John Leahy in action against Kilkenny in the 1991 All-Ireland hurling final. It was to be the only time Leahy faced Kilkenny in the final during his long career. Photograph: Inpho

Tipperary great on hurling, Tipp, Kilkenny and the life lessons learned along the way

Brian Cody: The message he has communicated to 20 years  of Kilkenny hurling teams clearly travels into the deepest recesses of their brains and their souls. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Faces may change but the team still bears their remarkable manager's stamp

Republic of Ireland  manager Mick McCarthy said James McCarthy  needs some Premier League football in his legs to secure a first-team spot with Ireland. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Crystal Palace midfielder returns to Ireland squad but first-team spot not guaranteed

Kerry’s Tommy Walsh and Frank Burns of Tyrone during their All-Ireland SFC semi-final at  Croke Park on Sunday. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

His presence gave Kerry’s full forward line a new shape and Tyrone’s defenders a fresh worry

 Dublin’s Brian Fenton celebrates scoring his  goal. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

No team could have lived with Dublin’s show of collective power on Saturday evening

Dublin’s Con O’Callaghan collides with Rob Hennelly of Mayo. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

All-Ireland champions lay waste to Mayo's dreams with impressive third quarter salvo

In 2003 Tyrone whipped themselves into a welter of energy and fury and blindly crowded whatever player in green and gold happened to have the football. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Manner of the seminal 2003 semi-final victory established a keen rivalry that would last a decade

  Mayo’s Fionn McDonagh surrounded by fans after the victory over Donegal at MacHale Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

The loyal army of Mayo fans are heading for Croke Park and another date with Dublin – and destiny

Mat Donovan leads his Knocknagow team in a game of hurling in the earliest surviving footage of hurling on film (Knocknagow, Film Company of Ireland, 1918)

The presentation of Gaelic games from short films in the US to TV deals of the modern day

Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea and Chris Barrett celebrate after the victory over Mayo in Castlebar. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Donegal feel the pain in the evening rain, as Mayo set-up semi-final showdown

  Mayo manager James Horan celebrates at the final  whistle following the victory over Donegal at McHale Park in Castlebar. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Mayo contingent looking forward to another big date at Croke Park

 Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea and Chris Barrett celebrate after the game. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Long road leads back to Croke Park after Super 8s win over Donegal

Mayo’s Martin Carney is blocked down by Dublin’s Barney Rock during the 1985 All-Ireland semi-final replay. Photograph: Inpho

‘I would love to see Mayo win an All-Ireland,’ says proud Donegal native who served both counties with distinction

 David Clarke celebrates after Mayo’s victory over Galway in round four of the football qualifiers  at the LIT Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Sideline Cut: The worst fears of the anti-Sky lobby will come to pass in Castlebar

Boris Johnson waves the Olympic flag before passing it over  to IOC President Jacques Rogge, who passes it to Mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes during the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. Photograph:  Paul Gilham/Getty Images

Tory leader entered the subconscious of the British public, disarming everyone as he went

Hogan the figurehead on a new, young Kilkenny side that is learning on the hoof

Dublin’s Dean Rock scores a goal during the Super 8s victory over Roscommon at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Gulf in class apparent as once again champions ease into All-Ireland semi-finals

Dublin’s Michael Darragh Macauley fires home  a goal against Roscommon at Croke Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Gavin says champions won’t alter their approach for visit to Tyrone

The Roscommon players after the game. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

If it were boxing, throwing in the white towel would have been the right thing to do

Shaun Patton celebrates following Donegal’s victory over Cavan in the Ulster final. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Former soccer goalkeeper’s prodigious kickouts a huge factor in his side’s game plan

Rory McIlroy  reacts on the 6th tee during the second round of the 148th Open Championship  at Royal Portrush on Friday. Photograph:  Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Sideline Cut: The Northern Irishman struggled to reconnect with his 16-year-old self

Jack Nicklaus of the USA waves to the crowd as he stands on the Swilcan bridge in his last British Open. Photograph:  Richard Heathcote/Getty

Major record holder believes Rory McIlroy still has his best golf ahead of him

Cavan’s Ciaran Brady tackles Peter Harte of Tyrone during their All-Ireland SFC round 4 qualifier at St Tiernach’s Park, Clones, Co Monaghan on Saturday. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Mickey Harte: ‘I don’t think any of the three he got were anything close to a black card’

Tyrone’s Mattie Donnelly is tackled by Conor Brady. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Mickey Harte’s side dazzle in the sun as they deliver an ominous masterclass in efficiency

Kevin Walsh: he reversed a loose, drifting era of Galway football since he took the helm as manager. They have won two Connacht titles since and contested a league final. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Victory over Mayo and a place in the Super 8s will make the season look a lot different

Aidan O’Shea’s Mayo take on Galway on Saturday night. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Cork face Laois and Cavan take on Tyrone before Connacht rivals clash in Limerick

Down could find themselves without any opportunity to play the top teams and to learn and improve as they go. How does that help Down?  Photograph: Philip Magowan/Inpho

It’s hard to see how it would improve the lot of those counties destined to feature in it

Limerick’s Aaron Gillane celebrates with fans after the victory over Tipperary in the Munster SHC Final at the  LIT Gaelic Grounds. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

All-Ireland champions show remarkable transformation from round-robin meeting

Limerick players and coaching staff celebrate winning the Munster SHC Final against Tipperary. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

John Kiely’s young team tear apart Tipperary’s attacking apparatus in momentous performance

Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy and selector Eamon O’Shea. It is precisely because they are such different people that the pairing are so intriguing. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Tipp getting their house in order has been put down to a special management blend

Donegal’s Paddy McGrath lifts the Anglo-Celtic Cup with his daughter Isla Rose after beating Cavan in the Ulster Football Championship final in St Tiernach’s Park, Clones, Co. Monaghan. Photograph:  Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Side lift their tenth Ulster championship title on day Manus Kelly tragically dies in rally event

Donegal manager Declan Bonner celebrates  with Jamie Brennan after the victory over Cavan in the Ulster SFC Final in Clones. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

‘We let Tyrone back into it as well . . . so we don’t want to concede those scores’

Donegal’s Michael Murphy lifts the Anglo Celtic Cup after their Ulster SFC Final victory over Cavan at  St Tiernach’s Park in  Clones. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Despite scoring 2-11 in the second half, Cavan never seriously worried Donegal

Ulster final day in Clones: Fermanagh Street is almost certainly the only place on earth where you can stand in the one spot and hear, on loud speaker, Hall & Oates and Barleycorn simultaneously. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Keith Duggan’s Sideline Cut: No clear or compelling idea has emerged as to what should replace four provincial finals

Stephen King, Damien O’Reilly and Fintan Cahill celebrate Cavan’s victory in the Ulster football final in 1997. File photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ulster royalty slowly rediscovering their swagger after just one title in last 50 years

Kerry manager Peter Keane is without James O’Donoghue for the Munster final. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Ronan McCarthy’s underdogs must win possession to have any chance of causing upset

Conor Moynagh, has availed of the license Mickey Graham, has given him to burst forward. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Donegal are less reliant on Michael Murphy and will be confident of retaining championship

Roscommon’s Enda Smith celebrates with supporters after the Connacht final victory over Galway at Pearse Stadium. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho

Galway surrender their Connacht title following inexplicable second-half collapse

Roscommon’s Cathal Cregg celebrates winning his third Connacht title. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Rossies claim second Connacht title in three years as Galway score twice in second half

Paddy Jackson in action for Perpignan against Lyon in  a  French Top 14 clash at  the Aimé Giral Stadium in Perpignan, southern France. Photograph: Raymond Roig/AFP/Getty Images

Diageo decision to end London Irish sponsorship reignites controversy

 Roscommon manager  John Tobin, celebrates at the end of the game after victory over Mayo in the 2001 Connacht final at Dr Hyde Park. Photograph: David Maher/Sportsfile

History shows the Rossies can never be taken for granted in the Connacht championship

Tiernan McCann, right,  appears to make contact with  Donegal’s Stephen McMenamin’s mouth guard in  a controversial incident  during the Ulster championship clash at Kingspan Breffni Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Bonner’s young side take huge stride forward with a confident dismissal of Tyrone

Donegal’s Jamie Brennan celebrates scoring a goal during the Ulster SFC semi-final against  Tyrone at Kingspan Breffni Park. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Tyrone never fully recovered after Peter Harte was sent off on a black card

Ada Hegerberg: The Ballon d’Or winner and Olympique Lyonnais and Norway star will miss the greatest showpiece for the women’s game in France. Photograph:  Trond Tandberg/Getty Images

Norwegian star making a stand against the lack of equality for women’s teams

Donegal manager Declan Bonner with Tyrone manager Mickey Harte - can we expect both or either to be attack minded on Saturday afternoon? Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Suddenly, the Ulster championship finds itself at the height of fashion and celebrated

  Golden State Warriors point guard Stephen Curry   speaks with Davidson head coach Bob McKillop prior to Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals  in Oakland, California. Photograph: Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

The young Curry was considered too small to succeed. His college coach thought differently

 Glenn Whelan reacts after the final whistle of the Euro 2020 qualifier against Denmark in Copenhagen. Photograph:   Bradley Collyer/PA Wire

Glenn Whelan shows again why he still has a part to play in Ireland’s midfield

Republic of Ireland Manager Mick McCarthy during training. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Captain unfazed by Denmark’s ‘tactic’ of criticising Ireland’s conservative style of play

Armagh’s Niall Grimley is challenged by  Pádraig Faulkner and Conor Brady of Cavan during the Ulster SFC semi-final at  St Tiernach’s Park in  Clones. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Ulster rivals must do it again next Sunday after 90 frenetic minutes in Clones

Irish featherweight boxer Barry McGuigan in his hometown of Clones, Co Monaghan, in 1984. He is posing astride the Border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Photograph: Michael Brennan/Getty

Book review: Donald McRae’s exceptional dive into Ulster boxing is dark, funny and vital

Armagh’s Paul McGrane lifts the trophy after victory over Fermanagh in the Ulster football final replay in 2008. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Kieran McGeeney’s side looking for consecutive victories in Ulster for first time since 2008

Jurgen Klopp: Champions League success would provide  a fitting climax to an extraordinary effort by  Liverpool over the course of a memorable season.  Photograph: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Unlike their heroic title battle with City, second place will be nothing on this occasion

Referee Johnny Murphy banishes Wexford manager Davy Fitzgerald to the stand during the Leinster championship clash against Galway at Salthill. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Leinster championship still wide open after Model County’s second successive draw

Galway’s David Glennon is blocked by Wexford’s Mark Fanning in the final stages of the Leinster SHC round-robin at  Pearse Stadium in Salthill. Photograph:  Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Wexford finish the stronger and are unlucky again to share the points

Michael Jordan: when the NBA finals start next week, it is hard to imagine Jordan not seething at the idea that a figure like Steph Curry is the contemporary ‘him’ of the NBA. Photograph: Mike Powell/Allsport

Brutal conditions in which Jordan thrived now a thing of the past in sanitised NBA

Dublin manager Jim Gavin. His  calmness and measured tone has been a vital bulwark against hysteria and getting-ahead-of-oneself. But he is still only one man and one voice in a big city. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Short of the Dublin back line scoring own goals, it’s impossible to see how Louth will respond

A melee breaks out during the All-Ireland qualifier clash between  Fermanagh and  Donegal in June 2001. Donegal avenged an earlier defeat in the Ulster championship with a 0-15 to 1-6 win at Brewster Park. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho

‘It will be a cauldron’ says champions’ boss Bonner of the Brewster Park showdown

Sligo’s Darragh Cumminsis challenged by  Eoghan Kerin and Gareth Bradshaw of Galway during the Connacht SFC semi-final at  Markievicz Park. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho

Five-minute spell after half-time showed up the difference in class between the sides

Long-time Sunday Game panellists Pat Spillane, Des Cahill and Ger Loughnane. ‘It’s unlikely that either oratorical maestro could deliver the word manly with the same semantic and emotional freight as Loughnane in full flow.’  File photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Former players are forever ‘alluding’ to inequality without addressing what causes it

Limerick manager John Kiely is quick to acknowledge the smoothness with which his squad has adjusted to the routine of week-in-week-out hurling. Óisín Keniry/Inpho

If youth defined the championship victory, then maturity is hallmark of their attitude now

Man City Pep Guardiola   and Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp react on the sidelines in January. Photograph: Getty Images

Final day could produce something as unbelievable as the Champions League

Galway players reflect at the end of last season’s All-Ireland defeat to Limerick. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Beaten finalists will embark on All-Ireland campaign without Joe Canning

Veteran manager giving his all in a bid to help revive the Faithful County’s fortunes

Gaelic Park in New York: With delightful perversity, the GAA   chooses to start its revered competition just a puck of the ball from Buckingham Palace and 3,000 miles away, in New York City.  Photograph:  Andy Marlin/Inpho

April proved nothing short of a living hell. The void was enough to turn fans to drink. Or even yoga

Martin Sheridan throws the discus on his way to winning the event at the 1908 London Olympics. Photo: Topical Press Agency/Getty Images

Not much was known about strongman from Bohola who was a sporting superstar

Paul Pogba applauding United  fans after the City match at Old Trafford. He  has become emblematic of Manchester United’s new status as a lost football club. Photograph: Reuters/Phil Noble

United have one of most expensive footballers in the world, and they don’t know what to do with him

New York native Shane Hogan celebrates scoring a goal against Leitrim last year. Photograph: Andy Marlin/Inpho

Justin O’Halloran’s team have been desperately unlucky over the last three years

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola reacts as he discovers  Raheem Sterling’s late goal against Tottenham, that would have sealed his side’s progress to the semi-final, was ruled out for offside.   Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Guardiola and his side endure a harrowing night when fate proved a cruel mistress

Former FAI chief executive John Delaney chose to operate as a classical Irish politician. File photograph: Laura Hutton/The Irish Times

Projection of power was former FAI chief’s greatest trick – that has disappeared

John Delaney at the Aviva Stadium for the recent European qualifier against Georgia. Photograph: Tom Honan for The Irish Times.

Reform agenda needs much than examination of former CEO’s financial arrangements

Mayo’s Fergal Boland celebrates by throwing the trophy in the air after the victory over Kerry in the Allianz Football League Division 1 Final at Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

James Horan’s side win first league title since 2001; Limerick add league title to All-Ireland

Kerry manager Peter Keane before the Allianz League Division One final against Mayo. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

For Mayo it’s a big win in the Croke Park house of pain but the biggest is still to come

Kerry’s Mark Griffin tackles Matthew Ruane of Mayo in their Allianz Football League Division 1 match in  Austin Stack Park, Tralee on March 16th. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Sideline cut: Mayo have seen a sea-change since All-Ireland loss to Kerry in 2006

Seán Bán Breathnach: “I was lucky,” he declares more than once

Sports, music and Irish broadcaster Seán Bán Breathnach on luck, risk and the craic

Monaghan’s Conor McManus with Chris Barrett and Brendan Harrison of Mayo during the Allianz  Football League Division 1 match at  Elverys MacHale Park in Castlebar. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Written off after a dreadful Croke Park show, James Horan’s men are now motoring

Declan Rice: “As you can hear, I am English. It was really good playing for Ireland. Now I’m just looking forward to the future and putting on an English shirt.” Photograph:    Martin Rickett/PA

Young man’s decision is entirely rational and Irish football shouldn’t appear so desperate

Mayo’s Robert Hennelly against Dublin. Morgan Treacy/INPHO

James Horan enjoys the luxury of having two top-class goalkeepers in his panel

Tralee Warriors’ head coach Pat Price: “I think Irish basketball is comfortable in its own skin. We know what the numbers are on the ground.”  Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Tralee Warriors and UCD will square off in back-to-back games in 24 hours on the closing weekend of the season

Those lucky enough to be in the Millennium Stadium instinctively know that they are participating in one of the enduring rites of passage in their country: Wales in a spring-time Six Nations game with everything on the line. Photograph: Getty Images

Fear CVC simply wants money is like worrying that a shark simply wants to move and eat

Corofin’s Ciaran McGrath and Micheal Lundy  after defeating  Nemo Rangers of Cork  in the 2018 club final in Croke Park.   Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

The prolonged success of the defending All-Ireland club champions is based on youth

Stephen O’Hanlon: has been a bright spot for Monaghan throughout a series of tough results since the opening win over Dublin. Photograph: Lorcan Doherty /Inpho

Monaghan bidding to halt the slide in relegation four-pointer against Cavan

Philippe Saint-André of France about to score a try during the last match of the Five Nations tournament at Twickenham in March 1991. England won the match 21-19. Photograph: Simon Bruty/Getty Images

Ireland are as reliable as the Revenue, but there could be a burst of French spontaneity

Offaly line up for the Allianz  League clash against Laois in O’Moore Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Offaly face a huge relegation playoff against Carlow as they bid to halt a stark decline

Dublin’s Con O’Callaghan with Ronan Daly of Roscommon during the Allianz Football League Division One clash in Roscommon. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Jim Gavin’s side were made to work hard for this victory which came in the heavy rain

Dublin’s Ciarán Whelan and Pádraic Flynn of Leitrim in their  All-Ireland football qualifier round two match in July 2004. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Fifteen years ago, Dublin did not seem to be the unbeatable monolith they have become

Pat Horgan: In the years since making his debut since 2008, he has been a constant leader in  in red for Cork through days good and bad. Photograph: Ryan  Byrene/Inpho

Cork’s all-time top scorer in championship hurling has long been a model of consistency

Galway’s Eoghan Kerin and Tommy Walsh of Kerry exchange words during their Allianz Football League Division 1 match at  Tuam Stadium on Sunday. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

The Kingdom prodigy – now aged 30 – is glad to be back after a three-year absence

Galway’s Ciaran Duggan with Mark Griffin and Sean O’Shea of Kerry during their Allianz League Division One encounter. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Kingdom put in huge effort to see off Galway in Tuam and maintain 100 per cent record

 Aaron Gillane is on Fitzgibbon Cup duty with Mary Immaculate College against UCC and will be rested for Limerick’s game against Cork on Sunday. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Tipperary and Kilkenny both in need of a positive result in Thurles showdown

Michael Ryan, Liam Sheedy and Eamon O’Shea lift the Liam McCarthy Cup after the All-Ireland final victory over Kilkenny in 2010 which denied the Cats a famed five-in-a-row. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Empathetic insights of players’ man will add further ballast to Premier coaching ticket

A victory would exceed any of the glorious days Ole Gunnar Solskjaer  enjoyed at Old Trafford as a player.

Scupper the Scousers and the job could be his, defeat by them and it’s not so certain

Galway’s Sean Bleahene and Darragh O’Connell of Dublin. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

After the minor shock of a draw in Carlow, Galway bossed this division 1B encounter

John Morrison opened the gates to alternative approaches and thinking. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

He was an evangelist, indifferent to the mainstream, charismatic and confident

Gweedore’s Peter McGee, Niall Friel and Christopher McFadden celebrate at the final whistle against Scotstown in the Ulster final. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

The Donegal club’s rise this season has gone hand in hand with personal tragedies

Tyrone win the contested hop ball that was an initally given as a free-in to Roscommon. Photograph: Evan Logan/Inpho

The hosts had a tap-over winner changed to a throw-in for a retaliation in injury time

Ireland’s James Ryan and Conor Murray after the defeat  to England at the Aviva. Photograph: Tom Honan

‘I knew we were f****d the minute I heard them talking about a ‘double Grand Slam’ on Marian’

Séamus O’Rourke starring in the Quare Land. Photo: Leitrim Observer

Playwright and actor discusses how his homeland and its GAA is so central to his life

Shane  Golden’s return to full fitness will add another dimension to Clare in the championship. Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho

Sixmilebridge man impresses at midfield in victory over Kilkenny

Clare’s John Conlon scored 1-1 against Kilkenny. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Kevin Kelly punished a succession of untidy defensive fouls to keep his team in the contest

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady  at the Superbowl media centre  in Atlanta, Georgia, on January 31st, 2019.  Photograph: Timothy A Clary/AFP/Getty Images

‘Afterthought’ in the 2000 NFL draft has gone on to dominate and become an icon

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