Donal Vaughan celebrates scoring his  goal against Donegal in 2013. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Misunderstood and almost unnoticed, the defender is whatever his county needs him to be

Pat Hickey, former president of the Olympic Council of Ireland. New president Sarah Keane has pledged to reform the OCI.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Shane Ross needs to back the new OCI leadership for the sake of the athletes

Galway’s manager Michael Donoghue: “He touched many lives,” he said of the  late Tony Keady.  Photograph: INPHO/James Crombie

Galway’s Adrian Touhy and Waterford’s Austin Gleeson eligible for All-Ireland final

Austin Gleeson was at his talismanic best as Waterford beat Cork to reach the All-Ireland SHC final. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Darragh Fives accomplished in Tadhg De Búrca absence, a summer to remember

John McEnroe:   There is a kind of restlessness and searching at the heart of the tennis firebrand’s second autobiography.  Photograph: Jonathan Ford

The tennis hero looks back in middle-aged comfort at life since his punk sporting prime

Michael Meehan: back on the Galway squad afte a hellish four years of struggle with injury. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Michael Meehan and Seán Armstrong were once the bright future of Galway football

Armagh midfielder Niall Grimley has been one of the finds of the championship. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Croke Park hosts the last two football qualifiers and the first two quarter-finals

Mayo native and Roscommon manager  Kevin McStay. Photograph: Inpho/Tommy Dickson

If Kevin McStay’s men win on Sunday, the lights will go out across Mayo in many ways

Wexford’s James Breen in action with Maurice Shanahan of Waterford in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Davy Fitzgerald and Derek McGrath stand up with passion for their teams’ approach

Waterford’s Maurice Shanahan celebrates scoring a point in  the All-Ireland Hurling quarter-final against Wexford at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Tadhg de Búrca’s sending off the only blemish for the Déise in their four point win

Galway’s Damien Comer comes under pressure from  Donegal players Neil McGee and Kieran Gillespie at Markievicz Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Galway sink 13-man Donegal after strong performance from Seán Armstrong

Waterford manager Derek McGrath celebrates after the Wexford game. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Derek McGrath had sensed something of an ambush about the Wexford challenge

Galway’s Johnny Heaney celebrates scoring his second goal in the All-Ireland SFC Round 4A qualifier against Donegal at   Markievicz Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Seán Armstrong’s influence key as Tribesmen seal quarter-final slot

A natural forward, this summer Murphy has been deployed exclusively at midfield

Béla Guttmann: the  flawed, uniquely gifted Benfica coach – shown with journalists in London in 1962 – negotiated a path through the horrors of Nazism. Photograph: Keystone/Hulton/Getty

David Bolchover’s biography of the great Benfica coach is a deeply personal project

Declan D’Arcy celebrates Leitrim’s storied Connacht final win in 1994. Photograph: Tom Honan/Inpho

Fate of smaller counties could befall bigger fish over next few years

Down midfielder Peter Turley tumbles over  Tiernan McCann of Tyrone during the Senior Football Championship Final in St Tiernach’s Park, Clones, Co Monaghan. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Manager says defeat to Tyrone in Ulster football championship final a ‘learning curve’

The Cavanagh brothers celebrate with the trophy after winning the Ulster final on Sunday. Photograph: Inpho

Whole panel driven to atone for disappointing defeat to Mayo in headquarters last year

Down’s Brendan Coulter is mobbed by fans at the final whistle. Photograph:  INPHO/James Crombie

Down’s years as a weak force can be explained by the power of Tyrone and Armagh

Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor stare each other down during a world tour press conference this week. Photograph: Tom Szczerbowski

Irish fighter is Donald Trump of sport as his jibes continue to go further than ‘trash talk’

Enda and Donal Smith celebrate with supporters on the pitch after Sunday’s Connacht final victory. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Kevin McStay’s team win first title since 2010 after first win over Galway since 2001

Clare’s Patrick O’Connor leads the team during the parade before the Munster senior hurling championship semi-final against Limerick. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

The dual county’s weekend of possibility is underlined with a note of caution

 British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland: if his team beat the All Blacks not just twice but twice in succession  his reputation as a pragmatist and a worker of mind games will be soaring. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Lions coach who was portrayed as clown is now strong candidate to succeed Hansen

Kerry’s Shane Enright, Michael Geaney and manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice celebrate after the game. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Performances of Donaghy, Geaney and O’Donoghue were particularly pleasing

Kerry’s Paul Geaney scores a goal in their Munster SFC final win over Cork in Killarney. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

The Kingdom started as they meant to go on by blitzing neighbours Cork in Killarney

 Tony Doran in action for Wexford against Offaly in 1984. “We happened to come up against strong Kilkenny teams all along the line and then Offaly emerged as well.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Victory over Kilkenny and a Leinster final has the county abuzz with anticipation

 All Blacks loose forward Jerome Kaino upends Lions’ halfback Conor Murray during the first Test at Eden Park. Photograph: Brett Phibbs/New Zealand Herald via AP

To criticise team is seen as tantamount to disparaging the character of the nation

Former Donegal manager leaves Celtic to join former Bayer Leverkusen coach in Beijing

Down manager Eamon Burns: “My job is to take a team and put Down back to where it was in the 1990s. And it will take another number of years.  We will just keep working away.” Photograph: Andrew Paton/INPHO/Presseye

Down’s manager hoping patience of fans will be rewarded against Monaghan

Donegal’s Neil McGee subjected  Bernard Brogan to an hour  of intense, up close and personal scrutiny in the 2011 All-Ireland semi-final. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Should Jim Gavin’s men see off Kerry, Tyrone, Mayo etc what next for the GAA?

Tyrone’s Sean Cavanagh: “It felt in that 15, 20 minutes before half time like a performance that was close to what we expect.” Photograph: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Tyrone captain feels team beginning to touch heights of All-Ireland years

 Tyrone’s Peter Harte tackled by  Michael Murphy of Donegal. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Donegal’s youngsters chewed up and spat out in Clones as Tyrone reach Ulster final

Michael Murphy: an inspirational figure who has loomed large in  Donegal’s glory years. Photograph: Matt Kavanagh

Two Ulster counties’ sense-of-self have become interwoven with their football teams

Kieran Kingston celebrates with his son Shane following the Munster quarter-final win over Tipperary at Thurles. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Manager insists Cork still a ‘work in progress’ as they prepare to face Waterford

Jonathan Walters celebrates scoring the Republic of Ireland’s equalising goal against Austria. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

A bloody-minded second half from Ireland made for a crazy game, in the best sense

Mayo’s Kevin Keane is tackled by Gary Sice and Shane Walsh of Galway during last year’s semi-final clash at Castlebar. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Proven Mayo have every incentive to resume their former dominance of neighbours

Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry in action against the  Cleveland Cavaliers during Game 3 of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Photograph: Kyle Terada/Getty Images

Days of mass brawls and dark defending long gone as ‘brand’ carefully protects its image

Roy Keane celebrates with Manchester United team-mates in 2002. Sam Walker argues that while Keane provided towering leadership on the field of play, his fiery and unrepentant streak hurt the teams he led in other ways. Photograph: PA

Roy Keane and Michael Jordan fail to make the cut in Sam Walker’s quixotic study of leadership

Andy McEntee: “We have 40 guys in there working really hard and another 10 we had to let go. They are really trying.”

Manager McEntee provides a link to Meath football’s good old days

The story of the Lions tours is the inverse of the Heineken Cup. The four-year tour is a century-thick boy’s own annual of extraordinary journeys, lifelong friendships, romanticised violence, electrifying scores and stories that have travelled through the decades. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Commercial power that created ‘tradition’ of the Heineken Cup could help kill the Lions

 Sean Cavanagh celebrates scoring a point in the victory over Derry at Celtic Park. “There is serious competition for places at the moment. I am seeing it there in training. Whether that is good enough, time will tell.” Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Veteran says current squad among the strongest of all his time with the county

Tyrone’s Mark Bradley tries to avoid the Derry duo of  of  Enda Lynn and Carlus McWilliams during the Ulster SFC quarter-final at Celtic Park. Photograph: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho/Presseye

Mickey Harte’s side far too strong as the move on to meeting with Donegal

The finishing touches are applied to the newly renamed and renovated McGovern Park in Ruislip, London. Photograph: Gerry McManus/Inpho

Ruislip has been given a new 1,900-seat stand and is now known as McGovern Park

Mayo before their recent championship match against Sligo. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Fergus Connolly, performance director at Michigan football, needs to rethink his stance

Fergal Boland tries to escape the attentions of Neil Ewing and Patrick O’Connor during Mayo’s win over Sligo. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Visitors far from disgraced at MacHale Park but Rochford’s side never truly threatened

Galway’s Joe Canning: ‘It is hard to think of any GAA player who is so central to the conversation and ambitions of his team and county.’ Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Galway’s maturing star still chasing All-Ireland success but refuses to be defined by it

Aidan O’Shea in action against Michael Murphy in the Allianz Football League in Castlebar in April. Photograph: Tom Beary/Inpho

Whatever about not winning the All-Ireland with him, Mayo haven’t a hope without him

Rory McIlroy attends an Ulster v Leinster rugby match with Niall Horan – one of the many interests he has away from the course. Photo: Getty Images

World No2 shouldn’t be compared to Tiger Woods because he is completely different

LaVar Ball:  has positioned his three sons to  become the new dominant name of pro-basketball and therefore frontrunners in the limitless endorsement opportunities. Photograph:  Josh Lefkowitz/Getty Images

Controversial figure has patented the Z02’s by Big Baller which retail at a whopping $495

Mark Breheny: “This wasn’t something I set out to do. But I still enjoy it. I am striving to win a second Connacht medal.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Fifteen years on he returns to New York again to face the hosts in the championship

Sean Cooke: lost his case for post traumatic stress after being dropped from his soccer team at Cork Circuit Court. Photograph: David Keane

Court case in Cork raises question of why so many get disheartened along the way

Galway U-21 manager Gerry Fahy: “If we can leave these young men in a better place as people and as footballers then we will have achieved success.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Manager keenly aware of the bigger picture as All-Ireland final against Dublin beckons

 Johnny Glynn takes on Kilkenny’s Paul Murphy in the 2015 All-Ireland final in Croke Park. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Signs point to New York-based forward being involved in this year’s championship

Former Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie has unleashed another barrage of insults towards Liverpool.  Photograph: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Former Sun editor destroyed his reputation during his coverage of Hillsborough disaster

 Charley Hoffman jogs up the 13th hole during his spectacular first round at the US Masters at  Augusta National. Photograph:  Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Nine years after his last Major, golf struggling for the heightened theatre he provided

Bernard Brogan sidefoots home a goal against Monaghan in the 2014 All-Ireland quarter-final. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Opposition defences are paying a huge price for being drawn to the original ball-carrier

Wexford managed to beat Brian Cody’s Kilkenny in Nowlan park for the first time since 1957. Photo: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Meanwhile, Galway are the usual puzzle while Down completed the great escape

Mayo and Donegal players clash during a tempestuous encounter in Castlebar. Photograph: Tom Beary/Inpho

Visitors go scoreless in the final 30 minutes of a blood and thunder clash in Castlebar

Under Malachy O’Rourke Monaghan have perfected a template of organisation and counter-attacking intelligence. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Malachy O’Rourke has shaped a team that is ego-free but armed with a flinty self-belief

Dublin’s Dean Rock kicks a point to level the Division 1 game late on against Tyrone in February. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Dublin may appear omnipotent but at least four counties will not be cowed in summer

Monaghan’s Conor McManus is surrounded by Donegal players during the  Allianz Football League Division One game at  Fr Tierney Park in  Ballyshannon. Photograph: Trevor Lucy/Inpho/Presseye

Conor McManus’s penalty earns point for visitors in Ballyshannon

Donegal and Monaghan: It may be time to ban these teams from playing each other for a while. Photograph: Trevor Lucy/Presseye/Inpho

No county showing much interest in taking on record-breakers on eve of championship

Mayo’s manager Stephen Rochford with his team before defeat to Cavan  produced more worry. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Although league form can be misleading there are fears over Stephen Rochford’s side

Then deputy first minister Martin McGuinness with  local schoolchildren at the opening of Derry GAA centre of excellence at Owenbeg in 2014. File photograph:  Margaret McLaughlin

It provided one of the few arenas of clear rules and fair play for people in Derry

Colemangoes down under Taylor’s tackle. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Depleted Republic pick up a deserved point in a game which produced few chances

Donegal’s Michael Murphy and Ryan McHugh with Tyrone’s Justin McMahon and Rory Brennan in Ballybofey. Photograph: Lorcan Doherty/Presseye/Inpho

Mickey Harte takes setback in his stride as defeat to Donegal dampens expectations

Donegal’s Michael Murphy in action during the Allianz Football League Division One game against Tyrone at MacCumhaill Park in Ballybofey. Photograph: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho/Presseye

Young Ciaran Thompson continues his brilliant league form in Ballybofey victory

The England team sing ‘God Save Our Queen’ in Croke Park ahead of the 2007 Six Nations clash. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

On a wet St Patrick’s weekend England look to trample all over the festivities in Dublin

Dublin players go through their warm-up routine before the league match against Mayo at MacHale Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

Capital gains based on great groundwork and true self belief in Jim Gavin's camp

Jimmy Barry Murphy in action against Galway in the 1986 All-Ireland final. He epitomised the traditional style and confidence of Cork teams. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho Billy Stickland

Struggle of one of the strongest counties bad for the GAA – and for Irish sport

Dominant figure: Tipperary’s Tomas Hamill (right) in action against Clare  at Semple Stadium last Sunday. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Fierce competition within Michael Ryan’s squad is best deterrent against complacency

Barcelona fans celebrate after their incredible comeback saw them advance to the Champions League quarter-finals. Photo: Pau Barrena/Getty Images

Few believed beforehand but by the end they were left speechless

Surfer Fergal Smith, photographed by Mickey Smith. ‘Between Land And Sea’ traces a year in the lives of people whose lives have been shaped by the wilder moods of the ocean around Lahinch

Getting battered by massive waves lets you be whatever version of yourself you want to be

Brian O’Driscoll during the 2014 Six Nations (left), and on TV analysis duty (right). Photograph: Inpho (left) Getty images (right).

After the game is over... ‘with every year that goes, you become less relevant. That is life’

Donegal’s Eoghan Ban Gallagher with Dublin’s John Small, Jack McCaffrey and Eric Lowndes at Ballybofey on Sunday. Photograph: INPHO

Dublin find it hard going again as they are put through the wringer by Donegal

Ground staff remove water from pitch prior to  Donegal v Dublin Allianz Football League Division One clash  on Sunday. Photograph: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho/Presseye

Ballbofey challenge worth a month of traning, says Dublin manager Jim Gavin

Dublin’s Paul Flynn and Donegal’s Michael Murphy both react at the end of the game. Photograph: Inpho

MacCumhaill Park draw stretches unbeaten run to 32 league and championship games

 Donegal’s Ciarán Thompson in action against Kerry in the Allianz League Division One match at O’Donnell Park, Letterkenny. Thompson  has caught the eye in the opening rounds. Photograph: Inpho

Rory Gallagher’s new approach backed by former midfielder Rory Kavanagh

The scale and feel and pageantry of All-Ireland finals   are unique and don’t think for a moment that the light of September does not contribute to that. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

If Motion 5 goes through Congress, should we not just do away with the month altogether?

Kilkenny’s Richie Hogan tries to close down Clare’s Seadna Morey during his side’s comprehenzive league defeat. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Brian Cody admits his Cats side were comprehensively outplayed in Cusack Park

 In 2008, OJ Simpson was convicted and sentenced to 33 years’ imprisonment, with a minimum of nine years without parole for offences including armed robbery and kidnapping. He is serving his sentence at the Lovelock Correctional Centre in Lovelock, Nevada. Photograph:  Issac Brekken-Pool/Getty Images

Murder trial made it clear to Simpson extent of fabrication he had created for himself

 Chrissy McKaigue lifts the cup after Slaughtneil’s win over Loughgiel in the Ulster senior club hurling  final. Photograph:  John McIlwaine/Presseye/Inpho

Members of village club forced to pinch themselves as they chase historic treble

 Dublin’s Dean Rock kicks a point to level the game against Tyrone. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Jim Gavin’s men maintain unbeaten sequence against rapidly improving Ulster men

Dublin’s Eoghan O’Gara with Ronan McNamee of Tyrone during their Allianz Football League Division 1 clash at Croke Park. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

The two sides traded punches for the full 70 minutes with points deservedly shared

Dublin’s Jack McCaffrey and Tyrone’s Mark Donnelly in action in a league match in 2013. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Mickey Harte may decide to engage the champions in a fire fight, despite the dangers

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Patrick O’Donovan. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Westminster’s move against FA shines light on dismal governance of sport in Ireland

Cian Dillon of defending Allianz league champions Clare at Croke Park this week.  Photograph: Inpho/Ryan Byrne

Keith Duggan’s county-by-county guide to the start of this year's hurling campaign

Pat Hickey speaking during the closing ceremony of the 2015 European Games in Baku, Azerbaijan. Photograph: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Whoever takes charge must shift group’s focus from boardroom to competitors

 Killian Young: “We’ve done a lot of hard running and are in good shape. It stood to us.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Marc Ó Sé and O’Mahony are gone but phrase ‘team in transition’ is not used in Kingdom

Kerry’s Paul Geaney celebrates his second goal against Donegal. Photograph: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho

Dublin continue where they left off as Kerry punish a callow Donegal in Letterkenny

Kerry’s Paul Geaney celebrates his second goal. Photograph: Lorcan Doherty/Inpho

Éamonn Fitzmaurice can return south happy with a job well done and with finesse

Kerry senior football manager   Éamonn Fitzmaurice. Photograph: Inpho/James Crombie

Kerry’s manager keeps defeats in perspective and victories remain at the forefront in his mind

 New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws a pass against the Pittsburgh Steelers  last month. Photograph: John Cetrino/EPA

All American-hero has been sucked into vortex of fear since new president took office

Kerry footballer Kieran Donaghy: his return for a winter season with Tralee Tigers has helped to generate a hugely enthusiastic local crowd for the club’s Superleague games. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Ronan McGarrity and Aidan O’Shea will play for Sligo All-Star’s in division one cup final

Rafael Nadal falls onto the court as he celebrates winning  a sensational men’s singles semi-final  against Bulgaria’s Grigor Dimitrov at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Photograph: Issei Kato/Reuters

Spaniard and Roger Federer have already written a memorable Australian Open script

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady  and head coach Bill Belichick will pit their wits against the Pittsburgh Steelers  in their bid for the AFC championship title. Photograph: CJ Gunther/EPA

Nation will be side with Pittsburgh when they take on Tom Brady’s New England Patriots

Mayo’s Brendan Harrison tackles Dublin’s Bernard Brogan during the All-Ireland final replay. “He is surprisingly strong. He is very physical. He is very tricky,” said Harrison.Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

It’s been a crowded, lonely, brilliant road to the top for Mayo’s All Star defender

Connacht’s Tiernan O’Halloran scores try number eight as his side cruised past Zebre in the Champions Cup. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

The home side survived an early scare to rack up 66 points and a bonus point win

Donal Reid after Donegal’s famous victory over Dublin in the 1992 All-Ireland final.  Photograph: Inpho

Ex- Donegal player’s book details the emotional trauma sparked by an assault on the pitch

 Floyd Mayweather Jr: boasts of earning some $800 million during his extraordinary career.  Photograph: Mary Altaffer/AFP

Defeat would damage the brand image of near-invincibility the Dubliner has cultivated

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