograph: Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

Olympic Council of Ireland confirms athletes were censured for breaching code of ethics

Kerry’s David Moran is tackled by Brian Fenton of Dublin during last year’s All-Ireland final at Croke Park.  Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

No amount of bluff can take from the true meaning of the occasion at Croke Park

Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor is tackled by Brian Fox of Tipperary during Sunday’s All-Ireland senior football semi-final at Croke Park. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho.

Stephen Rochford’s side push into gear when need arises to drive into All-Ireland final

Conor Sweeney of Tipperary is tackled by  Mayo’s Seamus O’Shea and Brendan Harrison during the All-Ireland SFC semi-final at Croke Park. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Big-name players stand up when needed as Stephen Rochford’s side earn final date

Burdened with second-class status, these footballers are one game from the final

Tipperary’s John O’Dwyer scores a goal past Galway goalkeeper Colm Callanan. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Tipperary and Galway deliver an absolute epic – yet it wasn’t even the game of weekend

Kilkenny’s Shane Prendergast under pressure from Michael Walsh and Patrick Curran of Waterford. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

‘When I look at Waterford I don’t see systems I see brilliant hurlers,’ says Kilkenny boss

Kilkenny’s Shane Prendergast under pressure from Michael Walsh and Patrick Curran of Waterford. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

‘When I look at Waterford I don’t see systems I see brilliant hurlers,’ says Kilkenny boss

Dan McCormack has  become a prominent player for Tipperary during this year’s Munster hurling championship. The county defeated Waterford in the provincial final. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Manager’s willingness to change and bring in new talent might be enough to tip balance back

Hawkeye in use during last Sunday’s thrilling All-Ireland senior semi-final between Waterford and Kilkenny.  Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Ironically, for the second time in three years a critical late decision went Kilkenny’s way

Shane Prendergast is the filling in the sandwich as he contests a high ball with team-mate Eoin Murphy and Waterford’s Shane Bennett. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Waterford reach heights but get reined in by the brutal reality that is Brian Cody’s team

Waterford manager Derek McGrath on the sideline at Croke Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Manager admits his side face daunting task in Thurles given Kilkenny’s record in replays

 Mayo’s Lee Keegan celebrates at the end of the game. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Smart gameplan helps Westerners book place in sixth All-Ireland semi-final in row

Peter Harte has been top scorer for Tyrone in four out of the last five football championship seasons, and has scored 3-7 so this year. Photograph: James Crosbie/Inpho.

The Ulster champions’ top-scorer has been the enterprise behind county’s return to top tier

Dublin’s Cian O’Sullivan closes down Donegal’s  Frank McGlynn during the 2014 All-Ireland semi-final. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

O’Sullivan key to a restructured defence that now concedes half as many goals as before

Diarmuid O’Connor returns after injury to bolster Mayo. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

Ulster champions maybe favourites but the Connacht side have fight left in them

Conor Sweeney of Tipperary scores his side’s third goal. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Sunday at Croke Park was a joy to just bathe in the bliss of footballing improbability

Kerry’s David Moran launches a kick towards the Clare goal in the All-Ireland quarter-final at Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Kingdom await either Dublin or Donegal in last four after Clare are routinely dismissed

 Darran O’Sullivan scores Kerry’s   second goal during the All-Ireland SFC quarter-final against Clare at Croke Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Kingdom run out 11-point winners as Clare fail to land big punches

Mark Collins of Cork challenges for the ball with with Ryan McHugh and Odhran Mac Niallais of Donegal during the All-Ireland Senior Football Championship Round 4B Qualifier at  Croke Park. Photograph:  Donall Farmer/Inpho

Rory Gallagher’s side took their time to settle after hot start from Rebel County

Donegal’s Eamonn McGee gets to grips with Cork’s Paul Kerrigan in the All-Ireland semi-final in 2012. The Rebels went into a tailspin following the loss with many of their players retiring from intercounty football. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Rebels have not beaten Division One team in championship since 2012 semi-final defeat

Goalkeeper Joe Hayes in action for Clare. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Goalkeeper faces Kerry in an All-Ireland quarter-final 15 years after he joined panel,

The All-Ireland football quarter-finals will go ahead as planned on Saturday August 6th. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Possible football quarter-final matchups will not result in fixture changes - the GAA insist

Jim Gavin with the 72-year-old biplane he will be flying at the Bray Air Display. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw/Inpho

In his first one-on-one interview, Dublin’s Jim Gavin on how leadership skills honed in the military have helped him become one of(...)

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