Conor McManus and his team-mates celebrate the Ulster final victory over Donegal last year. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Painstaking husbandry ensures the small county remain at football’s top table

Odhrán Mac Niallais had an impact against Fermanagh but he struggled for impact against Monaghan last year. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

A mouthwatering Ulster semi-final and a Leinster football semi-final double-header top the bill

Laois’s Evin Keane celebrates scoring the last point of the game against Armagh– but now  the teams must do it all again. Photo: Tom Beary/Inpho

GAA needs to optimise and streamline the administration of fixtures under its control

Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea: “I’ve never lost to Galway in a competitive game, minor, under-21, senior, so yeah, definitely a change and definitely didn’t see it coming.” Photograph: Inpho.

All Star says team can recover fluidity after surprise loss to Galway on Saturday

Laois brought on a seventh replacement in injury time during their qualifier victory over Armagh. Sanctions for playing too many substitutes range from forfeiture to a replay to a fine. Photograph: Tom Beary/Inpho.

Croke Park CCCC considering claim that county used too many subs in qualifier

Tipperary manager Michael Ryan celebrates at the final whistle in Thurles. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Conceding three goals in the first half makes it very hard to win games, says Limerick manager

Séamus Callanan celebrates scoring Tipperary’s  third goal in the Munster SHC semi-final against Limerick at Semple Stadium in Thurles. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Munster champions forced to battle hard after John O’Dwyer’s early sending off

d Johnny Duane fail to prevent a Donegal goal during the counties’ qualifier clash in Croke Park last summer.  photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

County’s success at underage level not being built on with Mayo dominating in Connacht

Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor: has had little football since returning towards the end of the league. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Visit to Castlebar looks a daunting task for a Galway side including five debutants

Cork players, led by Paul Kerrigan,  take to the field in Semple Stadium, Thurles. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Tipperary delight in their very own D-Day, while mood in Rebel County is one of apathy

Donegal manager Rory Gallagher. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho

Football action across all four provinces with six games down for decision

The Dublin senior hurling team ahead of their Leinster championship quarter-final defeat of Wexford at Croke Park last month. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Against all odds and expectation the county have emerged as real contenders

The decline of  Down is just one factor in the lack of competitiveness in Ulster football. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Presseye/Inpho

Major soccer tournaments come and go but more fundamental problem is a concern

Waterford manager Derek McGrath celebrates winning with Jamie Barron. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

The Déise beat Clare in semi-final clash in Thurles to avenge league final defeat

Clare’s Podge Collins  tackles Waterford’s Shane Bennett during the league final replay. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Banner’s ability to survive under pressure gives them the edge against Waterford

Bernard Brogan is part of a core of Dublin players that have backboned the county’s Leinster dominance. Photograph:  Ryan Byrne/Inpho

All-Ireland football champions Dublin return to action in Kilkenny

GPA CEO Dessie Farrell: “In this day and age it’s not acceptable that players go months and months without being reimbursed.” Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan

Players’ body CEO Dessie Farrell concerned at recent recurrence of a formerly thorny issue

Kevin McManamon: lines out at corner forward against Laois in place of Paul Mannion. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Jim Gavin names 11 of side that started All-Ireland final win against Kerry

Bundee Aki lifts the Pro12 trophy as the Connacht players celebrate their win over Leinster. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Province’s great achievement unlikely to find counterpart in modern-day football or hurling

James McCarthy holds off Kerry’s Kieran Donaghy: “We have got better as we’ve gone on and we’re a tough team to play against now.” Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Versatile defender looking forward to taking on Laois at Nowlan Park

Terry Hyland was a selector for Val Andrews during the Dubliner’s first stint with the county. Photograph: Inpho

Val Andrews praises former selector’s success in bringing through emerging talent

Westmeath manager Michael Ryan: “We’ll embrace the challenge and take it on. It’s why we’re all involved in sport.”

Recent U-21 win over Kilkenny provides an ideal fillip for Michael Ryan’s senior team

Armagh manager Kieran McGeeney: took personal responsibility for the performance when his side lost by 17 points against Cavan in March. Photograph: Inpho

Weekend GAA previews: Mayo too stronger for London despite injury problems

Séamus Callanan in action against Cork:  “It spoils open hurling but sure  whatever it takes teams to win, let them do it.”  Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Decorated forward says he hopes Tipperary never adopt hurling’s controversial tactic

Joe McDonagh: his death leaves the GAA bereft of the ease and good humour through which he communicated his passions for Irish  language and   culture. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

The charismatic former president will be remembered as a decent and humane man

Galway hurler David Collins: “We wanted change and we got change. Now we have to fulfil our side and do it.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

David Collins knows stakes are higher as Tribesmen have also just been relegated

Tipperary’s John O’Dwyer scores a point as the rain buckets down at Semple Stadium. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Hawk-eye debuts in Semple Stadium but no big calls needed in one sided Munster clash

Former GAA President Joe McDonagh has sadly passed away.  Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Sean Moran remembers the former Galway hurler who became president of the GAA

Longford manager Denis Connerton is not optimistic for his side’s chances ahead of clash with Offaly. Photograph: Inpho

Leinster SFC first round: Offaly v Longford, Tullamore, 3.30

Fermanagh manager Pete McGrath. Photograph: John McVitty/Inpho/Presseye/

Ulster sides meet in championshop for third season in row with one victory apiece

Louth’s Jim McEneaney impressed in the  Division Four final at Croke Park against Antrim. Photograph: Inpho

Saturday: Leinster SFC preliminary round – Carlow v Louth, Portlaoise, 5.0

Laois’ Ross Munnelly: with Donie Kingston and rising star Evan O’Carroll up front, Laois have too much for the visitors. Photograph: Inpho

Saturday: Leinster SFC preliminary round – Laois v Wicklow, Portlaoise, 7.0

Carlow manager Luke Dempsey celebrates with goalscorer JJ Smith after the county’s draw with Meath in the 2012 Leinster championship. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Former manager Luke Dempsey says club game takes precedence in the county

The last time Dublin played a championship match outside Croke Park – against Longford at Pearse Park on June 4th, 2006. A youthful Alan Brogan takes on Dermot Brady. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

How can Leitrim with a population of 32,000 hope to compete with likes of Dublin?

Former GAA President Jack Boothman has passed away. Photo: Inpho

Wicklow man’s term of office was during an interesting time for the organisation

Waterford’s Austin Gleeson scores a point during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 final replay at Semple Stadium. Photograph: Ken Sutton/INPHO

Spotlight moves to the Munster semi-final against Clare on the June bank holiday weekend

Waterford’s Patrick Curran fires past Clare goalkeeper Patrick Kelly to score the opening goal of the league final replay. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Patrick Kelly says failure to win league is the one regret that 1990s’ team still have

Clare’s Shane Golden and Waterford’s Tom Devine challenge for the sliotar during the Allianz Hurling League Division One Final replay at Semple Stadium in Thurles. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Holders left stunned by a Banner comeback sealed deep in injury-time

Waterford’s Maurice Shanahan scores the equalising point with the last puck of the game at Semple Stadium last week. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Holders are unlikely to squander so many chances from frees second time around

Waterford’s Ken McGrath gets away from Cork’s Seán Óg Ó hAilpín during the 1998 National Hurling League final which Cork won. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

History shows both Waterford and Clare benefited even from defeat in a final

Eirgrid GAA Football All Ireland Under 21 Championship Final, Cusack Park, Ennis, Co. Clare 30/4/2016Cork vs MayoDiarmuid O'Connor of Mayo celebrates scoring his sides first goalMandatory Credit ©INPHO/Donall Farmer

County’s Under-21 triumph has been a timely boost for the senior panel’s confidence levels

League finalists Clare and Waterford are both coming teams. Their underage success in recent years denotes as much. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

The league finalists are on an upward curve and could be serious Championship contenders

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald trades some strong words with Derek McGrath of Waterford during the Allianz Hurling League final at Semple Stadium. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Neither side could rack up a decent lead over 90 minutes of fiercely contested action

The Ireland team celebrate in Croke Park after last year’s triumph. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Hawkeye to debut in Thurles for Munster championship clash of Tipperary and Cork

Cork’s Stephen Cronin lifts the provincial title following their win over Kerry in Tralee. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Rebels will top the final under-21 roll of honour if they defeat Mayo in Ennis

Waterford’s Shane Bennett, with Patrick Curran, has been playing a more prominent for the county. Photograph: Inpho

Gaelic Games weekend previews: Cork look to have edge in All-Ireland Under-21 FC final

Kilkenny hurler TJ Reid at the launch of Cúl Heroes. Photo: Sportsfile

Current Hurler of the Year slightly favours Clare to win Sunday’s AHL final

Dublin’s James McCarthy in action against Kieran Donaghy of Kerry. Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Departures from defence have seen flying wing back step up to fill the void

Cian O’Sullivan ensured that Dublin did not miss Rory O’Carroll in the Allianz Football League final against Kerry. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Despite setbacks Jim Gavin’s team continues to press on while their main rivals stall

Justin McCarthy has managed both Clare and Waterford who clash this Sunday in the Allianz Hurling League final. Photo: Inpho

Despite proximity to Munster clash, Clare and Waterford will go all out in league final

Trevor Giles says Dublin’s dominance is undermining football’s appeal. Photograph: Inpho

All-Ireland winner with Meath says it’s hard to envisage Gavin’s team being beaten

Tyrone’s Seán Cavanagh in action during his side’s victory over Cavan in the Allianz League Division Two final. Photograph: Inpho

Mickey Harte’s team unbeaten on their way back to the top and are now poised in Ulster

Kerry’s Aidan O’Mahony receives a red card for a challenge on Dublin’s Jonny Cooper during the Allianz Football League Division 1 Final at Croke Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Aidan O’Mahony’s red card saw Dublin’s side pull away in final quarter at Croke Park

All Star defender Paul Murphy is being deployed at centre forward by Kerry for their league final against Dublin at Croke Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

With Croke Park nearly sold out league finalists will have perfect stage for summer rehearsal

Antrim’s Michael McCann in action against Tyrone’s Padraig McNulty. McCann has been prominent in the county’s unbeaten league run to date. Photograph: Jonathan Porter/Presseye/Inpho

New sense of unity in the county, as they prepare to take on Louth in Croke Park

The Tyrone team line up for a Division Two league match against Armagh. The county have not won an Ulster title for six year. Photograph: Matt Mackey/Inpho/Presseye

Evolution of championship formats is inexorably removing element of surprise

Kilkenny manager Brian Cody: “There has to be a sense that everyone can make this team.” Photograph: Inpho

Kilkenny have qualified for playoffs for 15th time during Cody’s 18-year tenure

Seán Cavanagh, who will lead Tyrone against Cavan on Sunday week, takes a step back in time in Croke Park. Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Tyrone captain and great drops strong hint this could be his last intercounty season

Roscommon and Kerry players leave the pitch in Croke Park. We know  trying to replicate some sort of league format during the summer just won’t attract support. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Truly competitive football season set for its annual break for about three months

Waterford goalkeeper Stephen O’Keeffe bravely stops Anthony Nash’s penalty in the 2014 Munster championship quarter-final replay. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Waterford goalkeeper believes advantage remains firmly with the striker

Dublin’s Barney Rock tackles Kerry’s Tom Spillane in the 1987 National Football League final: the Dubs beat a much-fancied Kingdom team. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Barney Rock recalls some very colourful moments from National League 29 years ago

Dublin eased past Donegal at Croke park to reach the Allianz League final. Photograph: Inpho

All-Ireland champions produce accurate and dominant display in Allianz League semi

Kieran Donaghy: has strengthened Kerry’s options around centrefield during the league campaign. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho

Unbeaten Dublin poised to reach yet another league decider

Former Kerry player Eoin Brosnan is adamant that it’s still better to be involved at the end of the season. Photo: Inpho

Careers in football are short so win what you can says former All-Ireland winner

Roscommon county ground Hyde Park’s surface is badly in need of work. Photograph: James Crosbie/Inpho.

A new surface at Hyde Park and developing centre of excellence priorities for county

Jim Gavin’s Dublin are on the trail of a fourth successive league win, a feat achieved only twice before in football. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Donegal have it all to do against Dublin as Kerry will put it up to Roscommon

Clare’s David Reidy tackled by Seamus Callanan of Tipperary during their Allianz League clash. Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Tipp again fail to make winningposition count in one point loss at Cusack Park

Roscommon host the reigning All-Ireland champions Dublin this Sunday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Sean Moran looks at the final round of games as the battle for promotion and safety hots up

Kilkenny’s Richie Hogan and Darragh Ó Connell of Dublin in action during their Allianz Hurling League Division 1A match  Nowlan Park, Kilkenny. Photograph: Inpho

Allianz Hurling League previews: Galway have the edge over Cork in relegation play-off

Dublin’s Chris Sallier scores a goal against Laois in the Under-21 Leinster football championship semi-final in March. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

County target sixth Leinster title in last eight years

 Joe Canning cuts a dejected figure after Galway’s loss to Kilkenny. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Former manager stresses team can only be judged on performance during summer

Crossmaglen Rangers’ and Armagh’s Joe Kernan plays a major role in the club’s story. Photograph: Eric Luke

Crossmaglen Rangers documentary highlights difficulties club faced during The Troubles

lThe Dublin before their Allianz Football League Division One match against Donegal at Croke Park. Photograph: Inpho

Champions aiming to become first team to do so in top flight in eight years

Dublin’s James McCarthy clashes with Donegal’s Martin McElhinney at Croke Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Move by disciplinary body would mean player is being charged with intent to gouge

Tempers flare during the second half of the Dublin v Donegal game at Croke Park  that led to to both Donegal’s Michael Murphy and Dublin’s James McCarthy to be sent off for  receiving second yellow cards. Photograph:  Donall Farmer/Inpho

Champions finally wear the visitors defensive set-up down in the second half

Mayo manager Stephen Rochford. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho

Cathal Barrett, Conor Loftus and Evan Regan to start on Sunday

Roscommon’s Ultan Harney in action against Monaghan’s Drew Wylie on the opening day of the league season – the Connacht side’s only defeat. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho

Allianz League meeting offers McStay’s men the chance to deepen Mayo’s troubles

‘He hasn’t just picked names; he’s picked a great squad of players and a balance’

Cork’s Stephen Cronin tackles Kerry’s Barry John Keane during last year’s Munster senior football championship. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Rebels can end any relegation fears with a home victory over struggling Down

Goalkeeper Niall Morgan replaces Mickey O’Neill in the Tyrone team to play Armagh. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

A win over Monaghan in Clones will see Éamonn Fitzmaurice’s side advance

 The GAA is calling on members of all its clubs and members of the public to join them in Croke Park on Sunday April 24th for the 1916 Rising commemorative event. Photo: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Significant detail ought to be included in Croke Park’s 1916 commemorative event

Clare’s David McInerney and Tom Morrissey of Limerick in action during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1B match at Cusack Park in Ennis. Photograph: Mike Shaughnessy/Inpho

TJ Ryan’s side condemned to a seventh season in Division 1B after defeat in Ennis

John McGrath: has caught the eye in Tipperary’s attack during the league. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Seán Moran

John Power starts for Kilkenny in their Allianz Hurling League clash against Dublin at Nowlan Park on Sunday. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Cork make just one change for Tipperary game; James Barry named full back for Premier County

Ballyboden St Enda’s manager Andrew McEntee celebrates with Conal Keaney after their victory over Castlebar Mitchels in the AIB Club Football Final at Croke Park. Phoograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

All-Ireland winning manager critical of GAA’s decision not to lift Declan O’Mahoney’s ban

Ballyboden St Enda’s celebrate their AIB All-Ireland Club SFC win over Castlebar Mitchels at Croke Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

A comprehensive display from Dublin side leaves outclassed Castlebar deflated

Stephen Rochford is the latest to take up Mayo’s  quest, which at times makes the pursuit of the Holy Grail appear half-hearted. Photograph: Andrew Paton/inpho

Stephen Rochford has struggled in first league but path to recovery isn’t always linear

“There are a lot of similarities in some of the stuff from a strength and conditioning and preparation point of view. Things that jumped out of me compared to our own game is obviously the stop-start nature of the game, but [also] the complete and utter explosiveness of the game, and there’s no wasted energy.”

At the launch of the ‘Toughest Trade’, Mayo star makes case against new move

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald: his team will renew their big rivalry with Limerick. Photograph: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Home side must win in Ennis as Limerick have edge in scoring difference

Kieran Donaghy of Kerry gets away from Cathal Carolan and Colm Boyle in Castlebar. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho

Connacht champions punished for wide tally and missed goal chances by the Kingdom

Dublin goalkeeper Stephen Cluxton will start against Down in Newry.

Jim Gavin makes six changes, Colm Cooper will make his first start of the season for Kerry

As Monaghan’s most potent attacking player, Conor McManus has been targetted by opponents. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Down unlikely to be capable of halting Dublin’s winning ways

Kerry’s Alan Fitzgerald and Neil McGee of Donegal clash last weekend. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

McGee could still face Roscommon this weekend despite proposed ban

Niall Kelly: “Ah, there definitely was a bit of lull after the Kerry defeat.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Lilywhites are unbeaten after four games as they look to rebuild

 Tony Kelly at Croke Park flanked by ‘Irish Volunteers’ William Nortley and Adam Cahill as the GAA announced plans for the 1916 Rising event at Croke Park. Photo:  Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Clare’s 2013 Hurler of the Year says he is unlikely to return in time for the league

‘Irish Volunteers’ Adam Cahill and William Northey with Kildare’s Niall Kelly and Clare’s Tony Kelly at the announcement of the 1916 commemorative event at Croke Park. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Major event to coincide with Allianz football finals at Croke Park on April 24th

“What we wanted to do was encapsulate that spirit so from the beginning to the end everybody sitting in the stadium will be part of the show” Photograph: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

“It will be very much about celebrating the Irish flag and celebrating GAA history”

One of several unseemly incidents between Kerry and Donegal players during last weekend’s clash at Austin Stack Park in Tralee. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

As Tralee last weekend proved, Seán Ó Síocháin’s plea of 50 years ago is still relevant

Waterford’s Barry Coughlan in action against Dan McCormack and John McGrath of Tipperary during their Allianz League Division One A match. Photo: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Tipperary caught at the end for a second consecutive match after thrilling finish

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