Loyalty to place: among of the few things that do bring at least some young people back home are sport and team. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Sideline Cut: The Cabinet’s visit to Sligo only showed the foreign world they live in

Bernard Brogan: his experience and guile invaluable  when Dublin  need a forward whose brilliance lies in turning a match on nothing moments. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

For all their strength in depth, champions may miss a finisher of his proven class

Mayo’s David Clarke with Galway captain Damien Comer  in the Allianz Football League Division One match at Pearse Stadium, Galway on Sunday. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Full-forward leads Galway to substantial league win over Mayo on Sunday

Mayo’s David Clarke tackles Damien Comer of Galway. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Both O’Connor brothers see red for Mayo as Paul Conroy is sent off for Galway at Salthill

North Korean cheerleaders await the start of the opening ceremony at the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics. Photograph: Jorge Silva/Reuters

Sports and stories a kind of front for diplomatic shadow dance in the background

Galway captain Kieran Fitzgerald leads his team out to face Mayo in the Connacht SFC final of 2007.  Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Former manager John O’Mahony calls it ‘A fierce rivalry but with great respect’

Mayo’s Brendan Harrison attempts to get to grips with Kerry’s Paul Geaney on Saturday night in McHale Park. Photograph: Inpho/John McVitty

Introducing new talent and strengthening squad is Kerry manager’s priority

Mayo’s Shane Nally in action against  Kerry’s Paul Geaney and Sean O’Shea during Kerry hard-fought 1-15 to  2-09 victory. Photograph: John McVitty/Inpho

Manager says side ‘showed good discipline in last 10 minutes in particular to see it out’

 Mayo’s Eoin O’Donoghue and Kerry’s Shane Enright scuffle. Photograph; John McVitty/Inpho

Positive, impudent and fearless - Kingdom’s young guns shoot down venerable Mayo

Glory days: Jean-Pierre Rives during France’s Five Nations rugby match against Ireland in 1984. Photograph: Philippe Wojazer/AFP/Getty

Sideline Cut: Keith Duggan on the magical inventiveness of French rugby in the 1980s

Donegal’s Odhrán Mac Niallais. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Allianz League football preview: Mayo’s boys of summer set to dazzle against Kerry

Tiernan McCann: “Next week is going to be a different ball game altogether. So we are going to have to refocus. And it is going to take a massive effort.”  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Chastening defeat to Galway has already already upped the ante for Mickey Harte’s men

Galway and Tyrone players scuffle suring the Allianz  League Division One game at  Tuam Stadium. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Newcomer's skipper Damien Comer sets the tone with goal after 22 seconds in Tuam

Mark E Smith: The Fall’s unyielding frontman and the great contrarian of England’s music. Photograph: Kevin Cummins/Getty

The Fall frontman, who died this week, was an avid Manchester City fan and contrarian

 Jason Killeen (left): Trying to co-ordinate a national programme and commit to Superleague basketball with Templeogue is as demanding as anything he has done in the game.  Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Templeogue player knows what it takes after brushing shoulders with basketball greats

Mickey Harte: “I don’t know does anyone really listen authentically to what people like him [Brolly] say.” Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

‘The barking dog won’t bite you because he is just barking all the time’

Harte on Tyrone 2018: “Maybe it’s a question of judging this generation on what they have achieved and not what they have failed to achieved.”

Long-serving manager talks about the good and bad times and shaping his mark III Tyrone team

Cathal Cregg has returned for early season training after missing last year’s championship. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Sleeping giants Cork need to wake up as Roscommon seek a return to the top

The Hawthorns: Cyrille Regis at the West Bromwich Albion ground in 1984. Photograph: David Cannon/Allsport/Getty

Sideline Cut: The late footballer’s importance far transcends mere goals and caps

Martin O’Neill with FAI CEO John Delaney. Both sides should decide if the current relationship is to continue. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Current limbo concerning the manager of the national team wholly untenable

 Runners cross the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge at the start of the  New York City Marathon in  Brooklyn. Photograph:  Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

Your heart is pure and you’re fired with good intentions: this is going to be the year

Floyd Mayweather  lands a punch against Conor McGregor during the 10th round of their fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in  August. Photograph: Bridget Bennett/The New York Times

Keith Duggan looks back at the year through the lens of a day in July

If there was an abiding image of the final it was of Connolly, supposedly the hot-head, getting up from the ground and gesturing to his team-mates to relax, that everything was under control. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Rivals Mayo, Tyrone and Kerry must hunker down again and plan to stem the blue tide

 Aly  Raisman (R) of the United States is congratulated by Simone Biles (L) after competing on the Women’s Floor final  at the  2016 Olympic Games in Rio. Photograph:  Julian Finney/Getty Images

Ex-US Olympic gymnast suffered gravely at the hands of ‘decorated’ team doctor Larry Nassar

Tiger Woods  walks off of the 18th green after his return to competitive action during the first round of the Hero World Challenge at Albany, Bahamas. Photograph:  Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Is the multiple-Major winner really about to produce the unlikeliest of second comings?

Mona McSharry in training at Ballyshannon Leisure Centre, Co Donegal. Photograph: James Connolly

All those early mornings in the pool are paying off for Sligo’s world junior champion

Corofin players celebrate their Connacht senior club football championship final win over Castlebar Mitchels at Tuam Stadium. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Hard-earned win over Castlebar will steel Connacht champions for All-Ireland series

Aidan O’Reilly of Nemo Rangers lifts the trophy at Páirc Uí Rinn after his team defeated All-Ireland club champions Dr Crokes to win the Munster SFC  final.  Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Sun shines on Cork football as Killarney side carved open in impressive Nemo dispay

Corofin players celebrate after winning the Connacht final. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Despite being outplayed for long periods, the Mayo champions gave everything to force ET

Nobody wants to think about politicians in December, let alone have them materialise at their front doors on those evenings when the plum puddings are in the oven.

Politicians will be lucky to escape with their scalps if they darken people’s doorsteps

Dublin’s Noelle Healy and Lydsey Davey celebrate at the final whistle after the victory over Mayo in the  All-Ireland final  at Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Inspirational story of Dublin’s quest for All-Ireland glory this year a tale well told

Those in the smaller crowd on Tuesday night, the one that stayed to see the wrecked Irish players leave the field, can at least say: I was there, all the way. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

O’Neill’s side fell apart – and that is why it was vital supporters remained part of the crowd

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill during the second leg against Denmark. Photograph: Action Images via Reuters/Lee Smith

Ireland manager hopes players will ‘come back and fight’ but says some likely to retire

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen scores their second goal past Darren Randolph in the World Cup qualifying playoff win over Ireland. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

Martin O’Neill to consider future after 5-1 drubbing saw Ireland crash out at playoff stage

Wes Hoolahan and Jeff Hendrick during training ahead of the Republic of Ireland’s showdown against Denmark. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Qualification trumps all for Martin O’Neill but on Tuesday a draw might not be enough

Denmark manager Age Hareide and Danish forward Nicklas Bendtner shake hands with  referee Milorad Mazic at the Parken stadium on Saturday.  Photograph:  Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

James McClean and Harry Arter luckily avoid bookings, but talk will turn to Wes Hoolahan

Darren Randolph makes a late save in the World Cup playoff in Copenhagen. Photograph: James Crombie

Martin O’Neill’s team frustrate Danes in first leg and trust in Dublin deliverance

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill  with assistant Roy Keane during the  World Cup qualifying playoff first leg match at the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen.  Photograph: Niall Carson/PA Wire

Ireland boss: ‘It was tough going. We’ve just got to win the game on Tuesday now’

Republic of Ireland goalkeeper  Darren Randolph with kit man Dick Redmond after the  World Cup playoff first leg against Denmark at the the Parken stadium. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Fireworks before the kick-off were not matched at the Parken stadium

Christian Eriksen  celebrates after scoring in a friendly against Germany  in Brondby, Denmark, on June 6th, 2017. Photograph:  Getty Images

Christian Eriksen’s emergence is all about a singular talent brilliantly guided

James McClean: his leg tattoo reads “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can,  and wisdom to know the difference.” Photograph: Charles McQuillan/Getty

Sideline Cut: The Derry footballer brings the tang of his home city to Copenhagen

Denmark manager Åge Hareide: “We know the Irish are physical but they are not dirty.” Photograph: Anders Kjaerbye/EPA

Scoreless draw would be a good result for Ireland, says Christian Eriksen

  Martin O’Neill an Roy Keane at the Parken Stadium. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Ireland expects: “We are ready. We have done our homework and are prepared”

“Oh, to be a fly on the deluxe interior on the day when Sir Clive Woodward, stuck in one of those eternal traffic jams outside MacHale Park, would have rolled down the window of the Rolls-Royce to have a local steward advising him that it was ‘bananas’ on the Lawn Road.” Photograph: Dean Treml/Getty Images

It would have required real imagination for World Rugby to see things the Irish way

Simon Zebo: He’s 27 and has a young family and  maybe four or five years left at the peak of a professional life in a brutal sport. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Other top players opting to stay with their provinces to keep their Irish careers alive

Rory O’Connor: Wexford’s promising  19-year-old was  in exceptional form during St Martin’s triumphant run to the county senior hurling title. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Wexford’s new hurling champions aiming to complete rare double in county football final

 Roscommon footballer Enda Smith pictured the launch of AIB’s four-part miniseries, Behind The Gates at St Audoen’s Gate in Dublin.  Photograph:  Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Discredited financial institutions no longer share the ethos or values of the association

 Captain Bryan Sheehan lifts  the cup after South Kerry’s victory over Killarney Legion in the  Kerry senior football championship final replay in 2015. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Divisional structure ensures players from Kerry's smallest clubs can prosper at elite level

  Incoming Dublin senior hurling manager Pat Gilroy: he implemented a mentality of essential toughness of mind and soul  in Dublin’s senior footballers when he took over in 2009. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Over the past decade things began to go terribly right for Dublin GAA’s county board

Undated painting of boxing pioneer Tom Molineaux.

Tom Molineaux’s strange life story is every bit as fascinating as his career as a pugilist

 Darren Randolph makes one of his  second-half saves in Cardiff. Photograph: Inpho/Ryan Byrne

Middlesbrough goalkeeper believes Ireland will not fear any playoff opponents

James McClean celebrates after his strike gave Ireland a 1-0 win over Wales in Cardiff and a place in the World Cup qualification play-offs. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho.

Victory deepens O’Neill’s reputation for producing huge results against tough sides

Martin O’Neill saw his Ireland side qualify for the World Cup playoffs thanks to a 1-0 win over Wales in Cardiff. Photograph: Geoff Caddick/AFP

Martin O’Neill’s side deliver another performance of limitless bravery and passion

Wales and the Republic of Ireland line up before the clash in the Aviva Stadium which ended a scoreless draw last March. Photograph:  Ian Walton/Getty Images

Welsh fans see game as a kind of coronation for a golden generation of footballers

Chris Coleman gives instructions to Aaron Ramsey: “We always have a game plan and our players are very good at executing it.”  Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Former Fulham manager has overseen a dramatic improvement in Welsh fortunes

Roy Keane: For a man who has been so consistently scathing of the FAI, he has worn a lot of their track suits. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Long campaign comes down to Monday night’s smash-and-grab mission in Wales

Colm Cooper celebrates Kerry’s win over Cork in the 2007 All-Ireland final.  Photographer: Dara Mac Dónaill

Autobiography reveals skilful Kingdom hero was also a contrary, raging competitor

 Daryl Murphy  scores his   second goal against Moldova. Photograph: Brendan Moran/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Martin O’Neill must now go for broke against Wales in Cardiff on Monday night

San Francisco 49ers outside linebacker Eli Harold (58), quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) and free safety Eric Reid (35) kneel in protest during the playing of the national anthem before a NFL game against the Arizona Cardinals in Santa Clara, California, in October 2016. Photograph: Kirby Lee

NFL reaction to Donald Trump’s criticism can’t disguise poor treatment of quarterback

James McCarthy, Paul Flynn, Bernard Brogan and Dean Rock: they  all grew up in an era when All-Ireland success routinely eluded Dublin.  Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

But splitting the county should no more be an option in Dublin than it is for Kerry

Mayo stand for the national antheym before the start of the All-Ireland final against Dublin. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

But of all the ‘outsider’ counties, Rochford’s men remain best-placed to win in 2018

All-Ireland champions: Dean Rock kicks Dublin’s winning point against Mayo. Photograph: Ray McManus/Sportsfile via Getty

Champions win 27th All-Ireland – and have Kerry’s record in their sights

Dublin celebrate after narrowly beating Mayo 1-17 to 1-16  in Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Jim Gavin’s men first Dublin team to win three All-Ireland titles in a row since 1923

Jim Gavin: The demeanour – the deliberation, the composure, the never-under-any-circumstances-be-ruffled drives some people around the twist.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

The Dublin manager keeps his emotions in check as his team make 50,000 people go berserk

 Liam O’Neill: “We saw what the success had brought to the people of Mayo and to the guys and the potential was there to push it on to the next stage.” Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

1985 manager Liam O’Neill’s forward thinking stirred something in his adopted county

Mayo’s Diarmuid O’Connor after receiving a cut to his face during the Connacht championship quarter-final against Sligo. at MacHale Park, Castlebar. Photograph: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile/Getty

Ballintubber man says Mayo still striving to ‘nail’ a complete team performance

Stephen Coen: centre-back is his favourite position, but he is comfortable at midfield and has the mobility to do a man-marking job. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Mayo player sometimes starts, but can be held in reserve to put out whatever fires start

Stephen Rochford: “We look to set ourselves up take the game to the opposition – and invariably look to win the bloody game.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

But Mayo revealed their true potential the day they obliterated Roscommon in the replay

Tom Parsons in action in last year’s All-Ireland SFC final replay: “It is absolutely worth it every time you pull on that jersey with the magic support we have” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Dropped from the panel for three years he has made his way back via Cardiff and Dublin

Special moment. Galway manager Micheál Donoghue shows the Liam MacCarthy Cup to his father Miko Donoghue  in Ballinasloe. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Jackie Tyrrell’s new book a revealing insight into Cats’ mindset during the Cody era

Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill on the sideline during the World Cup qualifier against Serbia at the Aviva Stadium. Phortograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Defeat to Serbia leaves Ireland’s World Cup hopes hanging by a thread

Joe Canning of Galway celebrates  at Croke Park in Dublin. Photograph:  (Photo By Eoin Noonan/Sportsfile via Getty Images

From the first whistle in Croke Park, Galway gave a dazzling tirade of near-perfect hurling

Galway’s Johnny Coen lifts the Liam MacCarthy trophy after beating Waterford in the GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Final at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Both teams hungry for win after long wait but Galway’s desire was greater

 Iggy Clarke with a hurley from his playing days at his home in Oranmore. Photograph: Joe O’Shaughnessy

Hustle of hurling hid the former Galway hurler from the solitariness of the priesthood

Blue Sunday: Dublin fans react to Con O’Callaghan’s goal against Tyrone. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Sideline Cut: The All-Ireland relies on the pull of home. Anything else is daft

Francis Forde in action against Dublin in 2002. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Recent years prove resilient Tribesmen have a squad capable of All-Ireland success

Galway’s Pádraig Mannion in action against Tipperary’s Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher. “The next day you’d be hoping for a more complete team performance.”   Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

‘Think of me when you are on the pitch’ the last words legend spoke to defender

Galway GAA: Micheál Donoghue celebrates after victory over Tipperary in the All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park this month. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Donoghue: ‘We sat down, had a chat, and the players knew exactly what we wanted’

David Burke celebrates the semi-final win over Tipperary. “Nobody can complain that Waterford and Galway weren’t the best teams in the championship this year.”  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Captain says battle at midfield could prove pivotal against final rivals Waterford

 Con O’Callaghan fires past Tyrone goalkeeper  Niall Morgan  to score Dublin’s first goal at Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

O’Callaghan’s early goal sets tone as Dublin wreak havoc on Ulster champions’ system

Mayo’s Keith Higgins, Séamus O’Shea, Aidan O’Shea,  Colm Boyle and David Clarke close down Paul Geaney of Kerry during the All-Ireland SFC semi-final replay at Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Stephen Rochford’s side end 21-year-wait to beat Kingdom and reach another final

Floyd Mayweather Jr and Conor McGregor: There’s a small but real possibility that this spectacle could go awry, that it was madnesss to allow a man who doesn’t box go into a ring like this. Photograph: John Locher/AP

Hopefully things won’t go awry and the Dubliner will emerge unharmed from fight

Stephen Rochford: the Mayo manager has been subjected to a barrage of criticism for putting O’Shea on Donaghy. But Kerry’s full-forward line were restricted to just  0-5 from play. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Rochford’s ploy of putting O’Shea on Donaghy could be deemed a partial success

Kerry’s David Moran and Mayo’s Diarmuid O’Connor. Photograph: Inpho/Ryan Byrne

All-Ireland semi-final replay preview: Croke Park, Saturday, 3pm

Donal Vaughan celebrates scoring his  goal against Donegal in 2013. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Misunderstood and almost unnoticed, the defender is whatever his county needs him to be

Pat Hickey, former president of the Olympic Council of Ireland. New president Sarah Keane has pledged to reform the OCI.  Photograph: Alan Betson

Shane Ross needs to back the new OCI leadership for the sake of the athletes

Galway’s manager Michael Donoghue: “He touched many lives,” he said of the  late Tony Keady.  Photograph: INPHO/James Crombie

Galway’s Adrian Touhy and Waterford’s Austin Gleeson eligible for All-Ireland final

Austin Gleeson was at his talismanic best as Waterford beat Cork to reach the All-Ireland SHC final. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Darragh Fives accomplished in Tadhg De Búrca absence, a summer to remember

John McEnroe:   There is a kind of restlessness and searching at the heart of the tennis firebrand’s second autobiography.  Photograph: Jonathan Ford

The tennis hero looks back in middle-aged comfort at life since his punk sporting prime

Michael Meehan: back on the Galway squad afte a hellish four years of struggle with injury. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Michael Meehan and Seán Armstrong were once the bright future of Galway football

Armagh midfielder Niall Grimley has been one of the finds of the championship. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Croke Park hosts the last two football qualifiers and the first two quarter-finals

Mayo native and Roscommon manager  Kevin McStay. Photograph: Inpho/Tommy Dickson

If Kevin McStay’s men win on Sunday, the lights will go out across Mayo in many ways

Wexford’s James Breen in action with Maurice Shanahan of Waterford in Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Photograph:  Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Davy Fitzgerald and Derek McGrath stand up with passion for their teams’ approach

Waterford’s Maurice Shanahan celebrates scoring a point in  the All-Ireland Hurling quarter-final against Wexford at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Tadhg de Búrca’s sending off the only blemish for the Déise in their four point win

Galway’s Damien Comer comes under pressure from  Donegal players Neil McGee and Kieran Gillespie at Markievicz Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Galway sink 13-man Donegal after strong performance from Seán Armstrong

Waterford manager Derek McGrath celebrates after the Wexford game. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Derek McGrath had sensed something of an ambush about the Wexford challenge

Galway’s Johnny Heaney celebrates scoring his second goal in the All-Ireland SFC Round 4A qualifier against Donegal at   Markievicz Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Seán Armstrong’s influence key as Tribesmen seal quarter-final slot

A natural forward, this summer Murphy has been deployed exclusively at midfield

Béla Guttmann: the  flawed, uniquely gifted Benfica coach – shown with journalists in London in 1962 – negotiated a path through the horrors of Nazism. Photograph: Keystone/Hulton/Getty

David Bolchover’s biography of the great Benfica coach is a deeply personal project

Declan D’Arcy celebrates Leitrim’s storied Connacht final win in 1994. Photograph: Tom Honan/Inpho

Fate of smaller counties could befall bigger fish over next few years

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