Killian Young: “Preparation has now gone very professional, and where it’s all going to stop, nobody know.” Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Defender would like to enjoy one particular aspect of professionalism – the rest

Ger Aylward scores a goal against Wexford. “Never any doubt in my mind that he would play at some stage,” says Richie Hogan. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Riche Hogan says injuries held back a player whose talent was never in doubt

Conor McDonald battles for the sliotar during the Leinster Senior Hurling Championship semi-final. Photo: James Crombie/INPHO

Forward focused on Cork after taking Nowlan Park drubbing on chin

Éamonn Fitzmaurice has ruled Paul Galvin out of Sunday’s Munster football final at Fitzgerald stadium, Killarney. Photo: James Crombie/INPHO

Former footballer of the year short of match fitness

Kieran Martin and Ger Egan celebrate Westmeath’s thrilling win over rivals Meath. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Dublin will be overwhelming favourites when counties clash in Leinster final

Richie Hogan: “We were totally blown away . . .Galway just came with, and they do it every couple of years, an attitude that they would beat all the teams in the country put together.” Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Leinster final hammering in 2012 still rankles with the Hurler of the Year

A big step forward for women’s representative body

Kildare manager John Ryan reacts late on in their defeat to Dublin. Photo: James Crombie/INPHO

Seán Moran, Malachy Clerkin and Gavin Cummiskey look at the weekend’s action

Kieran Martin of Westmeath celebrates at the final whistle after his side’s victory over Meath in the Leinster SFC semi-final at Croke Park. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Inspirational Kieran Martin helps midlanders to first-ever championship win over Meath

Meath’s goalkeeper Paddy O’Rourke was given a red card for this collision with Kieran Martin. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Westmeath’s hero Kieran Martin always felt comeback was possible

Galway’s Jason Flynn will be back for the Leinster final. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Forward broke his finger after the 13-point victory over Dublin

Dr Una May, Irish Sports Council’s Anti-Doping director:  “Regardless of what level players are playing at doping is banned.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Monaghan’s Thomas Connolly used the same substance athlete Ben Johnson availed of

Monaghan players were not informed by their county board of the new anti-doping sanctions

Chairman confirms he received Croke Park email on updated doping procedures but never saw it

Jonny Cooper: “Jim has shown he plays players by form. And that the lads aren’t picked on reputation.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

O’Carroll, O’Sullivan and Macauley all fit and pressing for starting roles against Kildare

Laois’s Brendan Quigley  is tackled by Kildare’s Emmet Bolton and Eoghan O’ Flaherty. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

‘It’s going to be a big, big challenge for us’ says boss of overwhelming favourites Dublin

 Martin O’Reilly scores Donegal’s  second goal against Armagh. Oisín McConville can’t see Derry stopping Rory Gallagher’s side either. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Presseye/Inpho

Armagh legend says it’s becoming the most predictable championship ever as big four march on

Oisín McConville: “I had a fair idea that he [Thomas Connolly, who got a two-year suspension for doping] was going to be made an example of and that’s a pity.” Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Oisín McConville, JJ Delaney warn GAA players need to be treated with care

Pundit JJ Delaney will be analysing the Leinster SHC match between Galway and Laois live on Sky Sports this Saturday.   Photograph:  Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Legendary defender says Wexford’s Ciarán McDonald one of best full forwards around

Monaghan’s Thomas Connolly has been banned for two years for testing positive for anabolic steroids. Photograph: Inpho

Monaghan footballer given two year ban after testing positive for anabolic steroids

Tomás Ó Sé: “They just seem like a team if you get on top of them very early they’ve no Plan B and they’ll just lie down.” Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Five-time All Star and Kerry legend says Rebels seem to lack leaders and an adequate Plan B

Monaghan’s Thomas Connolly has been handed a two-year ban after testing positive for the banned anabolic steroid Stanozolol. Photograph: Inpho

23-year-old tested positive for banned anabolic steroid Stanozolol in February

Dublin defender Ger Brennan has yet to recover from injury. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

O’Carroll, O’Sullivan and Bastick expected back for Dublin's semi-final against Kildare

Meath’s Graham Reilly scores a goal against Wicklow at Páirc Tailteann: “If Dublin run through the middle of us – if we do manage to get to a Leinster final – we’re going to get kicked out of Croke Park again.” Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Big attendance at Thurles shows Premier County are moving in the right direction

Galway’s Fiontán Ó Curraoin and Mayo’s Cillian O’Connor become involved in a  scuffle late in Sunday’s Connacht semi-final at Pearse Stadium. Photo: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Like Donegal’s Michael Murphy, Mayo’s towering figure causing plenty of problems for defenders

 Mayo footballers, senior Cillian O’Connor, minor Barry Duffy, and Kilkenny hurlers, minor Tommy Walsh and senior Michael Fennelly at the launch of the Electric Ireland All-Ireland minor championshhips at Croke Park. Photo: Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Troublesome lower back problem may curtail Kilkenny ace’s role at Nowlan Park

 Paul O’Connell has signed for Toulon, the Top 14 club have confirmed.

Ireland captain signs two-year deal with Top 14 side

Mayo beat rivals Galway in front of a packed Pearse Stadium on Sunday. Photograph: Inpho

Seán Moran, Malachy Clerkin and Gavin Cummiskey with the weekend’s main talking points

Meath’s Graham Reilly scores against Wicklow. Photograph: Inpho

Johnny Magee’s side pass up golden opportunity for first win over Meath since 1957

Wes Hoolahan provided some much needed craft and guile during Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Scotland on Saturday. Photograph: Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey gives his verdict on Martin O’Neill’s men after their draw with the Scots

Steven Fletcher is sent flying by Marc Wilson during Ireland’s 1-1 Euro 2016 qualifier against Scotland. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland boss was left to rue his side’s slow start to the second half after a dominant first

“I can’t remember ever any manager telling me ‘This is the way to play for a draw’,” said Scotland boss Gordon Strachan.

Manager believes trust has helped to build team spirit in his squad

“I know the intensity and work rate is coming back,” says Davy Fitzgerald of his Clare hurling team. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Results in 2015 won’t decide future of 2013 All-Ireland winning manager

Colm Cooper returns to the Kerry starting XV for the first time since the 2013  All-Ireland semi-final defeat to Dublin. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Gifted forward to make first start for county since 2013 All-Ireland semi-final after knee injury

Following defeat to New Zealand Ireland will play Wales in the Under 20 World Cup knockout stages, with the winner progressing to the 5th place play-off. Photograph: Inpho

Nigel Carolan’s men can’t win the tournament after England booked last semis berth

Waterford hurling manager Derek McGrath is disappointed the Munster council’s live video ban has been implemented mid season. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Health and safety, in regards to cables, and cost cited as reasons for controls

England’s Jack Wilshere chases down Republic of Ireland striker David McGoldrick during the friendly international at the Aviva Stadium. Photo:  Paul Faith/AFP/Getty Images

Arsenal midfielder has all the tools to be key player in international game

Kildare’s Tommy Moolick celebrates scoring the equalising point in the Leinster SFC quarter-final at O’Connor Park in Tullamore. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Laois lack killer instinct as late Tommy Moolick point earns replay for Lilywhites

Highlanders assistant coach   Tony Brown  has emerged as the leading candidate to take over at Leinster next season. Photo:  Rob Jefferies/Getty Images

Former All Black outhalf credited with scintillating form of Highlanders’ backline

Dublin players after Under-21 championship defeat to Kilkenny. Inpho

Dublin’s inaccuracy ultimately hurt them against young ruthless cats

Galway’s Jonathan Glynn and Joe Canning tackle Dublin’s Conal Keaney at Croke Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Dublin-Galway clash set for Tullamore but Sky TV covering Laois versus Kildare game

It has been a mixed eight days for  hurling’s Cunningham clan. Photograph: Inpho

Seán Moran, Gavin Cummiskey and Malachy Clerkin with the main talking points from the weekend

Fermanagh’s Seán Quigley celebrates scoring a penalty in the Ulster SFC quarter-final game at Brewster Park in Enniskillen. Photo: John McVitty/Inpho/Presseye

Sending off of Antrim’s Seán McVeigh ruined an already poor match

Jim Gavin: “I wouldn’t like to think there is a precedent set by Tony O’Keeffe, the chairman of the CCC, in that it is acceptable that skilful players on our team and other teams can be physically targeted.” Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Manager unhappy over treatment meted out to Diarmuid Connolly which went unpunished

Peter O’Mahony has been ruled out of Munster’s Pro 12 final against Glasgow on Saturday. Photograph: Inpho

Hurley will captain province against Glasgow at Ravenhill with Zebo cleared fit to play

James McCarthy has been ruled out of Dublin’s clash with Longford on Sunday. Photograph: Inpho

James McCarthy ruled out of Longford clash while Rory O’Carroll remains a doubt

Ulster Rugby squad training at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast, ahead of their Pro12 semi-final against Glasgow at Scotstoun. Photograph: Brian Little/Inpho.

Everything will need to click for Neil Doak’s side to reach final at Glasgow’s expense

Kingspan Stadium, Belfast: would prove an intimidating home venue for Ulster in the final should they overcome Glasgow this weekend. Photograph: William Cherry/Presseye/Inpho

Rory Best expecting a massive effort from the visitors to Scotstoun Stadium

Tom Daly: Leinster academy player was sent by club to participate in Ireland’s Sevens programme but he said if given a choice, ‘I would have went for it’. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ireland’s Sevens programme begins next month – and team faces uphill battle to Rio

Connacht coach Pat Lam had set his sights on a top-six finish from very start. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho.

Ultimate goal of finishing in top six may elude coach Pat Lam

Ian Humphreys will start at outhalf for Ulster in their game away to Glasgow. Photo: Ian MacNicol/Inpho/Presseye

Neil Doak rests some key players ahead of play-off push

Colm O’Shea starts beside Noel Reid at centre in Matt O’Connor’s side’s final Pro12 match. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Centre given chance to impress in Edinburgh after team’s dismal showing against Treviso

Ian Madigan starts at outhalf for Leinster’s final Pro 12 game of the season away at Edinburgh. Photograph: Inpho

Colm O’Shea makes seasonal debut after All-Ireland league final defeat with Clontarf

Dublin’s Rory O’Carroll is a doubt for his side’s Leinster football quarter-final on May 31st while hurler Paul Ryan has criticised the new penalty system introduced at Congress. Photograph: Sportsfile

Dublin hurler Paul Ryan criticises new penalty format introduced at Congress

Dublin fullback Rory O’Carroll would not chance playing on if he were to suffer another head injury. Photo: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Head injury is a concern in all sports and Gaelic games is no different

Grace Davitt and Lynne Cantwell after Ireland’s remarkable defeat of the All Blacks in the 2014 World Cup. Photograph: Inpho

Ireland’s hosting of the competition shows how the sport has advanced

Irish Rugby ambassador Fiona Coghlan, Ireland Women head coach Tom Tierney,  IRFU chief executive Philip Browne and team captain Niamh Briggs at the announcement that Ireland will host the 2017 tournament. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Running costs of €3.5m expected with funding likely from North but not the State

Ulster’s Iain Henderson faces disciplinary hearing in Wales today after being sent off against Munster on Saturday. Photograph: Darren Kidd/Inpho/Presseye

Home semi-final for Ulster in Pro 12 still possible if results elsewhere go their way

Cian Healy has undergone surgery on a disk in his neck. Photograph: Inpho

27-year-old underwent surgery on a disk and remains a doubt for September’s World Cup

Gordon D’Arcy in action for Leinster against Treviso in his final home match for the province. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Gordon D’Arcy and Shane Jennings make final home appearances for the club

The black card: Leinster Council chairman John Horan says there were incidents in the All-Ireland Under-21 final that looked like they should have resulted in black cards. Photograph: Inpho.

John Horan says it is now becoming a source of debate

County captains at Farmleigh yesterday: Kildare’s Eamonn Callaghan, Donal Keegan of Meath, Paul McConway of Offaly, John O’Loughlin of Laois, Denis Bastick of Dublin, Kevin Diffley of Longford, Dean Healy of Wicklow, Ciaran Lyng of Wexford, Adrian Reid of Louth and Kieran Nolan of Carlow. Photograph: Inpho.

‘We’ll play and we’ve always played where we’re told to play,’ says Dublin manager

Former Donegal manager Jim McGuinness believes his county will overcome the challenge of Tyrone in Ballybofey. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Former Donegal manager enjoying his current role in the Celtic backroom team

 Jim McGuinness: “For me it’s a good opportunity to go on the other side.” Photo: Russell Pritchard/Presseye/Inpho

Broadcaster confident of increased viewing figures over new GAA championship season

Tyrone under-21 selector Peter Canavan doesn’t coach or condone cynical play. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

All-Ireland winning under-21 selector believes victory bodes well for county’s senior team

Tyrone’s Kieran McGeary keeps an eye on Paul Maher as the Tipperary man slides along the wet turf of Parnell Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Tyrone manager Fergal Logan refused entry to rival dressing room after gripping decider

Tipperary’s Paul Maher is tackled by Kieran McGeary of Tyrone. Photograph: Inpho

Red Hand hold on at Parnell Park to seal fourth U-21 All-Ireland title

A teenage Gordon D’Arcy at Ireland squad training in 1998. Photograph: Keith Heneghan/Inpho

Ireland centre delivered on rare ability in 2004 when he was named player of season

Gordon D’Arcy has announced he will retire after this year’s World Cup. Photograph: Inpho

35-year-old picked up 81 international caps and scored seven tries in 17-year career

Paul O’Connell launching  the new adidas Climachill Product Range in Dublin. “I really wish I had a bit more clarity for you.”  Photo: Billy Stickland/Inph

Legendary secondrow denies there is any move to Toulon on the cards

Paul O’Connell  launches the new adidas Climachill product range in  Dublin. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland captain admits ‘there is a part of me that would love to have the decision made for me’

Jamie Heaslip in training with the Leinster squad. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Inevitable that Matt O’Connor would make changes after loss to Toulon

Ian Madigan has been dropped for Leinster’s must win Pro 12 game against Ulster at Ravenhill. Photograph: Inpho

Gordon D’Arcy returns to take the number 12 jersey as Matt O’Connor makes four changes

Leinster’s Rob Kearney if tackled by Matt Giteau of Toulon during the European Champions Cup semi-final at Stade Velodrome, Marseille. Photograph: Billy Stickland.

Playing Ulster in Belfast a big test of character, says Rob Kearney

Tommy Bowe is happy to be back with Ulster after a spell with the Ospreys. Photograph: Inpho

Winger says he was happy to return home after spell in Wales took heavy toll on body

Toulon flanker Steffon Armitage  collides with Cian Healy during the European Champions Cup  semi final  in Marseille. Photograph: Boris Horvat/AFP/Getty Images

Leinster flanker was left with sour taste in mouth after breakdown battle with Toulon

Leinster head coach Matt O’Connor speaking to the press ahead of his side’s Pro12 clash with Ulster in Ravenhill. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Leinster coach says he has been honest with IRFU on issue

Leinster prop Marty Moore looks set to miss the rest of the season as he is due to undergo a second surgery this season on a shoulder injury. Photo:    Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Prop set for second operation since October on injury picked up against Toulon

Munster’s first Irish captain Jim McCarthy has passed away at the age of 91. Photo: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Cork native won 28 caps and was a member of the 1948 Grand Slam-winning side

Ulster and Leinster face off in Ravenhill this weekend. Photograph: Inpho.

Matt O’Connor’s men need wins, plenty of tries and other results to go their way

Bryan Habana vies for a high ball with Fergus McFadden, who is out for the rest of the season with a thumb injury. Photograph: Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty Images

Ireland winger has endured dismal season with thumb injury the latest setback

Ian Madigan’s fateful pass, which was intercepted for the Bryan Habana of Toulon’s extra-time try at the Stade Vélodrome. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

Maverick skills of Ian Madigan get lost in one moment of calamity

Steffon Armitage was the difference really. At least three textbook turnovers killed Leinster momentum.

Gavin Cummiskey assesses the performances of both sets of players as Toulon reach yet another final

Frédéric Michalak in action for Toulon against Wasps in the quarter-final of the European Champions Cup. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Toulon outhalf has resurrected a career that has long mixed the flaky with flawless

Leinster captain Jamie Heaslip directs play during their European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final victory over Bath at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photograph: Inpho

Leinster team to face Toulon at Stade Velodrome

Toulon’s Ali Williams dives to score a try against Wasps in their  European Rugby Champions Cup quarter-final at Stade Flix Mayol, Toulon. Photograph: Inpho

Toulon team to face Leinster at Stade Velodrome

Sean O’Brien returns to the Leinster starting line-up for Sunday’s Champions Cup semi-final against Toulon. Photograph: Inpho

Matt O’Connor goes with the same line-up as the quarter-final for Stade Velodrome clash

FAI chief executive John Delaney speaking at Croke Park, where Irish Sports Council Funding was announced for the FAI, IRFU and GAA for 2015. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

GAA, IRFU chiefs happy to answer questions on range of topics but not FAI counterpart

CEO for the IRFU speaks on camera at the Irish Sports Council Funding for FAI, IRFU and GAA for 2015 in Croke Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho.

Making live coverage exclusive to terrestrial television could potentially ruin Irish rugby

 Toulon’s Ali Williams in action against Wasps in their European Champions Cup quarter-final. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Lock says financial divide needs to be solved to avoid ruining international game

Leinster’s Fergus McFadden is set to return for the European Champions Cup semi final. Photo: Niall Carson/PA

‘We’ve been poor this year. We haven’t gelled together...It’s come down to 80 minutes’

Grenoble  flanker Rory Grice scores one of his side’s four tries against Toulon in their Top 14 35-24 defeat. Photograph: Jean-Pierre Clatot/AFP Photo

Grenoble coach believes Leinster can cause an upset in their Champions Cup semi-final

DUBIan Madigan’s kicks were crucial but can Leinster win without Johnny Sexton. Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Gopperth-Madigan-Te’o aren’t a poor trio, they just aren’t Sexton-D’Arcy-O’Driscoll

Mils Muliaina’s Connacht salary could have covered the cost of an astonishing 60 academy players. Photograph: Craig Thomas/Inpho

Fullback returns after injury-broken season for Challenge Cup quarter-final

Mike Ford:  Circuitous Rugby League career took him, by chance, to Ireland in January 2002. Photograph: Getty Images

Ireland’s former defensive coach the guiding influence with Champions Cup contenders

All Black legend has only made 10 appearances for Pat Lam’s side so far this season

Jordi Murphy is set to start for Leinster against Bath in the Champions Cup. Photograph: Inpho

Matt O’Connor set to start Heaslip, O’Brien and Murphy in Aviva Stadium Champions Cup game

Charles Piutau, seen here in  action for Auckland Blues in March, will join Ulster on a two-year deal from this summer. Photograph:   Michael Bradley/AFP/Getty Images

Versatile All Blacks and Auckland Blues back looking forward to moving to Belfast

Peter Stringer will leave Bath at the end of the season. Photograph: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Former Ireland scrumhalf will be involved at Aviva, says Bath coach

Republic of Ireland midfielder  Wes Hoolahan holds off the challenge of Poland’s  Tomasz Jodlowiec during the Euro 2016 Group D qualifying  at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey marks Martin O’Neill’s men out of ten after their late Euro qualifier draw

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