Former Tipperary goalkeeper Brendan Cummins outlined the levels of preparation a top-level player must put himself through . Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan /Inpho

Dedication to excellence is fine but what sustains those with little hope of achievement?

Paul McGinley at the GAA Games Development Conference at Croke Park. Photograph: Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Stuart Lancaster and Paul McGinley gave insights at a conference with a difference

Mary Immaculate College, Limerick celebrate winning the Fitzgibbon Cup at Pearse Stadium last year. Photograph: Tom Beary/Inpho

Third-level competitions now in danger of becoming irreparably undermined

 Michael Fennelly: “2011 was a big year for me in terms of getting Hurler of the Year and a goal in the All-Ireland.”  Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Stretched his endurance as far as possible, but wonders might it have started earlier

Longford manager Denis Connerton: “We probably could have done without playing Meath.” Photograph: Tommy Grealy/Inpho

Longford manager regrets ill-luck of the draw that sends his team to Navan again

An alternative way of viewing Galway’s year is that it was characterised by extraordinary consistency of performance. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Championship promises to zip through the summer landscape like a TGV

The GAA are taking applications for Director General Padraic Duffy’s successor. Photograph: Inpho

Association clarify those without business-related degree will be considered

Paul Clarke: took over managerial duties for Dublin in Jim Gavin’s absence during the O’Byrne Cup games. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Despite Dublin’s limited run, likes of O’Gara, Howard and Basquel still caught the eye

Supporters leaving MacHale Park in Castlebar on Sunday after the Connacht FBD league clash against Galway was called off.  Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Connacht and Ulster officials confirm rebates allowed in genuine cases

 Galway manager Micheál Donoghue  greets his father Miko Donoghue for the first time since winning the All Ireland. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Micheál Donoghue finds the winning blend as Galway finally land Liam MacCarthy

Galway’s Joe Canning looks on as his late point wins the All-Ireland SHC semi-final against  Tipperary at Croke Park. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Canning’s winning point in Galway’s semi-final win over Tipperary will live long in the memory

Éanna O’Connor: posed constant problems for Rathnew while his  marksmanship from placed balls was impeccable. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Moorefield’s missing players tilt the balance towards St Loman’s in Leinster football final

Damien Comer: “It’s time for us to put consistent performances together, that’s what we’re aiming for.” Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Full-forward claims county showed Kerry too much respect in this year’s quarter-final

Fitzgibbon Cup teams representatives at Croke Park in Dublin. Photograph: Seb Daly/Sportsfile

The pressure of playing for college and county can be daunting for affected players

Winning All-Irelands, for all that it creates a positive feeling within counties and communities, is essentially a private affair for teams and players. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

At the end of a great year, the achievements of Jim Gavin's team deserve a proper context

Liam Mellows’ Tadgh Haran celebrates scoring a goal against Gort in the county final. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

HDC chair Paudie O’Neill says “a savage amount of work” is going on in urban areas

Cuala’s Con O’Callaghan in action against St Martin’s in the  Leinster Senior Hurling Club Championship semi-final at  Parnell Park, Dublin in November. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

With great wins for Cuala and Dublin in 2017, the hurler and footballer has earned a break

Cuala’s Paul Schutte raises the Leinster trophy in Portlaoise. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Offaly champions had conceded 1-8 before they registered their first score of the game

Cuala celebrate their victory over Ballyea  in the All-Ireland club final last March. Photograph:  Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Serving a huge catchment area brings its own challenges for South Dublin club

Kilcormac-Killoughey’s Cillian Kiely leaves the pitch after being  sent off during the Leinster championship victory over   Mount Leinster Rangers. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Kilcormac-Killoughey win over Cuala would prove a big boost for Offaly hurling

Aidan Harte: the Gort player is the only member of Galway’s starting All-Ireland winning team to be taking part in the county final. Photograph: Oisín Keniry/Inpho

Football legend Liam Sammon was on the last Mellows team to win the title in 1970

Slaughtneil players celebrate their Ulster club footall final victory over Cavan Gaels at the  Athletic Grounds in Armagh.  Photograph: Jonathan Porter/Inpho

The idea of completing club championships within the calendar year is still compelling

Moorefield’s Éanna O’Connor, son of former Kerry manager Jack, scores a point against Rathnew. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Kildare club coped with another red card as Rathnew fail to build on St Vincent’s win

The Railway Cup: it appears like the old interprovincial football competition has finally run out of steam. Photograph: Andrew Paton/Inpho

Munster, Ulster and Leinster resigned to fact it’s end of the line after Connacht withdrew

Billy Morgan: synonymous with the rise of Nemo Rangers as a football power. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Munster's leading football counties haven't always ignited the same passions at club level

Clare’s Aron Shanagher. Photograph: Tom Beary/Inpho

Impressive 20-year-old will be a big loss for Banner County’s joint managers

 Australia’s Robbie Tarrant spoils the mark for Aidan O’Shea in the second Test of the international rules series, which ended in two defeats for Ireland. Photograph:   Paul Kane/Getty Images

Kernan’s inexperienced side suffer second Test defeat as Aussies’ intensity takes its toll

Joe Kernan has criticised the refereeing in Ireland’s second test defeat to Australia. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Ireland manager says Australia’s Nat Fyfe should have been shown a straight red

The Australian team pose with the Cormac McAnallen trophy after winning game two and the seriesagainst  Ireland at Domain Stadium  in Perth, Australia. Photograph: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Early goals put visitors ahead but third quarter proves costly again in Perth

Aogán Ó Fearghail during an Ireland International Rules press conference in  Perth, Australia.   Photograph: Ray McManus/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Championship changes the most radical seen in inter-county football and hurling

Joe Kernan addresses his Ireland International rules squad at training in  Langley Park this week. Photograph: Tommy Dickson

International rules series second test: Australia v Ireland, Domain Stadium, Perth – Throw-in 16.45 [8.45, Irish time] Australia l(...)

Aidan O’Shea of Ireland cools down with a wet towel at three quarter time during game one of the International Rules Series between Australia and Ireland at the Adelaide Oval last Saturday. Photo: Mark Brake/Getty Images

There’s a 10 point gap between the sides heading into International Rules second test

Ireland International Rules manager Joe Kernan: he said the biggest disappointment of the first test defeat was the reaction just after half time. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Manager Joe Kernan wants to ensure dimensions are in keeping with the rules

Ireland International Rules players Shane Walsh, Killian Clarke and Niall Sludden on Cottesloe Beach near Perth,  Western Australia. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Kernan’s team can improve but opponents are impressive and 10 points is a big gap

  Australians  voted for  laws to be changed to allow same-sex marriage. Photograph: James Alcock/Getty Images

Perth Letter: while the outcome to the same-sex vote was largely similar to Ireland, the process was different with polls staying (...)

Ireland’s Michael Murphy scored 20 points in the first Test in Adelaide despite being hit with a vomiting bug. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Gaelic footballers lack kicking and catching skills of AFL players, says Donegal captain

Mayo’s Aidan O’Shea gets treatment during the  All-Ireland semi-final replay against Kerry in Croke Park. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Leading medical expert says style of play does not allow for high-velocity impacts

The 2023 Rugby World Cup has been awarded to France, ahead of Ireland and South Africa. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Director General Páraic Duffy: ‘They haven’t succeeded and I feel sorry for them’

Ireland’s Niall Sludden with Robbie Tarrant of Australia during the first Test in Adelaide. The discipline was genuinely impressive in the game. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Ireland and Australia are on their best behaviour but the series looks to have lost its vibrancy

Shane Walsh in action during Sunday’s firts Test.  Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Having gone into Adelaide a rookie, Galway forward says the biggest lesson is to relax

 Ciaran Sheehan during the International Rules series in 2013. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Question marks remain over the involvement of Niall Murphy and Enda Smith

Ireland make their way on to the pitch for their first Test against Australia this year in Adelaide. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

GAA director general says future of series is secure as Aussie players ‘have bought into it’

Ireland’s Pearce Hanley in action at Sunday’s  International Rules series first Test against Australia. Hanley is ruled out of the second Test due to injury. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Manager Joe Kernan without Pearce Hanley for second Test as team trail by 10 points

Kerry All Star Paul Geaney in the air with Australia’s Kade Simpson during the first Test between Ireland and Australia at  Adelaide Oval, which the home side won. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Paul Geaney and Killian Clarke keen to put lessons learned to good use in second Test

Ireland players show their dejection after defeat in the first International Rules Test  at the Adelaide Oval. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/inpho

International Rules: on a hot afternoon in Adelaide the home side threw caution to the wind as Joe Kernan’s men stalled

Darren Hughes in action for Ireland in 2015. Photograph: Inpho

No decision as yet on the possibility of drafting in Hawthorn’s Conor Glass

Ireland International Rules squad manager Joe Kernan: “We stopped doing the simple things. In the fourth quarter, we did the simple things again.” Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Manager Joe Kernan’s team has a mountain to climb after big slippage in first test match

Ireland ’s Pearce Hanley had to leave the pitch in Adelaide because of a suspected fracture in his hand. Photograph: Inpho

Pearce Hanley injury means he will definitely miss the second Test

Ireland’s Aidan O’Shea and manager Joe Kernan after the first Test on Sunday. Photograph: Inpho

‘With illness and injuries, I’m very proud of the players and how they finished the game’

Australia’s Nat Fyfe celebrates scoring a goal in Adelaide. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

The hosts have 10 points to spare ahead of next week’s second Test, a sellout in Perth

Aidan O’Shea says the Irish players will match up physically. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

‘We were at dinner with them and there’s no significant difference between both sides’

 Australian coach Chris Scott, Australian captain Shaun Burgoyne, Ireland’s catain Aidan O’Shea with the Cormac McAnnellen Trophy and Ireland coach Joe Kernan. Photograph: Mark Brake/Getty Images

‘The game doesn’t require over-physicality to make it a good spectacle for the fans’

Ireland International Rules squad player Paul Geaney during training at  St Anne’s Park, Adelaide. Photograph: Inpho

Kernan may be without Smith, Murphy and Hanley for first Test against strong AFL team

Seán Powter training for the Ireland International Rules squad at St Anne’s Park, Adelaide. Photograph: Tommy Dickson

Cork star’s Australian grandparents will watch him play for Ireland at Adelaide Park

 Pearse Hanley is a key member of the Irish squad who play in Adelaide on Sunday. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Joe Kernan: ‘A few boys have a bug - hopefully it will stay at that and no more get it’

Kevin Feely trains in a Melbourne gym with the Ireland International Rules squad on Thursday. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Athy player says Ireland’s biggest challenge is matching Australia’s speed and power

Enda Smith arriving in Adelaide ahead of Ireland’s first International Rules Test match against  Australia on Sunday. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Niall Murphy, Enda Smith and Pearse Hanley have been affected by illness

Zach Tuohy during Ireland International Rules  training in  Melbourne, Australia. Photograph:   Getty Images

Laois man believes formidable array of players on display will attract public interest

 Goalkeeper  Brendon Goddard during Australia’s training session in  Adelaide Oval on Thursday. Photograph: James Elsby/AFL Media/Getty Images

Dustin Fletcher misses out for Adelaide match after long run between the sticks

Jim Stynes at an  Australia training session ahead of the  International Compromise Rules Test against Ireland at Croke Park in October 1998. Photograph: Keith Heneghan/Inpho

Dubliner represented both Australia and Ireland at international level

Ireland goalkeeper Niall Morgan during training at Punt Road Oval, Yarra Park, Melbourne. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Niall Morgan continues a distinguished International Rules tradition in Adelaide

Eoin Cadogan during Ireland training at the Lakeside Stadium in Melbourne ahead of the 2017 International Rules series. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Cork defender has waited for a while to get his chance after first being called up in 2011

 A fight breaks out between Ireland and Australia players in the 1987 International Rules Series. Photograph: Billy Stickland/Inpho

Today, GAA players put their clubs first while Australian rules has shorter offseason

Ireland manager Joe Kernan and player Shane Walsh arrive with their team in Melbourne on Monday evening ahead of Sunday’s clash with Australia. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Manager dismisses suggestions in Australia that his team can be targeted physically

Corey Brown jockey on Rekindling (22) kisses the cup as trainer Joseph OBrien looks on after they won the 157th Melbourne Cup. Photograph: Getty

Irish trainers came in one, two, three, in this year’s Emirates Melbourne Cup in Flemington

Ryan Crowley of Australia and Paul Barden during the second test in 2006. Irish players were attacked before the throw-in and the first quarter was stunningly violent. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

The biggest crowds at the games came in the revived concept between 1999 and 2006

Paul Geaney with Sean Powter arrive in Melbourne. Photo: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

Kernan’s men to begin training Tuesday as side eyes back-to-back series wins over Australia

Ballygunner’s David O’Sullivan in action against Padraic Maher of Thurles during the Munster club quarter-final at  Semple Stadium, Thurles. Photograph: Inpho

Munster club hurling semi-finals and three Leinster quarter-finals down for decision

Dublin’s Con O’Callaghan scores his side’s first goal against Mayo in this year’s football final. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Seán Moran: The day the All Irelands lurched in an entirely new direction forever

Waterford manager Derek McGrath celebrates with Philip Mahony after victory over Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Waterford and Ballygunner wing-back determined to make this season different

Former Kerry footballer Colm Cooper held his testimonial dinner last Friday, attended by sporting celebrities, but the GAA has said it would not support the event.  Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

Association moves to restrict testimonials, though nothing in rulebook prohibits them

Pauric Mahony celebrates after scoring the winning point for Ballygunner against Thurles Sarsfields. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Winning manager Hartley hails ‘best game Ballygunner have ever been involved in’

Bank Holiday action at both county and provincial level in football and hurling

 Kieran Joyce has retired from intercounty action with  Kilkenny. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

30-year-old won four All-Ireland medals and three National League titles

Ballygunner joint captains Pauric Mahony and Shane Walsh raise the trophy after their Waterford Senior Hurling Championship Final win over De La Salle last week. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Waterford champions have been trying to turn county dominance into Munster success

Conor McManus, Ireland vice-captain, during the Ireland International Rules Series team announcement at Croke Park. Photograph: David Fitzgerald/Sportsfile

Monaghan man has been Ireland’s top scorer in every international series he has played

Armagh’s Niall Grimley in action against Seán Cavanagh of Tyrone in the All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals at Croke Park at the start of August. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Joe Kernan finalises 23-man panel for two-Test series in November

GAA president Aogán Ó Fearghail, Ireland vice-captain Conor McManus, Ireland manager Joe Kernan, Ireland captain Aidan O’Shea, and selector Pádraic Joyce at Croke Park.  Photograph:  Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Ireland include just eight players with previous experience for Test series Down Under

 Aidan O’Shea: will captain Ireland in Australia for the International Rules series.  “It’s a nice honour and nice for Mayo, my club and my family.”  Photograph:  Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Fourth international series beckons after a memorable summer campaign with Mayo

Frank Murphy: Cork’s  most dominant personality needs to recognise the county’s need for an overhaul is a long-term challenge.    Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Rebel County continues to count down key official’s long goodbye after 45 years in role

Colm Cooper will be in action for Dr Crokes in the Kerry SFC Final against South Kerry. Photograph:   Donall Farmer/Inpho

Among the highlights are big football finals in Kerry, Mayo and Roscommon plus hurling deciders in Cork, Waterford and Wexford

There will be no representatives from the All-Ireland champions Dublin in the international rules series this year. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

First time in the history of the series that the All-Ireland champions won’t be represented

Dermot Earley says there needs to be protocols surrounding GAA player testimonials such as the upcoming one for Colm Cooper. Photo: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Earley was responding to the upcoming – and controversial – testimonial of Colm Cooper

Dublin’s Brian Fenton celebrates in front of Hill 16 after winning last year’s All-Ireland SFC final. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

While the new systems in both football and hurling cause debate, there is much of the same

The former Polo Grounds in New York.

Influence of the famous Polo Grounds final of more than 50 years ago can still be felt

Ball must now cross 20-metre line under new directive

‘These are experiments, and if in three years’ time there’s a better way, we’ll be all for it’

The Galway under-21 hurlers before this year’s All-Ireland semi-final.

Ulster counties also admitted with championship reduced to Munster and Leinster

GAA Congress, at Croke Park, Dublin, on Saturday morning. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

On three-year trial basis, from next summer there’ll be two provincial groups of five

There have been sufficient signs of life in both Leinster, unusually, and Munster to convince the framers of the Central Council motion that the structure can work. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Can a sceptical public about the merits of being weaned off knock-out competitions?

Stephen Rochford: is expected to confirm he will remain with Mayo for a third year. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

After a number of appointment, only Sligo and Wexford still have vacancies at the top

 Paudie O’Neill: “Change doesn’t come easily but I think it will come.” Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Chair of hurling development committee defends new ‘meritocratic’ proposals

Hurling has always had a shortage of competitive counties compared to football. Photograph: Cathal Noonan/Inpho

Both games can be profitably engaged in the GAA’s latest period of experimentation

Rory Whelan (14) from Fethard-on-Sea, Co Wexford,   with Dublin All-Ireland winning players Lyndsey Davey, Rebecca McDonnell, Lauren Magee, Hannah O’Neill and Emily Flanagan during the champions’ visit to Temple Street Children’s Hospital in Dublin. Photograph: Cody Glenn/Sportsfile

Even at lower weighted majority of 60% no hurling reforms can be certain of success

Lenny Harbinson has been appointed as the new Antrim football manager. Photograph:  Russell Pritchard/Inpho/Presseye

Former county player has been appointed for three years

Darran O’Sullivan argues with the linesman after receiving a black card against Mayo in the All-Irelnad semi-final. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Pacy forward’s semi-final was cut short just nine minutes after his introduction

Con O’Callaghan: “When we started going into the corner we were lucky enough not to get turned over, but we got there in the end.” Photograph: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Young forward couldn’t bear to watch the engrossing endgame of titanic final clash

Dublin’s James McCarthy: he has been  nominated for the Footballer of the Year award. Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Champions total highest since Tyrone in 2003. Mayo’s 12 record for finalists in qualifier era

Dublin’s Niall Scully, Cormac Costello, Brian Fenton, Con O’Callaghan, Paul Mannion, Paddy Andrews and Diarmuid Connolly celebrate their latest win. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Historic success levels inevitably less riveting for the rest of the country

Galway’s Joe Canning, who is shortlisted for Hurler of the Year. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho

All Ireland winners secure 14 nominations, including Joe Canning for Hurler of the Year

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