Exeter’s Gareth Steenson  takes on   Robbie Henshaw   and Cian Healy  of Leinster  at Sandy Park  last week: “This week it will be a different approach from Exeter,” Henshaw says. “They’re coming to play”. Photograph:  Stu Forster/Getty

Leinster centre commands precision as sleeves are rolled up to give forwards a dig out

Katie Taylor arrives home to Dublin Airport after successfully defending her lightweight title  against America’s Jessica McCaskill. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Bray boxer’s next WBA title defence may be against the experienced Argentinean

Irish hockey faces an expensive year with both teams in World Cup action in 2018. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Bríd Drohan-Stewart to help the association fine-tune their current approach

Jamie Heaslip says a return in  the new year would be “nice”. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Leinster number eight hoping for early new year return but knows it’s not a certainty

Taylor and McCaskill in action. Photo: Tim Goode/PA Wire

Bray boxer pushed all the way by Jessica McCaskill in York Hall but emerged unscathed

 Katie Taylor in action against  Anahi Sanchez  in her title-winning  WBA Lightweight bout  at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Photograph: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

World champion expected to beat Jessica McCaskill, but must be cautious

 Cian Healy takes on Matt Kvesic of Exeter Chiefs at Sandy Park. “I still feel there is a good bit more to come.” Photograph:  Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Leinster prop gives the game his all after surviving a career-defining scare in 2015

Ireland’s Jason Quigley has joined Dominic Ingle. Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The unbeaten Irish middleweight will relocate from Los Angeles to Sheffield

Leinster’s James Lowe has been registered for their Champions Cup clash with Exeter. Photo: Elena Barbini/Inpho

Flanker Rhys Ruddock to see specialist after injuring his hamstring in Sandy Park win

WBA lightweight world champion Katie Taylor with challenger Jessica McCaskill at the pre-fight press conference. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Bray boxer will put her lightweight belt on the line for the first time this Wednesday

TV3 unveils  its presentation team and panel for its coverage of the Six Nations 2018: presenter Joe Molloy, Alan Quinlan, Matt Williams, Shane Horgan, Shane Jennings and Ronan O’Gara. Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Incoming Crusaders coach says there is something special about being a one-club player

Ronan O’Gara will form part of TV3’s punditry team for the 2018 Six Nations. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

New Zealand-bound Ronan O’Gara among the punditry team for 2018 tournament

Munster’s Keith Earls and Dan Carter of Racing 92 at the European Rugby Champions Cup round 2 at Thomond Park, Limerick in October. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

The Moyross man is too comfortable in a Munster - and Ireland - shirt to give it all away

 Ireland outhalf Joey Carbery, who is an ambassador for Europcar Ireland, suffered the arm break while playing against Fiji last month. Photograph:   Naoise Culhane

Young Ireland outhalf’s involvement in Six Nations in doubt following bad break

OCI president Sarah Keane: “The board is uncomfortable with the situation. I think we’ve already come out and made our sentiments clear about that.” Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

International Olympic Committee insisting he is entitled to a place on the national board

Former OCI president Pat Hickey will remain on the board. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

News comes despite the executive committee not wanting Hickey to remain involved

Munster branding featuring  Peter O’Mahony, Simon Zebo and CJ Stander. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Munster duo have every right to prioritise their own future and that of their families

Pita Ahki: he will make his first start at outside centre for  Connacht as they travel to Italy. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

Coach Kieran Keane includes new signing Pita Ahki among his starting side

Darren Sweetnam: back in Munster colours following his return from international duty with Ireland.  Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

New coach Johan van Graan looking for a first home victory in the Pro14

Gary Ringrose:  he has not played in a competitive game since the Irish tour to Japan last summer. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Kiwi James Lowe to play first match for Leinster on left wing since moving from Chiefs

Ireland’s David Harte could pick up the World Goalkeeper of the Year award for a third time in as many years. Photograph: Freddie Parkinson/Inpho

‘This is the third year in a row for me and each year the feeling just increases’

Tommy Bowe scores Ulster’s opening try in the hard-fought victory over Benetton at Kingspan Stadium last week. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Veteran Ulster winger plays at centre tonight in what may be a sign of things to come

In 2018 the men play in the World Cup in India at the end of the year and will have a number of warm up events in preparation for that. Photograph: Jan Kruger/Getty Images for FIH

Things must change if Ireland is to qualify a competitive men’s and women’s team for Tokyo Olympics

Backrow Greg Jones will start for Ulster for the first time when they take on Dragons at Rodney Parade. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Home advantage and pride will hardly be enough for Bernard Jackman’s side

Joe Schmidt’s win ratio is at  70 per cent with Ireland. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Success against the other top nations is a standout feature of his time in charge

Dragons head coach Bernard Jackman: “I don’t want to go to Munster, Leinster and Ulster and get hammered but I have to take a medium- to long-term plan.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Determined coach says short-term pain is horrible but necessary to build a stronger side

 Ireland’s Rory Best with Santiago Garcia Botta of Argentina: Best has appeared only twice for Ulster  this season  due to a hamstring injury. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Jared Payne continues to suffer headaches since head injury on Lions’ tour in June

Ireland’s Adam Byrne eyes Argentina’s Joaquin Tuculet under the dropping ball. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

‘I just needed to stay focused on the game. It’s been incredible. I can’t wait to reflect on it’

Ireland’s Johnny Sexton shares a joke at the end of the game. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

With three wins from three, Ireland’s glass is half full after November series

Argentina’s Agustin Creevy during training ahead of the Guinness Series clash with Ireland. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

An experienced Pumas side look to spoil Ireland’s November series party in Dublin

Ireland’s Johnny Sexton at training ahead of the Test match with Argentina. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

James Ryan and Adam Byrne are set for debuts in a team made up of 14 changes

Argentina coach   Daniel Hourcade: “The top teams, you only surprise them once. Now it’s harder. That is our challenge.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Clash with Ireland comes at the end of a long, gruelling season for hard-pressed panel

Three Rock Rovers host Cookstown in the cup on Saturday and Cork C of I in the EY Irish Hockey League on Sunday.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Rathfarnham club in mourning following the death of stalwart Dorothea Findlater

Ireland’s Rob Kearney stands dejected at the end of their quarter-final defeat to Argentina at the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Irish fullback says World Cup quarter final can be learned from but not focused on

 Warren Gatland says he has spoken to Sean O’Brien about his comments about the Lions tour. Photograph: Harry Trump/Getty Images

The Tullow backrow questioned Gatland’s preparation leading into the first Lions Test

Ireland’s Ian Keatley kicks a penalty in their Guinness Series win over Fiji.  Photo: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

‘I remember saying to myself that this is probably the last time I will play for Ireland’

Ireland’s CJ Stander acts as scrum half during their Test win over Fiji at the Aviva stadium. Photo: Paul Walsh/Action Plus via Getty Images

‘I like this game, it is physical. If I didn’t love it, I would have played something else’

Ireland’s Joey Carbery leaves the field in pain with Dr Ciarán Cosgrove after fracturing his left forearm. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Carbery was originally though to have broken his arm before scans revealed a fracture

Fiji winger  Nemani Nadolo in action for Montpellier against Leinster. “Over the years I just worked on my power. I’ve finally discovered I’m a big boy.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Hulking back will be sticking to his tried and tested method: running straight into contact

Fiji’s lock Leone Nakarawa and Italy’s Sergio Parisse during their  test match at the Angelo Massimino Stadium in Catania, Italy,  on November 11th, 2017. Photograph: Miguel Medina/Getty Images

Olympic Sevens gold from Rio has given Fijians a greater belief in themselves

 Mitch Darling:  he has not featured in the Ireland  side since the 2016 Rio Olympics, having taken a break.  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Dutch games to mark return of Mitch Darling and Peter Carruth to 20-man squad

Ireland back  Kieran Marmion during Ireland’s victory over South Africa last weekend. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Connacht back likely to be given run out against Fiji and gain his 18th cap for Ireland

Katie Taylor  with her WBA lightweight belt which she won last month. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

‘If she’s as relentless in the ring as she is on social media it should be a great fight’

Brothers in arms: Rob Kearney and Bundee Aki at Saturday’s  Guinness Series clash with South Africa at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Rob Kearney and the team closed ranks around Bundee Aki during his baptism of fire

Rob Kearney during Monday’s Ireland rugby press conference at Carton House. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

‘Fiji rested a few guys at the weekend, so they’re eyeing it up in some shape or form’

Darren Sweetnam made his Ireland debut off the bench in Saturday’s opening autumn international against South Africa at the Aviva Stadium . Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Former Cork hurler hasn’t looked back since deciding on a rugby career

  Bundee Aki takes a picture with his   daughter Adrianna Aki and family members after the match. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

After all the debate over his inclusion Connacht's Aki hit the high notes on his debut

Rory Best training with the Ireland rugby squad at Carton House, Co Kildare. Photograph:  Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland captain knows South Africa will be a test of his leadership, performance and nerve

South Africa  coach Allister Coetzee: “We need to adapt and there will be challenges Saturday.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Three changes made to side that lost to All Blacks by a point in Rugby Championship

Michael Watt had a 10-year career which began against Poland in July 2006. Photograph: Inpho

Belfast native retires with 201 caps and record of sixth highest scorer for his country

Tadhg Furlong and Jack McGrath face of during a Lions training session. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

24-year-old’s stock keeps rising with chance to prove himself further against huge Springboks

Bundee Aki and Conor Murray during Ireland training ahead of the November Series opener against South Africa. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

New Zealand-born player has come under fire for recent selection in Ireland squad

Jonathan Sexton and Devin Toner in the Ireland huddle ahead of training on Tuesday. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Jack Conan, Tommy O’Donnell and Dan Leavy are carrying knocks ahead of Saturday

Springbok captain Eben Etzebeth shakes hands with  coach Alister Coetzee following the Rugby Championship match     between the All Blacks and the South African’s   on September 16th, 2017, in Auckland which  the  New Zealand side won 57-0.  Photograph:  Phil Walter/Getty Images

Joe Schmidt has watched South Africa wrestle with retaining talent in recent years

Three Rock Rovers prepare to host Monkstown as in-form Glenanne face Annadale

Joe Schmidt with Simon Zebo following the win over New Zealand in Chicago last November. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland coach says there is no hard and fast rule regarding players who move abroad

Ulster forward Iain Henderson launches Canterbury’s “Rising Strength” video series, at Queen’s University, Belfast. Photograph:  Darren Kidd/Inpho/Presseye

Forward whose contract expires at end of season has had offers from outside Ireland

Newly crowned WBA female world lightweight champion Katie Taylor during her homecoming press conference at the Irish Film Institute in Dublin. Photograph: Brian Lawless/PA

New champion has opted to fight again in December, possibly against Jessica McCaskill

Katie Taylor with manager Brian Peters (L) and promoter Eddie Hearn. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

New world champion likely to fight in London before Dublin homecoming next April

Ross Byrne at Leinster Rugby press conference.  Photograph:  ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry

In wake of Zebo’s exit, young Ireland squad members eye 2023 as rare opportunity

Johnny Sexton is available for Leinster’s Pro 14 clash with Glasgow. Photograph: Mark Runnacles/Getty

Seán O’Brien emerges from Ulster clash unscathed as Ryan and Reid undergo HIAs

Ireland and Munster scrumhalf Conor Murray at the launch of Vodafone’s “Who We Are is How We Play” campaign. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Scrumhalf says his friend should be given chance to play with Ireland in future

Dan Leavy: fit again and looking forward to pushing for a place in Joe Schmidt’s Ireland side. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Flanker fully recovered from ankle injury and looking forward to taking on Ulster

Benetton Treviso outhalf Ian McKinley in action against RC Toulon at the Monigo stadium in Treviso on October 21st. Photograph: Miguel Medina/Getty Images

Ireland outhalf expresses joy as former team-mate continues his rise after eye accident

Johnny Sexton scores Leinster’s third try in the European Rugby Champions Cup Round 2 game against Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun Stadium last Saturday. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Leinster leader says he has no plans to take up Ireland captaincy for World Cup 2019

Tom Humphries: ‘He had the capacity to both charm and eviscerate, be worldly and erudite and also spiteful and petty.’ Photographer: Dara MacDónaill

Convicted abuser was centrally involved in Michelle Smith controversy

Leinster centre Noel Reid says tackling technique is key when coming up against bigger men. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Noel Reid says side will be working hard to combat issue ahead of Ulster clash

 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing tackles steep and angry seas as they pass East Cape, the eastern-most point of New Zealand in 2015. Photograph: Ainhoa Sanchez/Volvo Ocean Race via Getty Image

"It’s terrifying. It’s so hard it’s going to make the Olympics the easiest thing in the world”

Tadhg Furlong: “I still haven’t won anything. That is one of the things that motivate you to keep performing.”

After a summer with the Lions, Furlong slotting back into the groove with Leinster

Ireland’s Maurice Elliot celebrates with Shane O’Donoghue during a Test match against Pakistan in June. Photo: Mervyn McClelland/Inpho

Hockey Ireland needs help in how to sell healthy, drug-free World Cup-qualified teams

Katie Taylor will fight on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s bout with Carlos Takam in Cardiff on Saturday October 28th. Photo: Emily Harney/Inpho

Bray boxer will take on Anahi Esther Sanchez for the WBA lightweight title

“OCI accepts that these contracts were enforceable as between the parties and that THG fully intended performing its contractual obligations,” said the OCI statement.

The cost of undoing the controversial deal with ticket reselling company not revealed

Guest speaker and former professional boxer Frank Bruno on stage at Croke Park in Dublin. Photograph:   Patrick Bolger/Getty Images for One Zero

Paul Merson, Hope Solo and AP McCoy among the contributors at One-Zero event

Barry Daly scores Leinster’s fourth try in the  Champions Cup victory over Montpellier at the RDS.  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Winger’s try count mounts as he grasps his Leinster opportunity with both hands

Girvan Dempsey: “What was massive for us is how the guys stepped up, particularly the young guys coming in.” Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Leinster in positive mood after young guns’ impressive display against Montpellier

USA boxing coach Billy Walsh at Sport Ireland HPX conference in Dublin.  Photograph: Diarmuid Greene

Billy Walsh lends advice to John Joe Nevin while Joe Schmidt disappoints at HPX event

Connacht’s John Cooney celebrates his try with Kieran Marmion last year. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Irish question is an intriguing back story to Pro14 clash between Connacht and Ulster

Conor Harte: (right)  in action for Racing Club de Bruxelles earlier this season. Photograph:  Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Ireland defender Conor Harte has captained the Belgian side this season

Marcell Coetzee’s time at Ulster so far has been constantly disrupted by injury. Photograph: Inpho

Ulster flanker has had various knee joint problems both before and since joining

Greystones golfer Paul Dunne  is congratulated by Shane Lowry on the final  day of the British Masters.  Photograph: Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Greystones golfer puts on a majestic show of courage and poise to see off Rory McIlroy

Nick Winkelman, the IRFU’s head of athletic performance and science: “Everyone has a ceiling in terms of what their capabilities are.” Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

IRFU head of athletic performance says decision making and physicality are ‘trainable’

 Andrew Trimble during training ahead of Ulster’s clash with Zebre. Player will captain the province for his record-matching 221st appearance. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Unbeaten province have 10 international players returning for clash against Zebre

Ireland’s Mark O’Donovan and Shane O’Driscoll celebrate winning gold at the 2017 World Rowing Championships in Sarasota, Florida. Photo: Detlev Seyb/Inpho

The three Skibbereen men lit up Sarasota in Florida to take home gold medals for Ireland

Connacht players during training ahead of their clash with Scarlets. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Province’s late collapse to Cardiff Blues last week yielded third defeat under new coach

Jonathan Bell of Ireland in action in Stormont.  File photograph: INPHO/Presseye/Rowland White

The first matches will finally be played in the national league after weeks-long standoff

Jonathan Sexton will start for Leinster on Friday at the RDS. Photograph: Ryan Byrne

He’s just nine points short of becoming the all-time highest Leinster points’ scorer

IRFU director of rugby  David Nucifora said the IRFU is  delighted to have got Joe Schmidt following intense pressure from New Zealand. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Ireland coach resisted enormous pressure to take up All Blacks job before signing contract

Leo Cullen: “Neither of those players [Jamison Gibson-Park and Isa Nacewa] were in the starting XV so in terms of disruptions to the group it is pretty minimal.” Photograph: Mike Sheehan/Inpho

Return of several big names adds international freight to Leo Cullen’s side

Alex Wootton scored four tries in Munster’s last Pro14 outing against  Benetton Treviso. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Home side are slowly returning to strength but Bleyendaal’s inclusion will boost visitors

Bob Geldof: lending his voice to support Ireland’s bid to host 2023 Rugby World Cup. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Actor Liam Neeson also supporting to Irish presentation before World Rugby officials

The Leinster squad during a training session this week in UCD, Dublin. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Leo Cullen names team for Saturday, with New Zealanders to return next week

Nick McCarthy: Former Ireland Under-20 captain flying out to South Africa to join the Leinster squad. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Nick McCarthy South Africa-bound after Isa Nacewa and Jamison Gibson-Park visa mix-up

Hockey Ireland chief executive officer Jerome Pels. Photograph: Rowland White/Inpho/Presseye

Disagreement over payment of expenses leads to postponement of opening weekend matches

Jamie Heaslip during training last month: the Leinster number 8 has been ruled out for the games against the Kings and Cheetahs. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Forwards coach calls for big contribution from players travelling to South Africa

James Tracy gets up to speed during a Leinster training session at UCD. He broke into the Irish squad last year and was part of the Six Nations. Photograph: inpho

The Leinster hooker is ‘pumped’ for the Pro 14 journey to the Southern Hemisphere

Rob Kearney has been ruled out of Leinster’s two-match trip to South Africa. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland duo both ruled out of Pro 14 fixtures against the Cheetahs and Southern Kings

 Alberto Contador celebrates as he crosses the finish line. He earns his right to bow out on the summit with the gods.  Photograph: Jose Jordan/AFP/Getty Images

TV View: Terrifying L’Angliru climb and descent almost make the Irish man emotional

 Ian Keatley steps in for Tyler Bleyendaal in the only change from the opening win against Benetton. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ian Keatley returns at outhalf along with an experienced bench for the home side

Katie Taylor will fight in Cardiff at the end of October. Photograph: Inpho

Taylor’s promoter hoping to announce an opponent for world title shot next week

Leinster’s Jordan Larmour makes his home game debut Friday night against Cardiff. Photograph: Ashley Crowden/Inpho

Leo Cullen will pick his squad to face Southern Kings and Cheetahs on Monday

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