SPORTS COLUMNISTS

Andy Townsend

LIAM MACKEY: Pole-axed: The story of what might have been

Andy Townsend might struggle to remember Ireland’s 3-3 draw away to Poland in 1991 – the last competitive meeting between the two countries – but it’s a game which is lodged firmly in your humble correspondent’s memory banks.

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ENDA MCEVOY: We need to talk about Fr Maher

Sorry, sorry, sorry. Sorry. Really.
Look, I know that many of you are all Kilkennyed out after events during the week. 

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Christopher Joyce

MICHAEL MOYNIHAN: Christopher Joyce: I’m a positive person

The game in Croke Park hadn’t been on 10 minutes when Christopher Joyce tumbled 20 metres from his own goal, challenging for a ball with Dublin’s Liam Rushe.

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Henry Shefflin

ANTHONY DALY: Henry Shefflin tortured me from first day I saw him

The first time I ran into Henry Shefflin was in 1999. Clare played Kilkenny in a challenge in Johnstown and this young fella arrived onto my patch as a second-half sub.

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Felix Yonger

RUBY WALSH: Ideal opportunity for Jarry to come good

The flat season gets under way tomorrow and there will be plenty focus on the public gallops that many of the Ballydoyle hopefuls will be doing after racing at the Curragh.

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Davy Russell

PAT KEANE: Just what did Russell do wrong on Windermere?

The aftermath of Cheltenham didn’t half throw up a somewhat bizarre story, with Jim Culloty giving Davy Russell the bullet, telling him he would ride no more of his charges, including last year’s Cheltenham Gold Cup hero, Lord Windermere.

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RONAN O'GARA: Six things I learned from the Six Nations

1. The Power of the Mind

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DONAL O'GRADY: Kilkenny’s hurling colossus leaves a lasting legacy

Mia Hamm is a legend of women’s soccer in the United States. She is retired some ten years but she is still revered Stateside.

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PADDY HEANEY: Tyrone out to lay down a marker in Allianz Football League

Some fixtures transcend the importance of the Allianz Football League and Sunday’s clash between Donegal and Tyrone is one such game.

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DONAL LENIHAN: A lot achieved, a lot still left to be done

After last weekend, the World Cup just can’t come soon enough. 

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JOHN RIORDAN: Never forget the heroes who made 1,000 games possible

Missing out on last night’s 1,000th Cork City league game was all the more painful because my first ever Cork City league game was also a win over Galway United at Turner’s Cross.

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SEAMUS O'TUAMA: Ryan’s victory the highlight in intermediate clashes

Raymond Ryan was the pick of the weekend Munster Intermediate championship winners after beating Denis O’Driscoll by almost three bowls at the Marsh Road.

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KIERAN SHANNON: Might Ireland be stronger for Brian O’Driscoll’s absence?

For all we now hear that sportspeople have no obligation to be role models, our rugby players and coaches are.

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JOHN FOGARTY: The Fogarty Forum: Spate of hamstring injuries expose flaws in hurling league make-up

Whoever said you can’t get too much of a good thing hasn’t spoken to the hurlers who have picked up hamstring injuries these last couple of weeks.

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MICHAEL MOYNIHAN: Managers have duty of care to their players

You could probably assemble your own Davy Fitzgerald/Clare discipline piece at this stage. If you need help, just root around in this bag — letter, players, statement, Banner, humiliation, breach, policy — and put the words together in no particular order.

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ANTHONY DALY: Who did I meet on the road to Kilkenny...

I was down in Kilkenny yesterday morning for a challenge game with the Limerick minors. The match was fixed for James Stephens’ new ground on the Kells road but I hadn’t a clue where I was going, so I ended up in their old place in the city, writes Anthony Daly.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Twists and shout: Medley of memories on special Six Nations Saturday

THE Six Nations championship has never witnessed a day like it. 221 points scored, 27 tries, 12 in that breathtaking game in the tournament finale at Twickenham. It was riveting stuff, writes Donal Linehan.

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Annie Power has shown no ill effects of her Cheltenham fall and could run at both Aintree and Punchestown.

RUBY WALSH: Patanne can make light of his lengthy absence

 

All the horses have come out of Cheltenham okay. It was an unbelievable week but now you have to start thinking about Aintree, Fairyhouse and Punchestown, and which horses are going where.

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Don Poli, the RSA Chase winner was one of a number of French-bred horses that Willie Mullins was successful with at Cheltenham last week.

PAT KEANE: French connection a big part of Mullins’ success

 

The dust has somewhat settled now on Willie Mullins’ Cheltenham, so the next question to be answered is how many winners will the master trainer saddle at the Punchestown festival, which takes place late next month and into early May? 

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BRENDAN O'BRIEN: Q&A - Michael Corcoran: ‘It’s not physically tiring but it’s mentally taxing’

So, has it always been rugby with you?
Not at all. I went to Coláiste Chríost Rí in Cork and GAA and athletics were my first loves. 

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LARRY RYAN: Davy Kool-Aid needed now

If the Clare hurlers once turned their season round by convening to drink Davy Fitzgerald’s MiWadi, maybe the same trick will work with Kool-Aid.

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KIERAN SHANNON: Interview: Rob and Marian Heffernan are totally in sync

She won’t be there today. While her husband Rob powers it out this morning around the southern Slovakian spa town of Dudince in a time that should qualify him for next year’s Rio Olympics, Marian Heffernan will be at home in Douglas with the kids and expecting another one.

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Derek McGrath: Has done a brilliant job rebuilding Waterford.

ANTHONY DALY: Striving to avoid the badlands of relegation

My first experience of Division 1B was Dublin’s opening game of 2013 against Offaly in Parnell Park. 

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Jamie Carragher

LIAM MACKEY: Jamie Carragher: I’d love to see James McCarthy in the Red corner

Jamie Carragher, a childhood Everton supporter turned Liverpool legend, says that the one player currently in blue he’d love to see playing in red is Irish international James McCarthy.

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LIAM MACKEY: Little bit of magic proves Messi the main man again

When Cristiano Ronaldo collected his third Ballon d’Or in January, it was to almost universal acclaim, based on a recognition that the award had indeed gone to the greatest player on earth in 2014, as evidenced by his Champions League medal and a staggering 56 goals for Real Madrid.

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Robbie Henshaw and Jared Payne have the power and stepping ability to create big opportunities.

DONAL LENIHAN: Let’s unleash impact players earlier

To avoid the desperation of chasing a score, Ireland need to focus on three key goals at Murrayfield today, says Donal Lenihan.

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