A dejected Freddie Burns leaves the pitch at The Red following Bath’s defeat to Toulouse. Photograph: David Davies/PA

If this is Burns giving his best “always” Bath are in deep trouble.

Munster outhalf Joey Carbery kicks behind the Exeter line during the Heineken Champions Cup game at  Sandy Park. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Johann van Graan praises new signings after battling draw away to Exeter

Munster’s CJ Stander scoring a try against the Exeter Chiefs  at Sandy Park stadium as Joey Carbery celebrates. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Stander try is converted by Carbery to level matters at 10 all with 15 minutes to go

Munster captain Peter O’Mahony and coach Johann van Graan after the 10-10 draw with Exeter at Sandy Park. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Keith Earls missed epic Exeter draw after feeling a tight hamstring during warm-up

Munster’s CJ Stander scores a try during the Heineken Champions Cup  match at Sandy park. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Epic Pool Two encounter ends in a share of the spoils after CJ Stander crashes over

 Geordan Murphy: “There’s always pressure. My good buddy James Ferris always told me, ‘Pressure is for tyres’. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Leicester coach knows the pressure is on at a club where the message is win, just win

Luke McGrath: “It is great to see the club has huge competition in every position.” Photograph: Morgan Treacy/inpho

Province building strength in depth and competition in pivotal position on the pitch

James Lowe scored two tries against Munster and looks set to start in the Champions Cup next weekend. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Gibson-Park injury means Leinster can include both southern hemisphere players

Ben Whitehouse was in the eye of the storm during Saturday’s Guinness Pro14   clash between Leinster and Munster at Aviva Stadium.  Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Compelling game swung on controversial decision to disallow Earls’s ‘try’

Munster’s Tadhg Beirne is tackled by  James Tracy with Jack McGrath during the Guinness Pro 14 game at the  Aviva stadium. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Finicky and time consuming officiating takes away from derby date

The scene of the IRA car bomb at Killeen in April 1987 in which Judge Maurice Gibson and his wife Lady Cecily Gibson were killed. What remained of their car is to the right behind the telegraph poles. The car in which |reland internationals David Irwin, Nigel Carr and Philip Rainey were travelling is in the middle of the road.

Craig Doyle and Brian O’Driscoll tell the story of one Irish team crossing the cultural divide

TG4’s coverage at the Sportsground on Saturday was sloppy. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Go for entertainment or cold blooded inquisition. Anything else is painful viewing

Connacht’s Jack Carty takes on Blade Thomson of the Scarlets at the Sportsground. ‘He’s got an amazing skill set and we are giving him licence to use that’ Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Seán O’Brien returns to squad for visitors as Andy Friend's side seek repeat of last meeting

Dan McFarland has made an encouraging start to his first head coaching job in Ulster. Photograph: Ulster Rugby/John Dickson/Inpho

Ulster coach faces array of challenges after difficult season on and off the field

Will Spencer (left) of Leicester Tigers is sent off by referee Ian Tempest after a high tackle on Tommy Taylor during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Wasps and  Tigers  in Coventry earlier this month. Photograph:  David Rogers/Getty Images

Simon Halliday insists rules on high tackles will not soften the game, but make it safer

Ulster’s Jordi Murphy goes past Jamie Ritchie of Edinburgh during their Pro14 clash. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Ulster man hoping more game time with province can get him back into Ireland set up

Conor Murray at  a Munster training session in Limerick on September 17th. Photograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

Former All Blacks scrumhalf Alby Mathewson could play for Munster against Ulster

Racing 92’s  Simon Zebo scoring  a try against  Castres on Saturday  at the Paris La Defense Arena in Nanterre. Photograph:  Getty Images

Ireland picked Johnny Sexton when he played in Paris, so why not white-hot winger Zebo?

  England’s  Paul Gascoigne celebrates after scoring   during the European Championship Finals group match against Scotland  on June 15th, 1996, in London, England. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Long before drink grabbed hold of Gascoigne, his childhood was tainted by tragedy

New Zealand players perform a haka during the Rugby Championship match between the All Blacks and the  Springboks at Westpac Stadium  in Wellington, New Zealand, last weekend. Photograph: Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

With one year to go before the tournament, who’s going to rise or fall in the east?

Willis first player to sue an English club and medics for negligence over brain injury

 Dublin footballers (from left) Muireann Ni Scanaill, Niamh Collins, Lauren Magee, Sinéad Aherne, Lyndsey Davey and Sinéad Goldrick show Maya Kulendran, from Castlebar, Co Mayo, the Brendan Martin Cup at Temple Street Children’s University Hospital in Dublin yesterday. Photograph: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

‘The same love for football was there in 2014, we just weren’t playing as smartly’

England captain Sarah Hunter celebrates with team mates after series victory over Canada at Twickenham. Photograph: Paul Childs/File Photo/Reuters

Contracts will be granted on form, with the money permanently included in RFU budget

Jonny Cooper leads Dublin into action against Laois in the Leinster final. “Teams are trying to play to their own advantages the best they can and ultimately get a result.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

‘We are there to win and perform’ says Dublin’s vastly experienced defender

Declan Darcy with Jim Gavin: “You have to evolve because if you stand still, if you look behind for one minute, you will be caught.”

Jim Gavin’s long-serving selector still enjoying his role and excited by the challenge

Mattie Donnelly of Tyrone: until now, Tyrone were not ready for the penultimate leap. Photograph: Declan Roughan/Inpho

Even Jim Gavin agrees this Tyrone team is a different beast to last year’s semi-finalists

    Conor Murray could be sidelined for up to four months. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Murray could miss up to four months with unspecified injury

Jim Gavin greets Mickey Harte at the end of the All-Ireland Super 8s clash at Healy Park.  Healy Park, Omagh. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Past triumphs of no concern to Dublin supremo as he plans for latest final test

 Former Tyrone star Joe McMahon, Johnny Magee, Kilmacud Crokes manager  and ex-Dublin and Mayo’s Chris Barrett at the launch of this year’s Londis Kilmacud Crokes All-Ireland Senior Football Sevens.  Photograph:  Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Former Tyrone star convinced Red Hand men will relish their underdog status

Carnacon’s Cora Staunton and team-mates  after their win over Mourneabbey  in the All-Ireland Ladies SFC final at  Parnell Park. Photograph:  Oisín Keniry/Inpho

‘All our members want is to play football and we hope to get this opportunity again’

Micheál  Donoghue: “I think Croke Park, the powers-that-be, need to sit down with all the parties. I don’t think they can just come with proposals.” Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Galway manager pays tribute to ‘incredible job’ Kiely and Kinnerk did with Limerick

Jonathan Glynn after Galway’s All-Ireland final defeat to Limerick. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Losing manager says his team were ‘below par’ against ‘deserving winners’ Limerick

Limerick’s Mike Casey keeps a tight rein on Galway’s Johnny Glynn during the All-Ireland SHC Final at Croke Park. Phjotograph:  James Crombie/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey runs the rule over John Kiely’s side after their All-Ireland win

Billy Burns: “I wouldn’t have come over here if I didn’t think it was a club going in the right direction, a club that has ambition that suits mine.”  Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Rory Scannell expecting Haley and Botha to make a big impact with Munster

Robin Copeland is readying himself for his maiden season in Galway after leaving Munster for Connacht. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

‘What I want to do is take Connacht to the next level, get in the team, start every week’

Leinster’s Jack Conan: “I think we have the squad, the depth and the talent.” Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Contepomi is new backs coach as blue province goes after another European star

Limerick’s Gary Kirby during the 1994 All-Ireland SHC final. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Selected XV will be paraded in Croke Park at half-time of Sunday’s All-Ireland SHC final

Jack McCaffrey is denied a goal by Galway’s Sean Kelly during the semi-final at Croke Park. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Busy newly-qualified doctor still enjoying the big occasions at Croke Park with Dublin

 Former Galway hurler David Collins at the launch of the Fexco 23rd Asian Gaelic Games  at Croke Park. Photograph.  Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Former Galway stalwart David Collins says the travel is unsustainable

Galway manager Kevin Walsh and Dublin manager Jim Gavin  shake hands after the  All-Ireland SFC semi-final at Croke Park on Saturday.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Challenge is now to catch up with Jim Gavin’s side, says Galway manager Kevin Walsh

Tyrone’s Niall Sludden scores the only goal of the match. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Can this approach stop Dublin’s march to four All-Ireland titles in a row next month?

Dublin’s Jack McCaffrey gets to the bounce of the ball ahead of Galway’s Johnny Heaney during  the All-Ireland SFC semi-final at Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Jim Gavin’s side pulls away in the second half as squad’s strength in depth shows itself again

Joe Tomane (centre) with Rhys Ruddock and Dan Leavy at the launch of the new Leinster home and alternate jersey at Life Style Sports, Grafton Street, Dublin. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Versatile talent targeted a spot with Cullen’s side when his Montpellier dream faded

 Ryan O’Dwyer, Bill O’Carroll, Fergal Whitely and Niall Corcoran, with U- 10 Kilmacud Crokes hurlers Michael Lyng, left, and Cian Manning at the launch of the The Beacon Hospital/Kilmacud Crokes  All-Ireland Hurling Sevens at Croke Park. Photograph:  Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Former Tipperary captain and Kilmacud mentor rules himself out of contention

Rory Beggan at Pearse Stadium: “We’re going in for the win – we’re not just happy to be going into a semi-final.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Goalkeeper believes team have every reason to be confident heading to Croke Park

Monaghan fans celebrate reaching the All-Ireland semi-final. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Ryan McAnespie stood tallest with 0-4 from play as Monaghan top their Super 8s group

Kerry manager Eamonn Fitzmaurice celebrates his side’s late goal against Monaghan which preserved their hopes in this year’s championship. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Draw would be enough for Galway and Monaghan to advance at Kerry’s expense

Tipperary selectors’ Declan Fanning, Conor Stakelum, manager Michael Ryan and selector John Madden have all stepped down from their positions. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Entire management team have left their positions following a disappointing year

Dublin’s Sinéad Aherne: “During the league we had double headers [with men’s fixtures] so to bring them into championship would bring it to the next level.”   Photograph: Laszlo Geczp/Inpho

All-Ireland win eased pain of past failures but Dublin razor-keen to be the best they can be

Tipperary hurler Noel McGrath and Monaghan ladies footballer Sharon Courtney at the launch of the GAA and HSE’s  campaign at Croke Park. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Involvement of country’s biggest sporting organisation welcomed by HSE

Noel McGrath: “Every team is fit enough to play the 90 minutes but in my own opinion the replay would be the preferred option.” Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Tipperary star convinced that a replay is a better solution for all concerned

Limerick’s Declan Hannon and Pat Horgan of Cork during the All-Ireland SHC  semi-final at Croke Park on Sunday. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Manager John Kiely intends to keep his players focused over the next three weeks

Clare county board chairman Joe Cooney has responded to GAA’s ticketing decision

Limerick manager John Kiely is congratulated by Cork’s John Meyler after the game. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

John Kiely and Shane Dowling plead for space to allow players focus on final task

Shane Dowling celebrates Limerick’s extra-time win over Cork in Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

John Kiely’s side reel in their great rivals and roar clear in extra-time in Croke Park rain

Kerry’s David Clifford celebrates scoring the dramatic late equalising goal against Monaghan in Clones. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Memories of Maurice Fitzgerald in his pomp were evoked by the youngster in Clones

 Roscommon manager Kevin McStay remonstrates with an official during the Super 8s match against Donegal at Hyde Park. Photograph:  David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile via Getty Images

CCCC expected to examine altercation during Roscommon’s defeat to Donegal

Éamonn Fitzmaurice reacts to Kerry’s  late goal in their  All-Ireland Senior Football Championship quarter-final match against Monaghan, at St Tiernach’s Park, Clones, Co Monaghan. Photograph: ©INPHO/Morgan Treacy

David Clifford’s wonder goal keeps the Kingdom in the championship, for now

“It’s a physical game,” says  Kilkenny manager Brian Cody with trademark flat realism. “Above all else it is a game of skill.”

Entertaining three-part series on RTÉ begins on Monday, July 30th

Kerry’s Micheál Burns and Johnny Heaney, Cathal Sweeney and Seán Andy Ó Ceallaigh of Galway at last Sunday’s All-Ireland Senior Championship quarter-final at Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

With Kerry still smarting from defeat by Galway, this could be Monaghan’s chance

Peter Leahy addresses the Mayo team in Clones for the game against Cavan. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Mediation talks underway involving the disgruntled players and team management

Tempers flare between Tyrone and Dublin at Healy Park, Omagh in February. Photograph: Philip Magowan/Inpho

Mickey Harte will have to make some tactical changes to stop another sacking of Omagh

Ireland’s CJ Stander makes one of his 15 carries in Sydney. Photograph: Getty Images

Gavin Cummiskey looks at the key calls, moments and incidents from Ireland’s win in Sydney

 Costa Rica’s Giancarlo Gonzalez ’fouls’  Neymar leading to a non-penalty award from VAR. Photograph: Photograph: Lee Smith/Reuters

RTE pundits at odds over the merits of VAR after Neymar’s non-penalty

Carlos Queiroz before his side’s World Cup 2018 Group B match against Spain. Roy Keane reveals his trues feelings for the Iran’s coach. Photograph:EPA

Killer Kilbane shows up Matthew Upson, a poor man’s Alan Hansen

Greg McWilliams: “AJ was just class, his game management superb, kicked the ball really well and had a great assist for Hanco’s try.”

AJ MacGinty, John Quill, Paul Mullen and Dylan Fawsitt all involved in USA squad

Ireland’s Andrew Conway scores his side’s first try. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Peter O’Mahony out-Pococks Pocock as Ireland win in Australia for first time since 1979

France’s Daniel Brennan could still play for Ireland. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

‘Obviously I have my little Irish side but playing for France has always been clear’

Dan Leavy will be tasked with taking on a formidable Australian back row. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland coach Joe Schmidt set to make eight changes for second test

Ireland’s James Ryan has lost his first game for Ireland. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Joey Carbery is not ready. And so it’s back to Johnny Sexton to salvage the series

Paddy Jackson has signed for Top14 side Perpignan after he had his Ulster contract revoked. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Province are bereft of outhalves while Leinster and Munster have an abundance

Former Ireland players Sophie Spence and Fiona Coghlan have spoken out about the IRFU’s rejection of a women’s Test series in Australia. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

‘It’s hugely disappointing, to progress you’ve got to play as many test matches as possible’

Ireland women’s team were turned down the chance of a Test series in Australia despite offer to cover costs. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Australian Women’s Rugby proposed the fixtures and offered to cover accommodation

Joey Carbery is set to start at outhalf for Ireland in their first Test against Australia. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Joe Schmidt expected to make six changes from side that beat England at Twickenham

Leinster’s Joey Carbery: “Obviously playing in one position the whole time would make me better in that position.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ireland coach expected to emphasise that he needs to be playing regularly at 10

Bernard Foley at number 10 is a certainty for Australia. Photo: Getty Images

Michael Cheika will announce his squad this morning for three summer Tests

Leinster’s James Lowe on his way to scoring a scry in the Pro14 final. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey selects his best 15 players in blue and there’s no place for Scott Fardy

Joey Carbery must decide if he will remain at Leinster. Photograph:   Niall Carson/PA Wire

Lancaster at odds with Schmidt and O’Driscoll over what’s best for Leinster youngster

Isa Nacewa lifts the Pro14 trophy at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Photograph: PA

Kiwi suggests he may remain with Leinster in another capacity after Pro14 final triumph

Jonathan Sexton celebrates with James Lowe after the New Zealander went over for a try in Leinster’s victory over the Scarlets in the Guinness Pro 14 final at the  Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Sexton puts on another masterclass; Toner shunted over; Larmour does a Campese

Isa Nacewa is set to play his final game of professional rugby in the Pro 14 final against the Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday. Photograph: Patrick O’Connor/Inpho

35-year-old set to play in Saturday’s decider; Rob Kearney, Sexton and Leavy also return

Philip Browne: IRFU seeking to create “a strong link between the club game and pro game in a complimentary season structure”.

Clubs opposed to any move towards a semi-professional league from from 2019/20.

Ireland’s  tour to Australia offers  John Cooney  a chance to become a a significant player. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Three-Test tour of Australia offers a perfect dry run for Japan next year

Joey Carbery: Joe Schmidt is keen for him to be a starting outhalf in the Champions Cup next season as the World Cup looms. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ulster still seeking permission to sign an established international outhalf

Joey Carbery: It’s likely that Sexton, Carbery and Byrne are the touring outhalves in Australia next month and come the World Cup, but Schmidt needs Carbery to be wearing the 10 jersey in 2018/19.  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Munster, Ulster and Leinster all want Joey Carbery, but Ireland’s need supersedes all

Leinster’s Isa Nacewa is cheered off the pitch by team-mates after victory in the Pro14 semi-final. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Winger who starred in victory over Munster could follow in footsteps of fellow New Zealander

Leinster’s Max Deegan and team-mates celebrate winning a penalty in the final moments of the Guinness Pro 14 semi-final against Munster at the  RDS. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

‘If we had gone and scored it would have been a momentum changer’

Mick Galwey squares up to Victor Costello during the 2001 Celtic League final. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Matches between the provinces never short of an edge but the tribes have amalgamated

Joey Carbery is set to start at 15 for Lenister against Munster. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ross Byrne to replace Johnny Sexton while James Lowe returns for Pro 14 semi-final

Tadhg Furlong:  his  soaring market value forced the IRFU to offer a significant pay increase, to €500,000 a year while still way short of the figures an international tighthead prop commands in the English Premiership or French Top 14.  Photograph:  David Rogers/Getty Images

Pay increase from IRFU comes as French clubs seek Irish props post 2019 World Cup

Leinster celebrate with the European Champions Cup. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

From a new experience in the Basque country to Leinster v the IRFU and more

Leinster’s James Ryan wins the lineout from Racing 92’s Donnacha Ryan. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Team-mates laud Leinster lock’s ‘jaw-dropping’ rise after he stars in European final

Leinster’s Rhys Ruddock, Luke McGrath and Fergus McFadden celebrate with the  Champions Cup trophy after beating Racing 92 at San Mames Stadium, Bilbao, Spain. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leinster will ‘push on for higher honours’ after fourth Champions Cup win

Leo Cullen and John Fogarty celebrate Leinster’s win over Racing 92. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Racing coach Laurent Labit: ‘Well, he has the Irish team so we are just a poor man’s team’

 James Ryan and Jonathan Sexton celebrate the win at the final whistle. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Gavin Cummiskey assesses the Leinster performances after their tense win in Bilbao

Dan Carter of Racing 92 is tackled by Simon Zebo of Munster during a   Champions Cup Round Two match  at Thomond Park in October. Photograph:  Getty Images

All Black player of his generation is ending his top-class career as a substitute for Racing

 Donnacha Ryan: “It’s important that I bring the intensity, which is the easiest part of being a rugby player – you love playing. As a job it is fantastic.” Photograph: Vincent West/Reuters

‘He brings a very high level with a lot of intensity and precision,’ says Laurent Travers

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen during a press conference in Bilbao. Photograph: Vincent West/Reuters

Leinster head coach: ‘It is very much a clash of styles about how you assemble a squad’

Leinster  senior coach Stuart Lancaster: “With Leinster I was lucky in that I came into a team that has a strong culture and a very strong identity because 90% of the players are born in Leinster.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan

Leinster senior coach in his first major club role but his second coming has begun

Leinster’s Jordan Larmour (left) will start in Bilbao with  James Lowe  (right) missing out. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Jamison Gibson-Park and Rory O’Loughlin expected to be named in matchday squad

More articles