Orla Finn of Cork faces off Rachel Ruddy of Dublin. Both teams are gearing up for this year’s season of women’s football. Photograph: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

This year is going to be another year of development for the Cork squads

The German soccer team giving a  Nazi salute at the Berlin Olympic games in 1936. Photograph:  Photo12/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

They've money to dry their tears, but they also have a platform. Some are not afraid to speak

Cora Staunton: warned last year about the imminent drain of top intercounty talent to Australia. Photograph: Tommy Dickson

Australian option is attractive – especially if our GAA/LGFA can’t provide the basics

Killarney Legion’s James O’Donoghue with Joanne O’Riordan after victory in the Dr O’ Donoghue Cup. Photograph: Killarney Legion Twitter account

There were tears of joy from fans and players after the unthinkable was achieved

United States forward Megan Rapinoe  might have made my top 10 list when it comes to influence and inspiration, but my winner was Julie Ertz or Lucy Bronze. Photograph: Getty Images

Joanne O’Riordan: Awards are just popularity contests for the players who have a profile

Dublin’s Lyndsey Davey and Sarah Fagan celebrate winning the senior football All–Ireland in Croke Park. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

We cannot rely solely on inspiration from the top teams to lift the standards below

 Saki Kumagai of Olympique Lyonnais and Veronica Boquete of PSG in action. Vero moved to PSG after criticising the conditions  of the women’s game in Spain. Photograph:   Matthew Ashton/AMA/Getty Images

Spain’s FA, players’ association must put past conflicts behind them to strike pay deal

Republic of Ireland head coach Vera Pauw and assistant coach Eileen Gleeson stand for the anthems ahead of the  Uefa Women’s European Championship qualifier against Greece in  Panionios, Athens. Photograph: Greg Hellas/Inpho

Dutch coach’s previous jobs have led to stronger foundations for women’s football

Donaghmoyne’s Amanda Casey lifts the LGFA  All-Ireland senior club title at Parnell Park in 2016. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho

Mourneabbey set to renew their rivalry with formidable Donaghmoyne

NC Courage’s Irish player Denise O’Sullivan has shone for the US club since joining them. Photograph: Getty Images

Cork native is enjoying a stellar career with North Carolina Courage

Bulgarian fans chanted racist abuse and  and gave the Nazi salute during the European Championship defeat to England  at the Vasil Levski National Stadium in Sofia. Photograph: Nikolay Doychinov/AFP/Getty   Images

Uefa’s three-step protocols wholly insufficient to confront a growing menace

 The Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan reacts after winning the Women’s 1500 metres final at the   Athletics World Championships  in Doha. Photograph:  Karim Jaafar/AFP via Getty Images

Events in Doha were mind-blowing – but for all the wrong reasons

Rows of empty seats and sparse attendances have become  a familiar sight at the   World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. Photograph: Diego Azlubel/EPA

Some athletes end up in hospitals while others celebrate in half-empty stadiums

Japan goalkeeper Ayaka Yamashita: she  proved it’s all down to reflexes, reactions and  good fortune to be a top goalkeeper. Photograph: Craig Mercer/MB Media/Getty Images

According to Fifa this year’s World Cup was the most technical, most skilful and most dramatic

Voluntary work is often considered a  pillar of the community, and it is these people who  bind our community together. Photograph: Getty Images

Think of unsung hero who made you a cup of tea to remind you comeback is bigger than setback

The Galway team celebrates victory over Kilkenny in the All-Ireland senior camogie  final in  Croke Park. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

A very successful weekend in soccer and camogie can be built upon

 Andrew Luck: the Indianapolis Colts player was booed  at Lucas Oili Stadium after the preseason game against the Chicago Bears when  it was announced that he would be retiring for health reasons. Photograph:  Justin Casterline/Getty Images

So-called Colts ‘fans’ show contempt for the long-term health of their former player

Fans use the separate entrance for wheelchair users at German club FSV Mainz’s stadium. Photograph: Getty Images

Disabled fans find themselves left outside in the cold, with few people willing to help

Dublin’s Aoife Kane in action against Cork’s Eimear Kiely during the league semi-final at Nowlan Park. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Dublin put their title on the line against great rivals Cork while Mayo face Galway again

 Natalya Coyle  competes in the European  Pentathlon Championships last week in Bath, England. Photograph: Michael Steele/Getty Images

Team boasts quality and quantity, and has medal opportunities in athletics and boxing

Cork’s Hannah Looney  celebrates with the O’Duffy Cup after winning the   2018 All-Ireland senior camogie  final against  Kilkenny at Croke Park. Photograph: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

As sports fans we want to see the best of both codes on the pitch as much as possible

Sarah Rowe kicks a point despite the efforts of Donegal’s Niamh Carr during the clash  at Bord Na Mona O’Connor Park in Tullamore, Offaly. Photo by Ben McShane/Sportsfile

Mayo take big scalp on way to quarter-finals but Dublin remain the team to beat

China’s Sun Yang is swimming under a cloud in Gwangju with a doping case against him set to be heard at the Court of Arbitration for Sport in September. Photograph:   Manan Vatsyayana/AFP

Horton, King and Scott shouldn't have to show respect to someone who doesn't reciprocate

England’s captain Eoin Morgan lifts the World Cup. But since the UK Government took cricket off the list of protected broadcast events, viewing numbers for the sport have collapsed dramatically – with detrimental knock-on effects for clubs. Photograph:  Glyn Kirk/AFP/Getty

Restricting drama for declining viewerships not the way forward for any sport

 The USA celebrate winning the Women’s World Cup  final  in Lyon. ‘The USA brought a new form of bravado to women’s sports.’ Photograph: Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty Images

Momentum from tournament packed full of storylines must not be squandered

I’m sure no parent sets out to be that pushy parent that everyone hate, but the chances are your behaviour is ruining your child’s happiness

Children do not need shouts about performance from parents on sidelines

 Cameroon players  arguing with referee Qin Liang following England’s second goal during their    World Cup  match in Valenciennes, France. Photograph:  Robert Cianflone/Getty Images

Why does women’s sport seemingly have to inspire future generations of wholesome players?

Saoirse Noonan of Cork  with her father, Peter,  following the TG4 Ladies Munster senior football final victory over   Waterford   at Fraher Field in Dungarvan. Photograph:   Harry Murphy/Sportsfile

Former soccer star and super sub’s impressive scoring rate proving a huge asset

A view of a match ball during the game between Argentina and Japan in Paris. Photo: Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

There is no better time to be alive than during an international tournament

Allyson Felix: When she went on maternity leave from the track, Nike wanted to pay her 70 per cent less than before. Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty

Nike has always been proactive. It needs to go all in to support its female athletes

Olympique Lyonnais Féminin players celebrate after beating Barcelona in the  Women’s Champions League final  in Budapest, Hungary. Photograph: Getty Images

Olympique Lyonnais Féminin have reached incredible heights under club owner Aulas

Alex Scott interviews Raheem Sterling at the BT Sport Industry awards. Photograph: Jeff Spicer/Getty

Nature of sports broadcasting is changing - an increase in women is to be welcomed

Caster Semenya: why does the testosterone levels ruling only exist for the races Semenya participates in, 800m and 1500m. Why are other races not included? Photograph: Noushad Thekkayil/EPA

Forcing an athlete to take something to slow them down a strange form of ‘equality’

Ireland’s  Katie McCabe celebrates scoring Arsenal’s  second goal  during the 4-0 victory over Brighton  at the AMEX Stadium   as the Gunners sealed their first title win since 2012. Photograph: : Mark Kerton/PA

Republic of Ireland duo help Gunners to a first Women’s Super League crown in seven years

The Camogie Association needs to act now, embrace its differences and uniqueness and reshape the game for the modern era. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

With right tweaks, women’s game can rival hurling as a treasure in sporting world

Irish WWE professional wrestler Becky Lynch

The women’s revolution has revitalised WWE as athleticism finally trumps titillation

Club Atletico de Madrid fans  before the Spanish league women’s football match against  FC Barcelona in March at the  Wanda Metropolitano stadium in Madrid. Some 60,000 spectators attended the game. Photograph: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images)

Dramatic increase in attendances at big events a positive sign for the future

 Team Ireland athlete Ciara Joyce from Leixlip at  Dublin Airport on return from the  Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi where Ireland claimed   a haul of 86 medals. Photograph: Gareth Chaney Collins

Team Ireland’s success at the Special Olympics gives rise to tears of joy and pride

The wheelchair stand in Páirc Uí Rinn is where the Camp Nou or Bernabeu put their away fans. Behind a fence and shoved into a corner.  Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

GAA should address concerns of women players, fans and those who are disabled

Rena Buckley lifts the O’Duffy Cup in 2017. The  Cork star ticks all the boxes when it comes to an inspirational sporting figure. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Cork’s finest has won numerous All-Irelands but there’s so much more to her than that

Dublin’s Kate Sullivan gets her shot away despite the attempted block from Donegal’s Niamh Carr during the teams’ recent  clash at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Greally/Inpho

Likes of Donegal and Galway ready to mix it with seasoned Dublin and Cork

 Caster Semenya:  the IAAF plans to argue that Olympic women’s 800m champion Caster Semenya should be classified as a “biological male”. Photograph: Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty

CAS has the unenviable task of setting a precedent on intersexuality

I get that 20x20 and Investec are only trying to enhance coverage and entice reporters to cover women in sport. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

20x20 and Investec award a €1,000 monthly prize for best features about women in sport

Donegal’s Karen Guthrie  celebrates at the full-time whistle at Croke Park. Photograph:

On a cold Saturday in Croke Park Donegal swallowed the Dubs for every single attack

Alen Stajcic: sacked from his job as head coach of the Australian women’s soccer team. Photograph: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Some Matildas players revelled in the approach of sacked Alen Stajcic. Others did not

 Maria Sharapova of Russia and Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark shaking hands at their  Australian Open match. Photograph: . EPA/Lukas Coch

It’s hypocritical to demote your clean players to promote one who has served a ban

 Tom Brady of the New England Patriots with his personal trainer Alex Guerrero. “Every time I see Tom Brady now, I think of Himalayan pink salt, no nightshades in his foods (to the layman that’s no tomatoes, no potatoes and no peppers) and kale smoothies.”  Photograph:  Elsa/Getty Images)

Any number of spoofers and bluffers now trailing the sports teams of the world

Cork manager Ephie Fitzgerald talks to his team. In truth, it is another rebuild for Ephie and his management. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Joanne Riordan: Succeeding Eamon Ryan left him on a hiding to nothing

Michael Van Gerwen: beat Michael Smith became world champion at the  William Hill World Darts Championships at Alexandra Palace, London. Photograph: Steven Paston/PA

Every year our family gather around the TV for the annual darts extravaganza

Katie Taylor celebrates after defeating Finland’s Eva Wahlstrom in an IBF and WBA women’s lightweight championship boxing match in New York last Saturday. Photograph: Frank Franklin II/AP

It shouldn’t be down to Taylor to raise the poor standards in female professional boxing

Bríd O’Sullivan of Mourneabbey lifting the Dolores Tyrrell Memorial Cup following the All-Ireland ladies  senior club   final   against Foxrock-Cabinteely at Parnell Park, Dublin. Photograph:   Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

We must acknowledge that retaining the newly-recruited female talent is vital

Kellie Harrington with her gold medal from the lightweight final at the AIBA Women’s World Boxing Championships. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Joanne O'Riordan: Phenomenal achievements augur well for the coming years

 Kerry footballer James O’Donoghue places The Legion Flag on GAA broadcaster Weeshie Fogarty’s coffin at his funeral in St Mary’s Cathedral, Killarney on Wednesday.Photo: Don MacMonagle

The ‘Terrace Talk’ presenter was a fascinating character with wonderful zest for life

 Carnacon’s Erina Flannery and Michelle McGing celebrate after beating Mourneabbey in the All-Ireland Ladies Senior Club Football Championship Final in Parnell Park. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Idea is simple: you play the game you love with the people you love, for the people you love

Wexford Youths Katrina Parrock celebrates scoring the winning goal against Peamount United in the women’s FAI Cup final at the Aviva. Photograph:  Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Just a few thousand turned out to watch the women’s FAI Cup final at the Aviva

In October  1972,  Lynn Blackstone, Jane Muhrcke, Liz Franceschini, Pat Barrett, Nina Kuscsik and Cathy Miller made their sit-down protest at the New York City Marathon.

Joanne O’Riordan: A group of female athletes took dramatic action to agitate for change

 Evanne Ní Chuilinn, Heather Thornton, Jessica Harrington (horse trainer), Sarah Keane (President Olympic Federation of Ireland), Sarah Colgan, Casey Stoney (Manchester United women’s coach), Rena Buckley (18 times All-Ireland winner), Mary O’Connor, Graham Shaw (Ireland women’s hockey coach) and Ger Gilroy are pictured at the launch of 20x20, a new campaign presented by the Federation of Irish Sport. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

The 20x20 initiative is a great start but it’s up to us to make it work in the long-term

A passenger bus drives past an advertising poster for an underwear brand, showing a picture of Cristiano Ronaldo in downtown Rome. Ronaldo faces rape allegations after US police re-opened an investigation into claims by former American model Kathryn Mayorga that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner raped her in a Las Vegas hotel in June 2009. Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/Getty Images

Movement had a significant impact in other industries and may now do so in football

Martina McMahon: pipped Catriona Casey in another riveting All-Ireland final clash between the pair. Photograph: Tom Beary/Inpho

Martina McMahon and Catriona Casey rivalry producing truly outstanding fare

Ellen Keane won the bronze medal in the  2018 World Para Swimming  European Championships at the National Aquatic Centre, Dublin in August.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

This year has brought fresh female athletes to look up to, but we must support them too

Referee Eamon Cassidy during the camogie final. “Maybe camogie is being officiated in the wrong way. I’m not saying let’s all go out and allow all hell to break loose, but  . . let’s celebrate some physicality in women’s sports.”  Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Real narrative of camogie final heroics and Osaka’s achievement overlooked

Jake Buiuc-Keegan, 3 from Tallaght raises the Sam Maguire with Dublin players at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital Crumlin. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

As USA teams give Trump the thumbs down, our GAA stars strike a blow for inclusivity

Mayo manager Stephen Rochford: did the pope sign his P45 last weekend? Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

The outrageous treatment of Carnacon is a sign they’re obsessing over the wrong things

Can Donegal’s Geraldine McLaughlin outscore Cristiano Ronaldo in a whole season or will the Cork defence keep her locked down this weekend? Photograph:   Tom Beary/Inpho

Expectations are high for Saturday’s All-Ireland senior women’s semi-finals

If a big draw and storyline such as the Tiger Woods comeback are not enticing people to watch, then there lies a tragedy. Photograph: iStock

The sheer hassle of signing up to Sports Eleven to see Woods caused me to switch off

Donegal’s  Sarah Jane McDonald has her shot saved by Kerry’s Laura Fitzgerald during the clash at Hyde Park  in Roscommon. Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Imminent Super 8s deserve the support of all GAA fans

Páirc Uí Chaoimh: at the centre of controversy over the appropriate venue for a charity game in honour of the late Republic of Ireland international Liam Miller. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Croke Park is out of touch with the members when it comes to the Liam Miller charity match

 Tipperary’s Orla O’Dwyer: dual players like her are consistently facing and making   unnecessary decisions. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Lack of structure in season means players suffer for excelling in more than one sport

Visitors on Vorobyovy Hills enjoy the view of the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow ahead of the  World Cup semi-final  between England and Croatia. Photograph: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Joanne O'Riordan: Alas, my story of Euro 2012 is one of brotherly lies, deceit and betrayal

Introducing US World Cup winner Hope Solo to the RTÉ panel, for me, is a massive win for the broadcaster.

Women have had difficulty getting roles in sports broadcasting. That needs to change

Cork’s Ciara O’Sullivan   scores her side’s fourth goal in their victory over Kerry   at CIT, Cork. Photograph: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Not getting to play in Páirc Uí Chaoimh is shameful but side didn’t let that affect them

Sport is a massive key to unlocking the door to difference and learning to embrace new cultures. Photograph: Getty Images

The Special Olympics – changing attitudes and battling stigma and labels since 1968

Egypt fans gather near Red Square on the eve of the World Cup. Photograph: Gleb Garnaich/Reuters

Viewing contracts need to be drawn up as the eyes of the west turn towards Mother Russia

Andrea Murphy of Kerry and  Kate McGrath of Waterford during the women’s   championship semi-final at Fitzgerald Stadium, Killarney, on June 2nd. Photograph:  Matt Browne/Sportsfile

Midfield of Kerry women’s team blitzes through Waterford at Fitzgerald Stadium

Tiger Woods: made a public apology at a press conference for cheating on his then wife. Photograph: Ryan Pierse/Getty

Karius the latest sports figure to publicly don sackcloth and ashes

Survival of the fittest: Mayo’s Chris Barrett  and Galway’s Damien Comer at MacHale Park. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Joanne O’Riordan: Evolution says we’re always improving. That hasn’t happened here

Arsenal kit manager Vic Akers salutes the fans after his final home game before leaving the club during the Premier League match at the Emirates Stadium, London. Photograph: Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Joanne O’Riordan: More than a kitman, Vic Akers is a legend of the women’s game

UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin arrives on the red carpet before the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium. Photograph:  Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Shazier and Shaquem Griffin – two athletes of indomitable spirit

 The Denver Broncos cheerleaders perform at Invesco Field at Mile High stadium in Denver, Colorado. Photograph:  Brian Bahr/Getty Images

Is it time to call a halt on this sporting anachronism or is that dictating to women?

Fans let off flares as the the Manchester City team bus  arrived at Anfield  for their UEFA Champions League quarter-final, first leg match. Photograph: PA

There is nothing wrong with sporadic and mindless attempts at cheering on your team

 City Cork manager John Caulfield, speaking at the launch event for  the Focus Ireland Big Rebel Sleep Out,  said:  “Creating awareness of the issue of homelessness, helping the families Focus Ireland works with locally is so prominent.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

From athletes to chefs, we all have our part to play in helping raise awareness

The Minnesota Lynx raise the Championship trophy after defeating the Los Angeles Sparks in Game Five of the 2017 WNBA Finals  in Minneapolis. Photograph: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

WNBA led the way in sport’s support of Black Lives Matter movement

Cesar and Jose Richard, who is  registered as deaf-blind, have become  online sensations after a video of them emerged showing the carer using sign language and a board to allow Jose to experience the Catalan derby

Touching video of deaf-blind Barca fan summarises bond between carers and child

Referee Cuneyt Cakir shows a yellow card to an indignant Luiz Suarez during Barcelona’s Champions League clash against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/Reuters

Referees are not getting worse – scrutiny of their decisions is just becoming too intense

Cork City manager John Caulfield celebrates with the SSE Airtricity League Premier Division title at  Turner’s Cross. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

After finally relieving Dundalk of the title, City now face the task of defending the crown

Cork’s Eimear Scally  continues to mix speed with delightful accuracy – her dinky finish against Monaghan has become the must-see women’s football video of the week. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Chance to share the big bill with Dubs and Donegal a major boost for women’s football

Ireland players celebrate after the Podhale Amp Futbol Cup. Photograph: irishamputeefootballassociation.com

Don’t say ‘aw’ say ‘wow’ to efforts of these superhumans who let nothing stop them

Inmaculate Cabecerán, here being chaired by team-mates, laid the foundations for Barcelona women’s football. Photograph: Barcawomen/Twitter

Joanne O’Riordan: The forgotten story of the pioneering Inmaculada Cabecerán Soler

Cahir Ladies celebrate winning the Camogie Club Championship Final in Croke  Park in 2016. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Joanne O’Riordan: County champions have the dedication and talent to go all the way

Mayo have endured so many painful defeats but their supporters remain loyal and their ability to keep smiling still impresses me. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Chill out, leave social media abuse to the hapless trolls and don't stop believing

We’ll be back: Conor Keane of Killarney Legion is dejected after their loss to South Kerry in the Kerry Senior Football Championship final replay in November 2015.  Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

For Killarney Legion and me, losing a bunch of finals is just a small chapter in our story

The Republic of Ireland’s Cyrus Christie shows his dejection following the World Cup defeat to Denmark. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Racist scapegoating of Cyrus Christie is a new low for so-called fans of the national team

A player wears a “legacy” wristband to protest the abominable treatment of women’s rugby by the IRFU. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

With all eyes on 2023, the men in blazers were just paying lip service to the women’s game

 The new West Ham United manager David Moyes during a  press conference. Photograph:  Reuters/John Sibley

West Ham fans, if you think it’s all doom and gloom – well, it very likely is going to be

Cork City celebrate winning the Women’s FAI Cup at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Cork City women’s team have literally gone from zeros to Cup-winning heroes

At the  launch of the national women’s soccer  league    in March were  Ciara Delany (Kilkenny United), Louise Corrigan (Peamount United), Kylie Murphy (Wexford Youths), Pearl Slattery (Shelbourne), Meabh de Burca (Galway), Emily Cahill (UCD Waves) and Saoirse Noonan (Cork City). Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

With correct marketing in a rapidly changing digital world, there are opportunites

Cork City players celebrate their Premier Division success. To see the community’s joy in Turner’s Cross that night would bring a tear to a stone. Photograph:  Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Turner’s Cross was a special place to be as the Premier Division title was finally claimed

Norway star Ada Hegerberg welcomed the news that the women’s team are to receive the same pay as the nation’s men’s team. Photograph:  Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Will the Norwegians’ example herald a similar change in other countries?

Sultan Kakar of Munster and Shane Curran of Connacht during the M Donnelly wheelchair hurling interprovincial All-Ireland finals at IT Blanchardstown in 2016. Photograph:  Paul Mohan/Sportsfile

The GAA has shown how serious it is about wheelchair hurling and let's hope others follow

Barcelona taking on Las Palmas in front of a deserted Camp Nou. Photograph: Albert Gea/Reuters

Silence of an empty Camp Nou as Barcelona played a poignant sign of disturbing crisis

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