Ireland’s Jack McGrath in action against the All Blacks at the Aviva in November 2018. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Loosehead prop is fit again following hip operation but remains a work in progress

Dave Kearney will miss Friday night’s clash with the Southern Kings after picking up a concussion in Leinster’s win over Zebre. Photograph:  Matteo Ciambelli/Inpho

Rhys Ruddock and Dan Leavy also remain unavailable for Leinster and Ireland duty

 Kieran Marmion in training ahead of his return to action for Connacht. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho

Coach Andy Friend admits ‘huge challenge’ awaits province who have lost last two games

Zebre head coach Michael Bradley: Italian centre Giulio Bisegni, outhalf Carlo Canna and  two back rowers, Maxime Mbandà and Jimmy Tuivaiti, will start against the league leaders.  Photograph: Alex Davidson/Inpho

Michael Bradley including four Azzurri in squad while Leinster bring in young blood

Kellie Harrington holds her award for  The Irish Times Sport Ireland Sportswoman of the Year  2018. ‘Medals mean nothing to me. I’m just happy about the place I’m in right now, of how happy my family are, the person I’ve become.’ Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

The world lightweight champion from inner city Dublin has taken a rocky road to success

Dave Kearney scores a try against Toulouse during the Heineken Champions Cup clash at the RDS last month. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leinster stalwart winger fit again and keen to target a return to Ireland squad

Monkstown play Annadale on Saturday, and   meet Lisnagarvey at Comber Road in Hillsborough on Sunday

Glenanne face struggling Cork C of I in St Andrews

UK registered players will still be considered ‘European’ after Brexit

Ireland’s Rob Kearney celebrates after beating Scotland in the Six Nations at Murrayfield. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

More creativity is needed, Scotland keep improving, Best never stops and more

 Finn Russell was Scotland’s best player in their nine point defeat to Ireland. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Finn Russell, Josh Strauss and Stuart McInally best for Gregor Townsend’s team

Ireland’s Tadhg Furlong with David Denton and Pete Horne of Scotland during last year’s Six Nations clash at the Aviva Stadium. Ireland won 28-8. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

‘There is so much rugby to be played between now and then,’ says prop Kilcoyne on RWC

Tadhg Furlong: used the ‘A’ word 10 times at the Ireland Rugby Press Conference at Carton House, Co Kildare. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Ireland know it won’t be as easy as ABC at Murrayfield, but they know what they need

Ireland’s Devin Toner picked up an injury during the Six Nations defeat to England and will now miss the clash with Scotland. Photo: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Centre and lock will miss second game after picking up knocks in defeat to England

Ireland’s Peter O’Mahony after Saturday’s Six Nations loss to England. “It is not something that sits well with any of us. It certainly hurt us, the last 48 hours.” Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho.

Vice-captain says Ireland need to focus on performance and not let wounds fester

Ireland  number eight CJ Stander suffered a facial injury during the Six Nations opener against  England. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Injuries to CJ Stander, Keith Earls, Devin Toner and Garry Ringrose could see changes v Scotland

Ireland’s Peter O’Mahony wins a lineout and passes to Conor Murray during the Six Nations match against England. Photograph:   Billy Stickland/Inpho

‘It just shows how good you have to be every week to do something special’

England’s Ben Youngs and Jonny May tackle Robbie Henshaw during the Six Nations match at the Aviva stadium. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Despite his footballing talent a lack of international experience at 15 was exposed

England’s Mako Vunipola tries to shake off an attempted tackle from Ireland’s  Johnny Sexton during the Six Nations match at the Aviva stadium. Photograph: Gary Carr/Inpho

Tadhg Furlong believes Ireland can turn things around after ’reality check’

England’s Jack Nowell celebrates with try scorer Elliot Daly during the Six Nations game against Ireland at the Aviva stadium. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

England coach heaps praise on his players but does not believe result changes much

Ireland Rugby Squad Gym Session, Melbourne, Australia11/6/2018 Andrew Porter Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

The Ireland prop on the Six Nations and powering through on the pitch and in life

England’s Manu Tuilagi in action during the victory over Australia in November. He starts his first Six Nations game in over four years against Ireland.  Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

In his hour of need, Eddie Jones turns to talented if temperamental Leicester man

 Leinster’s Scott Penny evades a tackle from Ulster’s James Hume in a Pro14 clash at the RDS in January. Photograph:  Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Scott Penny, who debuted for Leinster this season, one many new faces in squad

John Mitchell talks to the England players during a training session last year. Photograph:  Dan Mullan/Getty Images

‘Bore the s*** out of us’ barb aimed at Ireland not unusual from the well-travelled Kiwi coach

Simon Zebo during Racing 92’s Heineken Champions Cup clash against Ulster at  Kingspan Stadium, Belfast.  Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Racing 92 winger says he became used to racism on the streets growing up in Ireland

Simon Zebo in action for Racing 92 against Ulster. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Racing 92 winger admits Rugby World Cup hopes would likely hinge on an injury crisis

George Ford has 50 English caps and in 2011 was the first English player to win the IRB Young Player of the Year award. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leicester outhalf ready to put club disappointment behind him for the Six Nations

It took a big second-half performance from Rovers to beat Railway in the final at St Columba’s College last weekend for the Leinster indoor league title, with Jody Hoskins and Ross Carroll netting twice for Rover in the 6-4 win

Rovers face Limerick in the first semi-final , before Railway play Cookstown

Ulster’s Robert Baloucoune scores a try against Leicester Tigers in the Champions Cup. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Former Sevens player has been central so far to province’s success story in Europe

Ulster’s John Cooney celebrates at the final whistle of the Champions Cup game against Leicester at Welford Road. photograph:   Gary Carr/Inpho

Henderson’s early return and Cooney’s late cameo fire Ulster revival against Leicester

Leinster head coach Leo Cullen will hope that his Irish internationals come through the Six Nations unscathed. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Johnny Sexton will go to Portugal with the Irish squad on Monday, Dan Leavy will not

Sean O’Brien returned to the Leinster fold against Wasps. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Leo Cullen’s side secure comfortable bonus-point victory and cement top spot

Ulster’s Robert Baloucoune scores a try during the Champion Cup game against  Leicester at  Welford Road. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

‘We’re in a quarter-final, any of those sides is going to be really tough’

Iain Henderson  celebrates  with Andy Warwick after Ulster’s win over Leicester in the Heineken Champions Cup at Welford Road. Photograph:   Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Dan McFarland’s side could be set for Aviva meeting with Leinster in the last eight

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

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