Conor McManus scored seven points for Monaghan as they pipped rivals Cavan at Breffni Park. Photograph: Inpho

Ulster favourites turn to the bench to help them pass tough examination from rivals

Roscommon manager John Evans has no significant injury concerns ahead of his side’s clash with London at Ruislip. Photograph: Tommy Greally/Inpho.

Expect John Evans’s side to leap Ruislip hurdle with ease

Monaghan’s Dick Clerkin is likely to be given the task of  curbing Gearóid McKiernan’s influence in the Cavan midfield.  Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Malachy O’Rourke’s side need to get over high expectations to finally live up to favourite’s tag

Cavan’s Eugene Keating locks horns with Kieran Duffy and Drew Wylie of Monaghan in the Ulster Championship two years. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

For as long as there has been football, there has been enmity between counties

Louth’s Declan Byrne celebrates scoring a point in the first half of the Leinster SFC first-round game against Westmeath at  the Gaelic Grounds in Drogheda. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Callum McCormack, Shane Dempsey and Ray Connellan on the mark in Drogheda

Ronan McEntire of Longford competes for the ball with Offaly’s Johnny Moloney during the Leinster SFC first-round match at O’Connor Park in Tullamore. Photo:  Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Pat Flanagan left frustrated after Jack Sheedy’s side overturn seven-point deficit

Paul Sharry returns at wing forward for Westmeath. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Return of James Dolan and Paul Sharry can tilt the balance for the midlanders

Offaly’s go-to forward Niall McName will line out for his 13th championship this summer. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Offaly forward reached depths of despair – but the toughest road was the one to recovery

Longford’s Brian Kavanagh gets ahead of Johnny Moloney of Offaly during the Leinster Senior Football Championship first round game at Pearse Park on May 18th, 2014. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Visiting side have yet to win a championship match against their hosts in Tullamore and are unlikely to break their duck

Ross Munnelly, who with the Kingston brothers makes up a dependable inside forward line for Laois, who take on Carlow in the Leinster Senior Football Championship first round on Sunday. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Tómas Ó Flatharta’s charges have edge in experience in Leinster championship clash

Kilkenny’s Richie Hogan was last year’s Hurler of the Year. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

The 2014 Hurler of the Year played a key role in Kilkenny’s All-Ireland success

Wherever you are, get ready for All-Ireland championship

All Ireland Hurling Final 1995 against Offaly - Brian and Frank Lohan tackle Johnny Dooley. Photo: Patrick Bolger/Inpho All Ireland Hurling Final 1995 against Offaly - Brian and Frank Lohan tackle Johnny Dooley. Photo: Patrick Bolger/Inpho

The Banner were like a boulder that landed from a clear blue sky

Tony McCoy is overcome with emotion after coming third on Box Office at Sandown Park Racecourse in  the final race of his career. Photograph:  Sean Dempsey/AFP/Getty Images

Everyone likes to win and most people want to win – but the legendary jockey needed it

Cork and Dublin managers Brian Cuthbert and Jim Gavin shake hands after the Allianz Football League Division One  final at  Croke Park. Photograph: Inpho

Dublin manager’s thoughts quickly turn to summer goals after defeating Cork in Allianz Football League Division One final

Dublin’s Ciarán Kilkenny is challenged by Cork’s  Eoin Cadogan  in yesterday’s Allianz National League Division One football final in Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho

Champions miss hatful of chances and still cruise home, while Cork begin postmortem

Waterford manager Derek McGrath at Nowlan Park on Sunday. Photo: Inpho/Cathal Noonan

Post-match reaction: Waterford v Tipperary

Dublin Manager Dessie Farrell has a  formidable looking side as they prepare to take on Tipperary in Tullamore. Photograph: Inpho

Preview: All-Ireland Under-21 Football semi-final – Dublin v Tipperary, Tullamore, Saturday, 4pm; Roscommon v Tyrone, Markievicz P(...)

Rob O’Shea has been the league’s main discovery for Cork during the  Allianz Hurling League. Photograph: Inpho

Preview: Allianz Hurling League semi-final – Cork v Dublin, Nowlan Park, 2pm , TG4

Michael “Brick” Walsh, seen here during the league match against Galway, is one of Waterford’s more mature players. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho.

Manager is maturing in his roll along with his youthful team who are proving their worth

 Donegal manager Rory Gallagher shakes hands with his Cork counterpart Brian Cuthbert at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho

Rory Gallagher won’t lose too much sleep over Donegal missing out on the final

Michael Murphy tries to block down Mark Collins during Cork’s victory over Donegal in the national league semi-final in Croke Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Colm O’Neill scores 2-2 as Brian Cuthbert’s team ensure repeat of 2014 final

Jim Gavin: won’t be entirely put out by another game where his side have to test each brick in the wall to find the loose one. Photo: Ryan Moore/Inpho

Jim Gavin’s men to gain more experience of coping against a blanket defence

Kildare manager Jason Ryan: “This is a team of lads who are working hard and we would believe that we have every opportunity to get wins this summer.”

Eyes turning now to a championship clash with either Carlow or Laois

Rory McIlroy – fell 14 shots behind leader Jordan Spieth after bogeying the first hole. Photograph: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Sky’s holograms no substitute for live coverage of Jordan Speight’s exploits

Jack Nicklaus: Jack dropped in and chewed the fat, benignly allowing Monty and Butch and Paul McGinley kiss his ring.  Photograph: David Cannon/Getty Images

US Masters care not one jot what the modern sports consumer wants, needs or likes

Paul Geaney: “We showed great character in the games we needed to win or needed to get results in. So that’s a positive to take.”

All-Ireland champions turn thoughts towards preparation for the championship

Kerry’s Colm Cooper: made his first appearance for the Kingdom in 19 months when he came on against Tyrone at Healy Park. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho

Late Tyrone equaliser against Kerry ensures Donegal pip Kingdom to a semi-final place

Manager Malachy O’Rourke has engineered a dramatic reversal in the fortunes of the county, with Monaghan having lost just eight out of the last 32 league and championship games since he took over. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Malachy O’Rourke’s side need draw to clinch first league semi-final since 1998

Cormac Costello of Dublin gets by Derry’s Oisín Duffy during Saturday’s Allianz Football League Division One clash at Croke Park. Dublin won the game by 0-8 to 0-4. Photograph: Donal Farmer/Inpho.

Still much to play for in all four divisions as league season comes down to wire

  Cork’s  Seamus Harnedy gets away from Wexford’s Daithi Waters and Eoin Conroy. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Dublin, Waterford and Tipperary complete semi-final line-up in hurling

Republic of Ireland striker Shane Long celebrates scoring the equaliser with Wes Hoolahan and James McClean during the Euro 2016 Group D qualifying game  at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Niall Carson/PA

Shane Long joins growing list of vital late goal scorers alongside Aiden McGeady and John O’Shea

Cormac Costello of Dublin with Oisin Duffy of Derry. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

The extra bit of attacking class edges the Leinster champions on in final 10 minutes

Séamus Hickey: “For us, there was pressure on to try and get promoted but when you finish the league it’s easy to leave it behind you. I’m not sure that’s the same if you’re after being relegated.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Quarter-final against Dublin at Croke Park an opportunity to gauge where they stand

Henry Shefflin   announcing his retirement: he deserves to know that he meant something beyond the endless titles and medals and glory he brought to Kilkenny and Ballyhale – although that is what he holds dearest. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Retirement of Henry Shefflin followed by overwhelming and lavish praise

Henry Shefflin won 10 All-Ireland hurling titles with Kilkenny. Photograph: Inpho

36-year-old Kilkenny centre-forward won 10 All-Ireland titles and 13 Leinster medals

Niamh Briggs with the Six Nations trophy Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

‘We have the potential to keep improving now, I think we’ve shown that,’ says Briggs

Ireland coach Tom Tierney won the championship in his first Six Nations campaign. Photograph: Inpho

Sunday’s 73-3 victory over Scotland secured a stunning second title in three seasons

Dublin’s Shane Durkin challenges with Joe Cooney during his side’s win over Galway. Photograph: Inpho.

Ger Cunningham’s side leave nothing to chance as strong second half seals victory at Parnell Park

Katie Walsh:  ‘I never in my life went down to the start of a race thinking that I was girl in a field of lads.’ Photograph: Spencer Murphy

Katie Walsh, Hayley O’Connor and Jessica Harrington are united by their love of horse racing

Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, USA: Padraig Harrington waves to the gallery as he walks up to the 17th green during the second play-off hole during the final round of the Honda Classic. Photograph: Peter Casey/USA Today

Famine ends: Ever-popular golfer wins big US tournament for first time in seven years

Tommy O’Donnell is tackled by Billy Vunipola and Richard Wigglesworth after coming on for Seán O’Brien in Ireland’s 19-9 victory against England. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Flanker has contributed more than most in Ireland’s Six Nations success thus far

Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor make his first start of the year as his side face Monaghan at MacHale Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Dublin and Kerry’s clash in Killarney the highlight of the weekend's actions

Irish Times sports journalist Carl O’Malley, who passed away suddenly on Thursday at the age of 36

Father-of-three will be hugely missed by everyone in the paper

Aogán Farrell: his big pitch on the campaign trail  was for clarity and due respect to finally be brought about for club players. Photograph: Inpho.

Dromgoon man’s long and distinguished record of service stretches back 40 years

Shane O’Donnell and Domhnall O’Donovan after winning the 2013 All-Ireland final replay in which O’Donnell scored a hat-trick. Photograph: James Crombie/INPHO

Clare star glad to put celebrity madness and injuries behind him ahead of Cork rematch

Dublin’s Danny Suttcliffe evades  Kieran Bergin of Tipperary during the Dubs Allianz League win. (Photograph: INPHO/Donall Farmer)

Tipp All Stars soundly beaten as bookies favourites all lose opening top flight Allianz League games

St Vincent’s Ger Brennan with Garrycastle’s Dessie Dolan. “He is an exceptional player for Vincent’s and he’s the one person that makes them tick,” says Dolan. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

All-Ireland champions aim to extend their long unbeaten run at Corofin’s expense

Cork’s Donal Og Hodnett tries to get past Monaghan’s Stephen Gollogly. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Presseye/Inpho

Tyrone record convincing win in Mayo as Kerry see off Derry

Dublin’s Dean Rock played more rugby than football at school and modelled his place-kicking technique on England’s Jonny Wilkinson. photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Dublin forward started only first league game last week and is determined to make up for lost time

Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton and Michael Murphy of Donegal during last year’s All-Ireland Football Championship semi-final at Croke Park. Photograph: James Crosbie/Inpho.

Croke Park evening highlight gives capital a chance of revenge for last autumn’s defeat

Dublin’s Kevin McManamon and Odhran Mac Niallais of Donegal will renew battle at Croke Park in their Allianz League Division One clash. Photograph: Inpho

Croke Park are expecting something in the neighbourhood of 25,000 for Dublin v Donegal Division One clash

A long-standing fixture on RTÉ’s rugby panel alongside host Tom McGurk and fellow panellist Brent Pope, George Hook is bowing out (...)

 Conor Ridge (left) of Horizon Sports Management leaving the Four Courts after reaching an agreement with golfer Rory McIlroy’s legal team  on February 4th, 2015. Photograph: Alan Betson/The Irish Times

Deal thought to consist of fees owing, future earnings now lost and general damages

Rory McIlroy and Conor Ridge of Horizon Sports, who have settled their High Course case. Photograph: Getty

Hugs all round as golfer and Horizon Sports reach a settlement

Golfer Rory McIlroy arrives at the High Court in Dublin on Tuesday morning. Photograph: Collins.

If the case is taking a toll, the world’s top golfer is displaying little sign of it

Ireland’s players singing ‘Ireland’s Call’. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Liked by some, loathed by others, Phil Coulter’s song was the answer to enduring problem

Tyrone’s Sean Cavanagh in McKenna Cup action recently. The veteran is named at full forward to face Monaghan at Healy Park. Photograph: Inpho

Division One Dublin holders kick off campaign against Cork who have just three home

Donal Óg Cusack: For Coming Out Of The Curve, the documentary he has made for RTÉ, he spent a year travelling to different parts of the world to feel his way around what it is to be gay. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Documentary to air on RTÉ tonight shows sportsman reflecting on what it is to be gay

Cork’s Jennifer O’Leary celebrates scoring their first goal of the All-Ireland final win against Kilkenny. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

The eight-time All Star ends on a high after the Rebels’ latest All-Ireland success

Cork hurling manager Jimmy Barry-Murphy takes chance to survey options against UL at Cork IT. Photograph: James Crosbie/Inpho.

College sides need to pick up game ahead of Sigerson Cup

Former Dublin captain Bryan Cullen has retired from intercounty football. Photograph: Cathal Noonan / Inpho

All-Ireland winning captain Cullen was 12 years with Dubs, Hayes is Tribesmen’s all-time leading championship goalscorer

 Zoe Mangan, Padraic Hartigan and Ross Fitzgerald from Salesian Secondary College, Limerick with their project The Silent Whistle a wearable device to help sports players with hearing impairments acknowledge the whistle of a referee during a match or training at the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition 2015. Photograph: Alan Betson

From seaweed golf tees to boots for hurling the Young Scientists Exhibition is a vision of the future

Wexford senior football manager David Power. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

County’s players have had to duck for cover under a media onslaught for far too long

Donegal manager Rory Gallagher: “There’s an element of freshness to it and it’s very much into the unknown for some of them. So you get them in and you see if they can make the step up.” Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

New manager ready to run the rule over new talent while welcoming old stalwarts back

  Kilkenny’s Eoin Larkin and Paddy Stapleton of Tipperary collide in the drawn All-Ireland hurling final on September 7th at Croke Park.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne / Inpho

Malachy Clerkin on the All-Ireland hurling final that had everything but a winner

The Ireland team faced up to the New Zealand haka and beat their vaunted opponents in last summer’s Rugby World Cup pool match in Paris. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

As part of The Irish Times/Irish Sports Council Sportswoman of the Year awards we look at the current state of Irish women’s sport(...)

2014 TG4 All Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship Final, Croke Park, Dublin 28/9/2014Dublin vs Cork Cork Manager Eamon Ryan celebrates with his team after the game Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

How a county who had never won a senior trophy turned into the best team in Irish sport

 Dublin County Board chairman Andy Kettle has died. He was 68. Photo Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Tireless worker for Dublin oversaw a period of great success for the county

Dublin’s Kevin McManamon and Odhrán Mác Niallais of Donegal at Croke Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan / Inpho

Malachy Clerkin on a raid for the ages, Jim McGuinness’s best ever trick

GAA, soccer and rugby followers have lots of choice this Christmas with stories that range from the personal to the universal

St. Vincent’s forward Diarmuid Connolly after the All-Ireland club final win ver Castlebar Mitchells’s at Croke Park in March 2014. Photograph: Cathal Noonan / Inpho

The distance between the best of the best and the great unwashed rest can be an ocean

Henry Shefflin: the Ballyhale Shamrocks player has been awarded Hurler of the Year three times throughout his career.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Kilcormac/Killoughey won’t be cowed by Ballyhale’s stars but it won’t be enough

James ‘Cha’ Fitzpatrick: will be helping Ballyhale Shamrocks’ bid to claim another title when they face Offaly champions Kilcormac-Killoughey

Ballyhale star has no regrets about decision to end his intercounty career with Kilkenny at just 26

Cork’s Rhona Ní Bhuachalla (left) and Val  Mulcahy (13) and team-mates celebrate   after their remarkable win over Dublin in the 2014 TG4 All Ireland Ladies Senior Football Championship Final, Croke Park, Dublin. Photograph: Ryan Byrne / Inpho

‘The most striking thing about it was the complete absence of panic in the Cork side’

Austin Stacks manager Stephen Stack celebrates with Kieran Donaghy after the final whistle in the Munster club final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Austin Stacks star now has Munster club success to add to All-Ireland medal in 2014

 Ben Foster of West Brom: You would think the most cash-rich league in the world could source 20 goalkeepers who can kick the ball with both feet. But apparently not. Photo: Laurence Griffiths/Getty

Despite the massive money in the game now, maybe there are aren’t enough good players to go around

Double Paralympic gold medalist Mark Rohan talking to locals in Zambia during his trip there with Alan Kerins’s Discovery charity.

Paralympic champion gained fresh perspective on life and career on Zambia charity trip

Austin Stacks’ Mikey Collins in action against Diarmuid Wall of The Nire during the AIB Munster Club Senior Football Championship Final at Páirc Ui Chaoimh. Photograph:   Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Fast start had Waterford side six points ahead after eight minutes at Páirc Uí Chaoimh

FAI chief exeutive John Delaney

Constant drip-drip of headlines reflects poorly on the football association

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt actually said: “I’m just an interested observer who puts a few subs on.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Beating Australia and South Africa may not be enough when perfection is all that will do

St Vincent’s Tomás Quinn: scored two goals, including a late penalty to help his side defeat Garrycastle. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Late Tomás Quinn penalty finally ends Westmeath champions’ comeback

Philly McMahon: “There are little things in everybody’s body that they won’t understand unless they change their diet and do little experiments.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Player saw gap in market to create an ‘affordable’ healthy food delivery service

Robbie Brady celebrates scoring Ireland’s fourth goal and his second  with Hull City clubmate David Meyler (left). Photograph: Donall Farmer / Inpho

O’Neill points to positives in second half and Robbie Brady’s attacking performance

USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann smiles during the press conference at the Aviva Stadium where his side face the Republic of Ireland in a friendly. Photograph: Inpho.

Head coach wants to take his USA side onwards and upwards

Convicted rapist Ched Evans is training with Sheffield United having been released from prison. Photograph:  Jon Buckle/PA Wire.

To be dispassionate about issue it is to pretend that rape is just like any other crime

Olympic gold medallist Jessica Ennis-Hill as police are investigating abusive tweets about the Olympic gold medallist after she said Sheffield United should not re-sign convicted rapist Ched Evans.  Photograph: Anthony Devlin/PA

Reluctance to wash their hands of Evans feeds into something far more insidious. The notion is allowed to endure that maybe he was(...)

Ireland prop forward Dave Kilcoyne tries to burst through the Georgia defence in yesterday’s Test match at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan sheridan/Inpho

Prop fights physical Georgians on front line before try opens floodgates for home side

Clontibret’s Conor McManus has won five Monaghan senior football championship medals. Photograph:Inpho.

Monaghan’s All Star forward could play three games on three continents in 14 days

 Kieran Donaghy of Austin Stacks: hoping for another fruitful outing against a Cork team.

Club championships and county finals

Roy Keane  arrives ahead of this morning’s training session in Malahide. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA Wire.

Ireland’s assistant manager refuses to be drawn on hotel incident at Ireland training session

 Derval O’Rourke celebrates winning  silver in the women’s 100m hurdles final at the 2010 European Athletics Championships in Barcelona. Since her retirement she has turned her focus to food. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

The former hurdler on why athletes who take up cooking come up with healthy and tasty recipes

James McCarthy: chose to play for the Republic of Ireland instead of his native Scotland. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

But Gordon Strachan is right – this is pantomime booing – lots of noise but nothing more

Ger Cunningham: “A lot of those Dublin guys have All-Ireland medals in football. It would be great to see them get All-Ireland medals in hurling.” Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

‘I think it’s a great compliment that Dublin have put the next three years into my hands’

Seanie Johnston in action for Kildare. “I can’t worry about what people think. I did for a long time and eventually I came to the conclusion that you can’t control what people are thinking or saying.” Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Classy forward just glad to be involved in his club’s push for provincial glory

New Dublin hurling manager Ger Cunningham pictured at Parnell Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Former Cork goalkeeper wants to get best team possible on the pitch

 Loughmore-Castleiney’s Tomas McGrath with Pádraic Maher of Thurles Sarsfields during the Tipperary SHC final at Semple Stadium. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Denis Maher and Stephen Cahill outstanding as Loughmore-Castleiney are blown away

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