Simon Zebo:  Racing 92 star said he hoped he had not heard what he thought he heard from some Ulster rugby supporters at Kingspan Stadium, Belfast. Photograph:  Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Simon Zebo just the latest to shine a spotlight on an unpleasant fact of Irish sporting life

Edinburgh  coach Richard Cockerill: “We’re going to go out there, gumshields in, sleeves rolled up, and we’re going to get in the middle of it and see where we get to.” Photograph: Craig Watson/Inpho

New Zealander Vern Cotter makes five changes to his Montpellier side

Ireland head coach Adam Griggs has brought eight new names into the squad for the Women’s Six Nations. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Ireland first play Wales in a warm-up fixture in Energia Park, Donnybrook on Sunday

Leinster’s Rhys Ruddock wins a lineout during the Champions Cup victory over Toulouse. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leinster man was excellent in victory but knows there are still plenty of tests to come

Racing 92 have released a statement on ‘racist insults’ directed at Simon Zebo during the Champions Cup defeat to Ulster in Belfast. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Former Munster player tweeted after defeat to Ulster that he had suffered abuse in Belfast

Katie Taylor. “I love the simple life, the boring life. No, the US hasn’t changed me at all. I mean I’m living in a little one-bed apartment in America.” Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

IBF and WBA world lightweight title-holder has her eyes on the WBO and WBC belts

Katie Taylor celebrates her victory over Eva Wahlstrom in New York. Photograph: Tom Hogan/Inpho

Irish fighter now ranked best female pound for pound boxer in the world

 Gloucester head coach  Johan Ackermann with  Munster coach Johann van Graan. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Special incentive for Gloucester’s Grobler to make a point against his former club

Doddie Weir: “I take a positive note. I am still here. Got to celebrate another Christmas.”  Photograph:  Ramsey Cardy/Sportsfile

Former Scotland and Lion lock stays positive as he battles Motor Neurone Disease

Jordan Larmour in action for Leinster against Bath. “Growing up, all I wanted to do was play for Ireland and Leinster. I still have a good bit to learn.” Photograph:  Artur Widak/PA

In a World Cup year, back must continue to clear every hurdle on the road to Tokyo

Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

John Treacy has hit out at Thomas Bach after he hinted that Russia won’t be banned

Sudaporn Seesondee (in red) and Kellie Anne Harrington  compete during their final fight at the  AIBA boxing championships in New Delhi, on November 24th, 2018. Photograph: Sajjad Hussain/AFP/Getty Images

Lightweight world champion needed to become exceptional – and she did

World champion boxer Kellie Harrington has been crowned the Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year for 2018. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

There was no upstaging Kellie Harrington on a day that put sportswomen centre stage

The Irish Times Sportswoman of the Year 2018 – boxer Kellie Harrington.

Fitting reward for inspirational lightweight gold medal winner at the World Championships

Katie Taylor with Santa at the County Club in Dunshaughlin, Co Meath, yesterday where she gave an update on her attempt to unite all four lightweight belts. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Frustration creeps in as would-be opponents hold out for more money

Jamison Gibson-Park warms up at Madibaz Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa for Leinster’s Guinness Pro14 match against Southern Kings in November. Photograph: Richard Huggard/Inpho

Leinster scrumhalf could soon stand with Bundee Aki and CJ Stander in Ireland squad

Dave Miley has announced his intention to run for the presidency of the International Tennis Federation. Photograph: Rod Leon

Former Irish national champion to contest election set for September 2019

Rob Kearney arrives at the Aviva for Leinster’s win over Bath last weekend. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leinster are back in Pro14 league action at the weekend when they face Connacht

 Nathan Hughes of Wasps who are unbeaten in their last 12 home matches against Top 14 opposition, winning 11 and drawing one. Photograph:  Henry Browne/Getty Images

English Premiership team boast a proud home record against Top 14 opposition

David Condon of England celebrates after scoring his team’s first goal during the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup Group B match between Ireland and England at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, India. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images for FIH

Goals from Chris Cargo and Shane O’Donoghue were not enough in a dramatic tie

Devin Toner: For a lock who at one point once looked bodily frail, his capacity for physical endurance has now become a feature of his game.  Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Leinster and Ireland secondrow now at the peak of his substantial powers

Former Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll opened up about use of painkillers during his rugby career. Photo: Chris Lee - World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

Former Ireland captain lifting the lid on use of pills during his career is most welcome

Alan Sothern of Ireland in the match against China. Photograph: Harish Tyagi/EPA

A draw is enough to see Ireland through to a play-off for World Cup quarter-finals

Ulster’s Rory Best will make his record-equalling 71st European appearance against Scarlets in the Champions Cup. Photo: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Irish province haven’t won in any of their last four European meetings in Llanelli

Sam Underhill of Bath Rugby and Mark Lambert of Harlequins clash heads during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match in September. Photo: Henry Browne/Getty Images

IRP findings show education on concussion is failing on substantial number of players

Leinster backs coach Felipe Contepomi  and Fergus McFadden (above) training in Donnybrook on September 17th Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Leinster backs coach is more interested in improving than listening to hype

Katie Taylor during her last professional win over Cindy Serrano in October. Photograph: Emily Harney/Inpho

Unbeaten Taylor will face Eva Wahlstrom at Madison Square Garden on December 15th

Alan Sothern celebrates his equaliser for Ireland against China. Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty

Cox’s side must get a result against England to keep quarter-final dream alive in India

Rob Kearney speaks at Leinster rugby press conference in UCD on December 3rd Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Ahead of weekend clash against Bath, fullback says he wants new contract

Leinster will not have Jack McGrath available to them when they return to Champions Cup action this weekend. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Getty Images

One of Leinster’s Kiwi backs - James Lowe and Jamison Gibson-Park - will miss out

Andy Farrell: “As for England missing out on a brilliant homegrown coach, I am almost filled with despair,” wrote former World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Growing realisation in England that the man they sacked in 2015 is a top class coach

Ireland’s Matthew Bell in action against Tim Brand of Australia in their World Cup opener at Kalinga Stadium, in Bhubaneswar, India. Photograph: Inpho

Coach praises his players for ‘putting their bodies on the line’ in narrow 2-1 defeat

Irish lightweight world champion Kellie Harrington was reassured by the IOC about Tokyo Games. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Earlier statement said planning for 2020 had stopped in dispute with AIBA

The Connacht squad in a huddle during training at Wynberg Boys High School, Cape Town, as they prepare for the game against the Cheetahs. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Friend’s side firmly focused on completing a successful mission in South Africa

David Harte saves from Daniel Beale during Ireland’s opening World Cup defeat to Australia. Photograph: Harish Tyagi/EPA

David Harte impressive in goal as defending champions are made to sweat for victory

Munster’s Conor Murray: he came on from the bench last week against Zebra. Photograph: Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho

Home side bolstered by returning internationals while visitors are missing theirs

The Ireland players take part in a training session ahead   at Kalinga Stadium on  Tuesday. Photograph:  Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Ireland start their campaign against defending champions Australia on Friday

Ireland’s Andrew Conway scores a try during the autumn international against the USA at the Aviva stadium. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

‘It’s just incredible, the standards that he sets, the standards that he drives. Everything’

World champion Kellie Harrington shows off her gold medal alongside her parents  Yvonne and Christy on her return to Dublin airport on Sunday. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Irish fighter claims World Championship gold to follow in the footsteps of Katie Taylor

Joe Taufete’e gets away from Finlay Bealham the score the USA’s opening try. Photograph:  Tommy Dickson/Inpho

USA head coach praises current depth of talent in Irish rugby after heavy defeat

Ireland’s Garry Ringrose offloads to John Cooney during the autumn international against the USA at the Aviva stadium. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Johnny Watterson looks at the key performers in Joe Schmidt’s line-up

Ireland’s Kellie Harrington has her hand raised after getting a split decision to win gold at the  World Women’s Elite Championships in New Delhi, India. Photograph: AIBA

Irish lightweight fighter beats Thailand’s Sudaporn Seesondee on split decision

Hugh Keenan: named at fullback in the Leinster side to host Ospreys at the RDS. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Academy prospects Keenan and Penny to make their first starts for the province in Pro 14 clash

USA’s Ryan Matyas celebrates with teammates after scoring a try against the Maori All Blacks in Chicago on November 3rd. Photograph: Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

As USA prepares to play Ireland this weekend, the US eyes up hosting World Cup 2027

Ireland’s David Harte: he will need to be at his sharpest in seven days’ time against  Australia. Photograph: Freddie Parkinson/Inpho

Three Rock Rovers have the comfort of a home draw against Belfast’s Annadale in the Irish Senior Cup

Kellie Harrington during her semi-final win over Karina Ibragimova of Kazakhastan. Photograph: Money Sharma/Getty Images

Dublin fighter will face Thailand’s Sudaporn Seesondee for the gold medal on Saturday

Dave Kilcoyne: “I find that the more weights I do, the better I find I play and the better I feel.” Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Munster prop quickly feeling the benefits of his new improved fitness regime

Finlay Bealham, Niall Scannell and Dave Kilcoyne during Ireland training ahead of the Guinness Series clash with the USA. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland hooker is likely to start on Saturday in the final match of the Guinness Series

Ireland’s Jack Conan during training ahead of the Guinness Series clash with the USA. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leinster man says that there is no rivalry in the squad, only competition for places

New Zealand’s Brodie Retallick tries to charge down Ireland’s Kieran Marmion during the Guinness Series clash on Saturday. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Pair will return to their provinces with Marmion set to undergo ankle surgery

 Ireland’s Jacob Stockdale celebrates scoring their first try with Josh van der Flier in Ireland’s victory over the All Blacks at the Aviva. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Leinster youngster put in solid performance against All Blacks after late call-up to Ireland side

Leinster players James Lowe (left) and James Treacy at the launch of a picutre diary charting Leinster Rugby’s historic double winning season, on Monday, November 19th Photograph: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

‘It was an awesome performance and something Ireland should be proud of’

Ireland line up for the national anthem ahead of the Guinness Series clash with New Zealand. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

While the All Blacks still stay at number one Ireland have broken their points record

Jacob Stockdale gathers his own kick to score  the crucial try against New Zealand at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Despite having an earlier chip blocked by Read the Ulster winger continued to back himself

  New Zealand lock Sam Whitelock in action with Ireland’s James Ryan during Ireland’s historic win at the Aviva on Saturday. Photograph:  Clodagh Kilcoyne/Inpho

‘It’s always tough no matter who you’re playing against and tonight was no different’

Ireland head coach Joe Schmidt attempted to put some perspective on Ireand’s first ever win over New Zealand on home soil. Photo: Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Coach looks to put things in perspective with a long way still to go before the World Cup

New Zealand’s Brodie Retallick passes as Keith Earls moves in to make a tackle during the autumn international at the Aviva stadium. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

Johnny Watterson hands out the marks to Steve Hansen’s beaten side

Kellie Harrington impressed in her opening bout at the World Championship in New Delhi. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Irish lightweight through to last 16 in New Delhi after 5-0 win

Hockey Ireland aiming to return to the international stage for first time since the 80s

The 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Sports Minister Shane Ross said   “the prevailing view is that the funding is too widely spread”. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Ross says Sport Ireland will prefer to fund sports that are more likely to return medals for Ireland

 New Zealand ’s Beauden Barrett during training on Tuesday at the National Sports Campus, Blanchardstown. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Outhalf says Ireland have come a long way since his debut in 60-0 victory in 2012

Devin Toner made a big impact coming off the replacements bench against the Pumas. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Our writers pick the Irish sides they want to see take on the mighty All Blacks

Seán O’Brien leaves the pitch after breaking his arm against Argentina. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Joe Schmidt confirms flanker’s broken arm is unrelated to litany of previous problems

Argentina’s Bautista Delguy scores their first try in the autumn international against Ireland at the Aviva stadium. Photograph: Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters

‘They were bad and it’s difficult for them to be bad two games in a row’

Argentina’s Bautista Delguy slips past   New Zealand’s Karl Tu’nukuafe. He has the ability to glide  along the top of the ground, effortlessly twisting and turning.   Photograph:  Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images

Ten tries in 15 Super League matches shows his ability as a natural attacking threat

Joe Schmidt: will make up his mind this month on his future post the World Cup in 2019. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

All Blacks legend insists there’s no shortage of capable contenders on the home front

Ireland’s David Harte could now be fit for the World Cup in India. Photo: Freddie Parkinson/Inpho

Goalkeeper was originally thought to be out but injury is not as bad as it was first thought

Argentina’s Martin Landajo during training at  UCD, Dublin, ahead of their match against Ireland on Saturday. Photograph:   Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Scrumhalf says Argentina have found right balance and are well primed for clash

Garry Ringrose scores Ireland’s seventh try against Italy during the victory over Italy at Solider Field, Chicago.  Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Chicago exploits soon consigned to history as Argentina challenge looms large

Garry Ringrose talks to the media at Carton House on Monday after arriving back from Chicago. Photograph:  Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Centre believes Pumas have continued to improve since joining Rugby Championship

Danny Cipriani: few have doubted  his unsettling problems have stymied a career. Photograph:  Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Gloucester’s mercurial outhalf is a more complex individual than litany of off-field issues show

 Leinster’s Sean Cronin scoring a try against Wasps in the province’s 52-3 win in their Champions Cup opener at the RDS last Friday. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

‘He’s frustrated. He obsesses over his game . . . that’s the way it should be,’ says coach

Cian Healy is an injury concern ahead of Leinster’s trip to play Toulouse. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty

Jamison Gibson-Park has returned to Leinster training while Leavy must prove fitness

Munster’s Joey Carbery in training ahead of the province’s Champions Cup opener with Exeter Chiefs. Photograph:   Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Province likely to struggle against English opponents that have won last six games

Jack McGrath celebrates scoring Leinster’s  eighth try with team-mates during the Heineken Champions Cup match against Wasps at the RDS. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Early faults soon gave way to some stunning rugby as Wasps feel the sting

Lima Sopoaga: “I do think that things are starting to change and players are starting to wise up. They realise that it’s a business these days.” Photograph: Joe Allison/Inpho/Photosport

Two-year deal worth over €1.7m proved irresistible for new Wasps outhalf

The job spec does not say whether the indoor players selected to play can come from the outdoor team or if they are a squad of specialist indoor international players. Photograph: Yiorgos Karahalis/Reuters

‘Voluntary’ status of the position will automatically rule out many top coaches

Jarrad Butler: “I’ve been learning on the fly a little bit.” Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Australian ‘firecracker’ looking to fill John Muldoon-sized hole against Bordeaux Bègles

Rory Best and Rob Herring. The Ireland captain’s return is a major boost for Ulster as they face Connacht. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Province will be eager to produce the required response after the Munster mauling

 Paul Gleghorne of Ireland played against his brother, Mark, who lined out for Great Britain. Photograph:  Jan Kruger/Getty Images

As in rugby, the Troubles had a profound effect on the sport within Ireland

Sevu Reece:  the Fijian winger was fined but discharged without conviction after a domestic violence incident in which he left his girlfriend with injuries to her face. Photograph: Kerry Marshall/Getty Images

Sevu Reece case show Twitter and Instagram are final judges of a player’s moral standing

Leinster celebrate last season’s Guinness Pro14 final win over Scarlets at the Aviva Stadium. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

The yearly clash continues to capture the imagination of the rugby public

 Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth and Brooke Koepka attend the press conference of the losing USA team after Europe won the Ryder Cup  at Le Golf National in Saint Quentin-en-Yvelines, outside Paris. Photograph: Alastair Grant/AP

McGinley says Americans would be wiser to keep the recriminations in-house

Joey Carbery has played  267 minutes for Munster so far this season. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Johnny Sexton and Joey Carbery both likely to be rested for heavyweight clash

James Ryan is set to return to Leinster training this week. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Sean O’Brien also came through Leinster’s win over Connacht with no issues

Peter Robinson with a photograph of his son Benjamin. Photograph: Stuart Wallace

Benjamin Robinson died from second impact syndrome during a match in 2011

Departed Ireland head coach Craig Fulton. Photo: Gary Carr/Inpho

Dutch experience of Cox will be useful as Ireland face into four nation competition

Ronan Gormley has announced his retirement from international hockey. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Defender captained side 111 times and made more than 250 Green Machine appearances

Munster scrumhalf Conor Murray’s last match was against Australia on June 23rd, almost exactly three months ago. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Saying less about state of health set to become norm as players seek to protect careers

Sport Ireland chief executive John Treacy: “For the IOC to be pushing for Russia to be reinstated, it is wrong and it fundamentally undermines what we are all trying to do in terms of clean sport.” Photograph:     Cathal Noonan/Inpho

International Olympic Committee took ‘weak stand’ against Russia, says Treacy

Cian Healy: ‘It’s more enjoyable. It’s a more talented game now. There’s so much focus on skill and being tactically able to break teams down.’ Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Second coming for Ireland’s loosehead prop as rugby embraces his faster, dynamic style

 Will Spencer of Leicester   tackles  Tommy Taylor of Wasps at the Ricoh Arena, in Coventry, UK. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Geordan Murphy’s remark on Leicester red card comes amid new focus on head injuries

Leinster’s Dan Leavy could return to action this weekend for their Pro14 encounter with Edinburgh. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Ireland international injured his sternum in the second Test win over Australia in June

Ulster’s John Cooney: “If you’re happy in your environment then I think it makes a big difference on the pitch.”  Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Ulster player’s rise will liberate Schmidt’s thinking around scrumhalf and 10 positions

Owen Farrell and Jonathan Sexton during the British & Irish Lions tour to New Zealand last year. Last season Farrell played 944 minutes more than Sexton did. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

World Rugby's dire warning likely directed at England players in Premiership

Thomas Barr, Irish Olympian and Irish Life Health Ambassador, is pictured at the 2018 Irish Life Health Schools Fitness Challenge. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Irish runner got his hands on a European medal this summer and is now looking higher

Max Deegan, Caelan Doris, Jordi Murphy and Josh van der Flier are just four of Ireland’s extensive backrow options. Photos: Inpho

Who gets a spot on the plane to Japan for the World Cup next year is anyone’s guess

Adam Byrne during a Leinster training session in Donnybrook. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

‘It would be nice to someday test it against some of the southern hemisphere clubs’

  Geordan Murphy   has been appointed interim head coach of Leicester Tigers following the departure of director of rugby Matt O’Connor. Photograph: David Rogers/Getty Images

Former Leicester player is one of many Irish men coaching around the world

A general view of Flushing Meadows. Photograph: Corey Sipkin/EPA

18-year-old beats Russia’s Anastasia Tikhonova in straight sets with Japan’s Naho Sato next

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