SPORTS COLUMNISTS

Ian Madigan training yesterday.

BRENDAN O'BRIEN: Richie Murphy trusts Ian Madigan to bounce back

Ian Madigan endured a tormenting day with the boot for Leinster against Wasps last weekend but the man who knows his kicking abilities best has backed him to bounce back against Italy on Saturday week, says Brendan O’Brien.

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NEW ERA: Last night's Cork  County Board meeting, the first of 2015 and the first meeting to take place away from Páirc Uí Chaoimh since 1976, at Nemo Rangers, Trabeg.

JOHN FOGARTY: UCD report puts a cloud over Sky deal

Claims by the GAA’s hierarchy that the Sky Sports deal has been good for the association have been contested by a leading sports academic, says John Fogarty.

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Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks celebrates with fans after defeating the Arizona Cardinals 35-6 in the NFL game at the University of Phoenix Stadium on December 21, 2014 in Glendale, Arizona.

JOHN RIORDAN: Talking over as New England Patriots and Seattle Seahawks set to raise hell in Arizona

How much more hype from over here can you stand? says John Riordan.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Champions Cup a qualified success

News last week the appointment of a chairman and a director general have had to be put on hold for the time being offered a timely reminder of the difficulties faced in satisfying the diverse interests of the stakeholders on the board of European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), says Donal Lenihan.

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THAT'S MY DAD: Captain Seán Cavanagh  shows off the  Dr McKenna Cup with his four-year-old daughter Eva  after Tyrone's win over Cavan at the Athletic Grounds on Sunday. Picture: Sportsfile.

JOHN FOGARTY: League promises thrills but not quality

For the first time since the return of the four divisional format in 2008, four Ulster teams make up half of Division 1, writes John Fogarty.

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SLAM DUNK: Basketball Ireland Secretary General Bernard O'Byrne presents Saint Mary's College, Galway captain Sean Kelly with the trophy after they won the U-19 B Boys All-Ireland final in Dublin. Picture: Inpho/Donall Farmer

KIERAN SHANNON: O’Byrne lays out his Hoop dreams

Another January afternoon out in Tallaght and the National Basketball Arena is throbbing, writes Kieran Shannon.

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DAVID SHONFIELD: China enters the ball game

Forget the London clubs. Forget Manchester. Forget Paris, Monaco and Rome. The most significant foreign investment in European football came last week and it’s not Russian, Arab or American but Chinese, writes David Shonfield.

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Dara Ó Cinnéide

DARA O'CINNEIDE: Time to lay down the groundwork for summer

They say nobody remembers the league but the truth is we all face into the spring competition hoping for something memorable.

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Paul OConnell in action against Sale Sharks on Sundays. Pic: Inpho.

CHARLIE MULQUEEN: Scrap academy and return to club values, pleads Munster hero Ginger

Scrap the academy and give power and resources back to the clubs and you will help to solve some of the problems besetting Munster Rugby, writes Charlie Mulqueen

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PAT KEANE: Mullins gets it right with Outlander

Mullins, what a day he enjoyed at Leopardstown yesterday, was on the mark again when Outlander proved a very impressive winner of the Grade 2 Nathaniel Lacy And Partners Solicitors’ Novice Hurdle, writes Pat Keane.

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KIERAN SHANNON: Indomitable Leesiders are truly a class apart

Wherever she goes, it seems he has to follow, writes Kieran Shannon.

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Munster's Paul O'Connell in action against Sale Sharks. Pic: Inpho.

DONAL LENIHAN: Munster would be delighted to have Leinster’s problems

There were different agendas at play for Leinster, Munster and Ulster approaching their final pool games in the inaugural Champions Cup over the weekend, writes Donal Lenihan.

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MICHAEL MOYNIHAN: The next stage in sports coverage

Over the weekend I got chatting to an acquaintance about stadia and it put me in mind of an event I attended a few ago., writes Michael Moynihan.

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Liam O'Neill

JOHN FOGARTY: Presidency of Liam O’Neill defined by vision and achievements

"Women and children first". No, Liam O’Neill wasn’t on a Titanic lifeboat but as he bids adieu to the presidency his efforts for the often-overlooked denominations of the GAA may be the defining aspects of his three years, not just the reviews of football and hurling and the arrival of Sky Sports, says John Fogarty.

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LIAM MACKEY: The night Cantona went from Red Devil to game’s diabolique

It was 20 years ago tomorrow, mon dieu, says Liam Mackey.

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BROTHERS IN ARMS: Niall and Colin O'Reilly will play crucial roles for C & S UCC Demons in tonight's National Cup final.

KIERAN SHANNON: The Big Interview: UCC Demons' Niall and Colin O’Reilly

The straight-talking, record-breaking O’Reilly brothers are on the verge of another Cup final win for UCC Blue Demons tonight in the National Basketball Arena. They discuss how little coaching there was back in the day and how there’s plenty of it going on in the Mardyke these nights.

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LARRY RYAN: In a world of grey, Tim Smyczek’s act of sportsmanship stands out

Take it again. Tim Smyczek’s simple act of sportsmanship in his Australian Open match with Rafa Nadal won’t endure in sporting folklore, says Larry Ryan.

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ARKLE SHOWDOWN: Un de Sceaux -  wears his heart on his sleeve and we will be belting away from the start.

RUBY WALSH: Mountain set to scale the heights

I’m off on my travels again today, heading to Doncaster for just one ride, Analifet, in a Grade 2 hurdle for mares, says Ruby Walsh.

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Sprinter Sacre and Barry Geraghty

PAT KEANE: Geraghty’s kindness to Sprinter Sacre at Ascot could well reap a rich dividend

I was a little surprised at how much negativity there was about after Sprinter Sacre’s return at Ascot last Saturday, says Pat Keane.

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RONAN O'GARA: Munster rugby need experience in mix

Munster’s great tradition in European competition has always been something to cling to in tough times, writes Ronan O’Gara.

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The two Dwyer sisters from Cork.

KIERAN SHANNON: Top 25: Ireland’s greatest ever female basketball players

Back for more punishment, all so that we can all have even more fun and rows, writes Kieran Shannon.

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At the announcement of details of the Higher Education GAA Hurling Championships Weekend at the host venue, LIT. (Picture Alan Place)

MICHAEL MOYNIHAN: Hurling icon Eoin Kelly says Tipp need strong start

Tipperary hurling icon Eoin Kelly says the Premier County must hit the ground running this year, writes Michael Moynihan.

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Brendan O Brien

BRENDAN O'BRIEN: Handling our boxers with care on the road to Rio

Routes to Olympic qualification continue to multiply but that isn’t to say that getting there is any easier, writes Brendan O’Brien.

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PADDY HEANEY: Make a pledge and go for it, you might never get another chance

Every year provides an opportunity to reach a new height. Once you go past your prime, that’s it. You can never scale those summits again, writes Paddy Heaney.

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Shane Coughlan: The best never to play full senior international.

KIERAN SHANNON: Top 25: Ireland’s greatest ever male basketball players

The eve of another cup final weekend and with it a sense of history about it for those of us steeped in Irish hoops, writes Kieran Shannon.

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Conor McGregor

JOHN RIORDAN: Battling Conor McGregor wins over the US heartland

The NFL and the UFC have a lot in common. Both are vaudevillian nightmares that shouldn’t work but really seem to manage just fine, says John Riordan.

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Gerhard van den Heever: Could have star potential for Munster.

DONAL LENIHAN: Reality check for Munster rugby

IT’S difficult to escape the feeling that Munster’s comprehensive defeat at the hands of Saracens was an accident waiting to happen, says Donal Lenihan.

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