Down’s Donal O’Hare: “It’s just a thing that has been going around the county, that people haven’t wanted to play. But the 30 people who are there at the minute opted to play for the county and I think there is no better feeling in the world than wearing your county colours.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Win or lose against Roscommon, thoughts will soon shift to the Ulster championship

James McCarthy was forced to undergo surgery at the end of last season to repair a damaged groin muscle. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Dublin defender says league has been a bonus but the focus is now on winning it

Conor O’Sullivan has opted out of the Cork senior hurling panel. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Management confirm that Sarsfields defender will not be involved for the foreseeable future

Martin Fagan ran inside the marathon qualification time for the 2016 Olympic Games during a race in Zurich. Photogrph:  Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Marathon runner secures Rio qualification time in Switzerland

Ireland’s Martin Fagan has made the qualifying time for the Rio Olympic Games after running a time of      2:16:09 at the Zurich marathon in his first race back after a two-year ban for doping. Photo:  Cyril Byrne/The Irish Times

Irish athlete runs 2:16:09 in first marathon back after serving two-year doping ban

The Rio Olympics: only 475 days to go and each one of those will count for aspiring Irish athletes

Athletes face uphill task with many events demanding better times than Irish record

“I’m lucky in that I’m part of a great team in St Vincent’s and a great team with Dublin over the last three or four years.” – Diarmuid Connolly. photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Dublin and St Vincent’s forward not dwelling too much on the past ahead of new campaign

Dublin hurler Mark Schutte in his Cuala club colours.

Hurler ready to make up for lost time after last year’s injury woe

Alan Cadogan returns at corner forward for Cork in their Allianz Hurling League semi-final against Dublin on Sunday. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Alan Cadogan, Mark Ellis and Stephen McDonnell return for Nowlan Park encounter

GAA director general Páraic Duffy says naming rights to Croke Park are unlikely to be sold. Photograph: Norman McCloskey/Inpho

DG says GAA may be open to deal, but it will not happen not during his tenure

 Michael Cahill in action for Tipperary against Kilkenny in last year’s All-Ireland final. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Allianz Hurling League semi-final against Waterford may come too soon for defender

Tributs have flowed in following the death of Dave Billings. Photograph: Inpho

Deep shock at the death of former Dublin selector and ’Gaelic games evangelist’

 Mark English, seen here winning the silver medal in the 800m at the 2015 European Indoor Athletics Championships, needs to run quicker than 1:45.80 to qualify for the Rio Olympics. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Men’s marathon standard of 2:17 a little quicker than expected

 Noel Connors tries to block down Cork’s Patrick Horgan. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Decies have best defensive record of any team in league this season

 Ryan O’Dwyer says he will always be known as a Tipperary hurler playing for Dublin. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

New manager Ger Cunningham is also an import into the set-up

Tiger Woods was one of the first professional golfer to make efforts on fitness and weight. Photograph: Reuters.

While some people like to take a stand against putting horses health at risk, perhaps they should spare a thought for the jockeys (...)

Main change in hurling sees just one player in goal to face a penalty

Wicklow manager Johnny Magee laments loss of experienced players. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

County finished joint-bottom of Division Four after losing to London on last day

Colm O’Driscoll: one of three brothers in the Cork line-up for Sunday’s semi-final against Donegal at Croke Park

Monaghan name unchanged side for another tilt against Dublin

Kerry manager Eamonn Kelly: “I would think that if a team wins their league outright they should be promoted, automatically, same as they would in every other league.”

Eamonn Kelly’s side now required to beat Antrim to seal promotion to Division 1B

Brian O’Driscoll (right) played for the Cork senior side in this year’s Allianz Football League. Photograph: James Crosbie/Inpho.

Family affair as Brother wants to again follow in his older siblings’ footsteps

Monaghan manager Malachy O’Rourke’s focus for the training camp has changed after their 11-point loss to Dublin. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Presseye/Inpho

Malachy O’Rourke’s side preparing for Allianz League semi-final after last week’s defeat

Donegal under-21 captain Ryan McHugh and Tyrone under-21 captain Kieran McGeary, who was part of the Tyrone side to last win an underage title. Photograph: Presseye/Darren Kidd/Inpho

Tyrone seeking a first Ulster final win since 2006, while Donegal last won in 2010

Conor Gillespie, who is back for Meath after a long spell on the sidelines. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Conor Gillespie believes county played best football in their division

Maxim Iglinskiy of Astana, who tested positive for EPO. Photoraph: Michel Krakowski/AFP/Getty Images

Ruling on Astana ban will show how much has changed since McQuaid’s term at UCI

Back in harness: the return of Jonathan Sexton (centre, against Bayonne) to the European Champions Cup  should strengthen Racing Metro in Sunday’s quarter-final. Photograph: Iroziroz Gaizka/AFP/Getty Images

Saracens in good nick too, and could be the one English club to progress to semi-finals

 Pat McQuaid, the former head of UCI, cycling’s world governing body.

An unrepentant former head of international cycling trenchantly defends his legacy in a sport dogged by doping controversies

Leighton Glynn celebrates with the trophy after the victory over Australia at Metricon Stadium, Gold Coast in 2011. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Former Armagh boss says representing country remains a huge honour for players

Aogan O’Fearghail: “There are far more good things in Gaelic football than negative things, absolutely no doubt about that.” Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

GAA president contradicts Mickey Harte and says entertainment still central to the game

Joe Kernan won an All-Ireland football title in his first year in charge of Armagh. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Former Armagh boss set to oversee November Test against Australians

Waterford hurling manager Derek McGrath is planning for the future

Two even divisions of six teams would serve the game of hurling better, according to McGrath

Geoffrey Kipsang Kamworor of Kenya  wins at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang, China. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

The event is dying a death, with numbers of participants declining each year

 Jason Smyth celebrates  wining the 200m T13  final during the London 2012 Paralympic Games. He received €40,000 from the Irish Sports Council. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Twenty athletes receive the €40,000 “podium” amount

European indoord silver medalist Mark English missed out on full podium funding. Photograph: Inpho

Katie Taylor and Robert Heffernan will also benefit from Irish Sport Council International carding scheme

Tipperary’s Cathal Barrett: “It would be nice to win the league final. Winning is a habit, and you can keep believing, following through in Munster, and the championship.” Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Defender says driven Clare boss helped him come to prominence in the Fitzgibbon Cup

Ireland’s Rob Heffernan finished fourth in the 2012 Olympics but may be upgraded and given the bronze medal.  Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Russian Sergei Kirdyapkin won the 50km walk at the 2012 London Olympics

Henry Shefflin’s decision to call time – at the age of 36, with a record 10 All-Ireland medals, 13 Leinster titles, 11 All Stars, six League titles – has been coming. Photograph: INPHO/James Crombie

One of the greatest players in the history of hurling will bow out in Kilkenny on Wednesday

Ciaran Kilkenny of Dublin in action against  Keith Higgins and Patrick Durcan of Mayo in the Allianz Football League. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

Dublin forward says long absence has made him appreciate game a lot more

Galway’s Damien Comer: “You’d the high of the U-21 on Saturday, then go out with the seniors and another loss . . .” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Galway’s Damien Comer one of a select band juggling commitments to their county

Eoghan O’Gara will miss the season for Dublin with a cruciate ligament injury. Photograph: Alan Betson / The Irish Times

Cruciate ligament injury is ‘very disappointing’ for the player

An RTE documentary charts John Joe Nevin’s return to boxing. Photograph: Inpho

An RTE documentary show’s Nevin’s return to boxing after breaking both of his legs

Kilkenny’s TJ Reid: The Ballyhale Shamrocks captain is willing to come back into the Kilkenny side for a relegation playoff. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Dublin need a win or a draw against Galway to see them through to knock-outs

Clare hurler Davy O’Halloran told The Irish Times that he and team-mate Nicky O’Connell felt “humiliated” by the treatment he received from Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald.  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Management and players say disciplinary issue ‘is now closed’ following St Patrick’s Day meeting

Slaughtneil’s Christopher McKaigue tries to outrun the challenge of Corofin’s Micheál Lundy during the AIB All-Ireland Club Senior Football Final at Croke Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Former Crossmolina All-Ireland winner becomes first to win as manager of a different club

Slaughtneil’s Christopher McKaigue dives to try and block Corofin’s Michael Lundy during yesterday’s All-Ireland club football final at Croke Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

No way back for Slaughtneil once Michael Lundy fired over three quickfire points

Joey Holden (right) in action against Dan Currams of Kilcormac/Killoughey in the AIB Leinster Club Senior Hurling  Final at  O’Moore Park in  Portlaoise. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Ballyhale Shamrocks defender has sharpened his game against some of the best

High fielding has been one of the highlights of Johnny Buckley and his  Kerry team-mates. Photograph:   Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Dr Crokes player relishing full run in a league campaign

Clare win overshadowed by circumstances of Davy O’Halloran and Nicky O’Connell exit from squad

Ireland’s Mark English is interviewed on his return home from winning silver at the European indoors in Prague. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

With the race for fitness ever-dominant real athletes are being overlooked

Dublin’s Niall Corcoran says inconsistency has been a trait of their game in recent years but it is something they are trying to rectify. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Defender Niall Corcoran says they “forgot to bring the shovel to work” against Cork

Former soccer player David Bentley, hurler Jackie Tyrell and Gaelic footballer Aaron Kernan are the focus of The Toughest Trade. Photograph: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile.

A TV documentary sees two GAA stars exchange roles for soccer and baseball

Mark English celebrates winning a silver medal in the men’s European Indoor 800m final, in which he ran a tactically perfect race. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

The single-minded 21-year-old’s priority is the World Championships in the summer

Mark English felt he could catch Thijmen Kupers “once he timed it right”. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

The 21-year-old puts strong finish down to “big well of energy” he felt in the last 150m

Mark English dips on the line for a second place and qualification for Sunday’s 800m European Indoor Final. Photograph: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

Beaten across the line by Britain’s Guy Learmonth but second place finish enough

Ireland’s Declan Murray qualifies from his heat of the Men’s 800m as Poland’s Karol Konieczny and Austria’s Andreas Rapatz fall on the line. Photograph: Inpho

Must finish in top two to reach the European Indoor 800m final and emulate Seb Coe

Britain’s Jenny Meadows has run four of the five quickest 800m times in the world this season

Doping records casts dark shadow of doubt over successful Russian athletes

Mark English is expected to make it through Friday’s 800m heat where he may attempt to run from the front. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

800m runner has final hopes as do several other Irish competitors in Prague

Paul Galvin, at 35, will hope to have a positive impact on the Kerry football team after his decision to come out of retirement. Photograph: James Crosbie/Inpho

Retired Limerick midfielder John Galvin believes the Kerry forward has much to offer

Galway manager Anthony Cunningham: his charges host All-Ireland champions Kilkenny on Sunday. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Star recovering from broken finger but Fergal Moore fit to face Kilkenny

Ryan Wylie of UCD with Conor McHugh of DCU in the Sigerson Cup semi-final. McHugh features in Dublin’s U21 squad. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Most notable absentee is Cormac Costello, one of the standout players from last year

Paul Galvin: will add considerable experience to manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice’s already formidable panel. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

The 2009 Footballer of the Year returns to All-Ireland champions’ panel

From the start of this summer’s championship, all counties will be required to submit their team of 15 players, plus 11 further panel members (26 in total) no later than 9am on the Thursday before a weekend game. Photograph: Inpho.

Mickey Harte and Pete McGrath critical of tidying up of existing rule

Westmeath manager Tom Cribbin: “The lads have massive respect for him [Gerry Duffy].” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Advisers include former British Olympic nutritionist Barry Murray

Kerry forward Colm Cooper: ruptured his anterior cruciate ligament of his right knee and he’d also torn the posterior cruciate ligament and fractured the kneecap. Photograph: Inpho

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice says he’s reluctant to put another date on return

Kerry’s Anthony Maher and David Moran contest a high ball with Shane Carty and Cian O’Sullivan of Dublin in Sunday’s match in Killarney. Photograph: INPHO/Cathal Noonan

Sunday’s defeat was a setback in Dublin’s quest for a third league title

Tempers flare between the players during the final moments of the Kerry v Dublin game at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Kingdom out-score visitors in second half to gift captain Kieran Donaghy a happy birthday

Kilkenny’s Dara Kervick has a decent chance of making the final at the European indoor athletics championships in Prague next weekend. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/The Irish Times

English is best contender for a medal at the European athletics indoor championships

Dublin’s Conal Keaney sporting a head injury after last weekend’s Allianz Hurling League victory over Kilkenny at Nowlan Park.  Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Ex-ref John Devine supports proposed blood-sub rule for suspected head injury victims

Clare’s Podge Collins: “We’re just concentrating now on Sligo, hopefully getting two points there, and just pushing on from that.” Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Clare man has no regrets about leaving hurling panel to focus on big ball game

Dublin’s Conor McHugh: man-of-the-match in last year’s under-21 football championship final. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Wexford and Laois play for chance to meet All-Ireland champions

Mayo’s Keith Higgins in action against Kerry’s Kieran Donaghy in last year’s All Ireland SFC semi-final replay. The cornerback admits his side were “very bitter, very sore” over the defeat. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Captain wants the players to keep taking responsibilty under the new management

Mark English has been combining his athletics preparations with his third year of medical studies at UCD. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

800m runner confident of place on podium after last summer’s exploits

Announcement of the Irish Team for the European Indoor Athletics Championships in Prague - Ciara Everard, Declan Murray, Mark English and Dara Kevrick. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

UCD student one of nine individual qualifiers for Championships in Prague on Friday week

Cork’s Aidan Walsh gets away from Domhnall O’Donovan and Bobby Duggan of Clare. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s charges bounce back from Kilkenny defeat in fine style

Henry Shefflin: “I’ve been going well, and feeling good in the club campaign.” Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Kilkenny legend to reveal his future plans after club final against Kilmallock

Kildare’s former star Dermot Earley: “I just think the way is gone, it’s now 24/7, so I can’t see players doing it for more than seven, eight years. That would be the max.”  Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Ever-increasing commitment taking its inevitable toll on the top players

 Mutaz Barshimof  Qatar fails to clear a world record attempt at 2.44 meters in the Alkermes men’s high jump event during the AIT International Arena Grand Prix at Athlone Institute of Technology International Arena. Photograph: Sportsfile

Jamaica’s Asafa Powell pulls out of event with a groin injury sustained while warming up for the 60 metres

Jamaican sprinter Asafa Powell has come to Athlone as he prepares for the World Championships in Beijing later this summer. Photograph: Matt Browne/ Sportsfile

Former world record holder wants to make up for lost time after 2013 ban

 Conor McHugh of DCU: his side will take on   UCD in the first of Friday’s Sigerson Cup semi-final. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Forward happy to juggle Sigerson Cup, Dublin and Na Fianna commitments

Asafa Powell: headlines a meet in Athlone that also includes American sprinter Carmelita Jeter plus the world’s leading high jumper  Mutaz Barshim. Photo: Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Athletics Ireland’s Ciarán Ó Catháin defends decision to invite formerly banned sprinter

Bryan Cullen: the former Dublin captain and now Leinster rugby strength and conditioning coach highlights recovery time as the main difference between the two codes. Photograph: Inpho

Now working with Leinster rugby the former Dublin captain has no regrets over retirement

U21 ambassador and former Galway footballer Micheal Meehan. Photograph:  Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Former Galway captain is optimistic for his county’s future and hopeful for his return

DIT’s Tommy Doyle battles with Paul Flaherty of LIT during their Fitzgibbon Cup round two clash. DIT now face Mary Immaculate in the quarter-final. Photograph: Inpho

DJ Carey’s side fielded an ineligible player against Mary Immaculate College

Corofin’s Liam Silke fends off  Diarmuid Connolly during his side’s win over St Vincent’s, ending their 28 month unbeaten run. (Photograph: INPHO/Donall Farmer)

28 month unbeaten run comes to an end as Galways champions reach All-Ireland club final

John Treacy in action in 1979

John Treacy’s marathon loss came a day after Mike Tyson’s sensational defeat

Jackie Tyrrell: “The players are there. It’s just about finding them, getting them up to speed, taking some of that leadership and driving it on.” Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Cats may be in transition but Kilkenny veteran enjoying the game as much as ever

There have been a number of proposals to entend the black card into hurling. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Talk of opening all county grounds to other sports and motion to remove hooter system

Kieran Mulvey, Chairman, Irish Sports Council says that increased funding will increase participation and enhance high performance - A total of €8.16m will be invested in 22 Performance Plans which will support Ireland participation at the 2016 Rio Olympic and Paralympic Games. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

€19.6 million figure thanks largely to the special Rio Olympic-cycle funding

 Brian Cody celebrates with JJ Delaney after Kilkenny beat Tipperary in the All-Ireland final. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Kilkenny manager admits Delaney’s decision to quit took him by surprise

Brian Cody celebrates at the final whistle after Kilkenny beat Tipperary in last year’s All-Ireland hurling final repay in Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Kilkenny manager confident his panel will be ready for the challenges ahead

Eileen O’Keeffe competing in the hammer at the Beijing Olympics in 2008. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Surely we can find one propping machine who might fancy their Olympic chances

GAA’s annual report for 2014 showed hurling championship income outstripping football championship income for the first time.

Annual financial report for 2014 shows capital netting more than the other combined 31 counties

New Dublin hurling manager Ger Cunningham. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho.

Capital’s hurling coach’s decision to leave is ‘disappointing’ but understandable, according to manager Ger Cunningham

The GAA Finance Report Media Briefinghas shown that Hurling gate receipts in 2014 were higher than those of football. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

GAA’s financial report has shown Central Council’s total revenue for 2014

Paudie O’Brien with his club and county team-mate  Graeme Mulcahy: “We’ve watched Portaferry, and have a huge respect for them,” says O’Brien. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Munster champions aware of the traditional big threat Ulster winners pose

Jim Gavin at Parnell Park for the unveiling of Britvic Ireland as the new official hydration partners of Dublin GAA in a three-year deal. Photo: Paul Mohan

Lessons of last summer’s shock defeat to Donegal still being processed in the camp

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