Tomas O Leary

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Scrumhalf Conor Murray, who will compete in his third World Cup tournament, during training at Carton House, Co Kildare. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Along with his two Lions tours, Conor Murray’s two previous World Cups are benchmarks for his career to date. The naming of the 31-man squad on Monday(...)

Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton are the most decorated Irish half-back pairing ever in international rugby. Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Teams evolve. So it was that when the Grand Slammers of 2009, Brian O’Driscoll and Paul O’Connell et al, retired, it turned out not to be the end of t(...)

Leinster’s David Hawkshaw in action in Thomond Park earlier this month. Photograph: ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

The most pressing concern for David Hawkshaw during his sporting childhood was to pick up the correct kitbag on the way out the door. Rugby and hurlin(...)

Munster’s Keith Earls scores a try in a Guinness PRO14 match against Edinburgh at Irish Independent Park, Cork on November 30th Photograph: Oisin Keniry/Inpho

Most of the current Munster squad are inspired to emulate the celebrated heroes of the noughties having watched their then boyhood idols twice scale t(...)

Ireland’s Conor Murray celebrates after the series win over Australia in June. Photo: Dan Sheridan/Inpho

Conor Murray’s new three-year deal to remain with Munster and Ireland swiftly dispels notions of him moving abroad any time soon or that his mysteriou(...)

A dejected Conor Murray leaves the pitch after the European  Champions Cup semi-final defeat to Racing 92 at  Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho

Munster’s seasons are defined by their exploits in Europe. Since their run to the 2000 final, it’s been ever thus. Their Holy Grail. Their Magnific(...)

 Conor Murray: winning a European Cup with Munster would be a real highlight in an already memorable career. Photograph: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile via Getty Images

Thirty five minutes into Munster’s game against the Cheetahs eight days ago at the Toyota Stadium in Bloemfontein, James Hart was undergoing a concuss(...)

The Ireland team celebrate winning the Grand Slam at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. Photograph: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Consulting, farming, coaching and media darlings aplenty, here are the 2009 Grand Slammers revisited. The campaign got off to a stunning start with J(...)

Ireland players  celebrate Jacob Stockdale’s second try against Wales. Ireland’s backline are significantly taller and heavier than their 2009 counterparts on the team which won the Grand Slam.  Photograph: Dan Sheridan/Inpoh

Is rugby becoming a younger man’s game, as well as a bigger man’s game? The question seems particularly apt on the day Jamie Heaslip confirmed his pre(...)

 Jonathan Sexton  leaves the field after  scoring a 42-metre drop goal against France. He is crucial to Ireland’s success in the Six Nations. Photograph: Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Johnny Sexton’s importance to the Irish team has never been more acute, and never been more ably demonstrated than in Paris last Saturday. In part due(...)

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