SPORTS COLUMNISTS

RUBY WALSH: Fulham Road benefiting from kid-glove treatment

Five rides, and probably not the strongest-looking book I’ve had, but that’s the nature of racing in the countdown to the Cheltenham.

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PAT KEANE: Melon form full of holes

Riddle me this, how is Willie Mullins’ Melon still favourite for Cheltenham’s Supreme Novices’ Hurdle?

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LARRY RYAN: Reality bites for Claudio Ranieri and roly poly goalie

It was an indigestible week in English football. A man was sacked for eating a pie. And another went after slapping a ban on chicken burgers.

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LIAM MACKEY: Nothing personal, Claudio Ranieri, for Leicester City it’s just business as usual

Before adding my tuppence worth to the wave of revulsion at The Defenestration Of Father Christmas – AKA the sacking of a football manager - a quick word about another extraordinary tale of the unexpected which might have passed you by this week.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Ireland must keep brutish French pack on the move

Donal Lenihan outlines three key battles to decide today’s Six Nations clash between Ireland and France.

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RONAN O'GARA: If…the one word that describes French rugby

ONE scintilla of over-confidence and Ireland get undone at the Aviva tomorrow. One whiff of arrogance, that’s all it would take. There shouldn’t be, and I expect there won’t be. Because if the French bring their A game, I think they will win in Dublin.

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KIERAN SHANNON: When McIlroy becomes a Trump asset, it matters

Trump could do with some help from a major sports star these days, writes Kieran Shannon

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SEAMUS O'TUAMA: O’Donovan lays down marker with superb display

James O’Donovan is the first name on the Willie Whelton Cup after a sensational performance saw him beat All-Ireland champion Thomas Mackle by three bowls of odds at Grange.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Joe Schmidt must put quick end to French renaissance

Nobody is quite sure what to expect when France return to Dublin next Saturday, writes Donal Lenihan.

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DAVID SHONFIELD: Reborn Radamel Falcao big threat to City prospects

The Champions League scripts department has been doing some clever rewrites lately.

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JOHN FOGARTY: Flawed ‘Super 8’ not the answer

Introducing more extra-time matches and freeing up September fits into Páraic Duffy’s long-standing agenda to make more space for club activity.

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DONAL O'GRADY: Lacklustre Cork rebuild Dublin morale

Tight, tidy, neat and efficient. A description of Dublin’s play on Saturday night, apart from the first 12 minutes and later when they were reduced to 14 men. 

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ANTHONY DALY: Premier find way past Déise defensive blanket

Tipp and Wexford are the only teams whose form-lines have been ultra-consistent so far but February can do that to you, says Anthony Daly.

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MICHAEL MOYNIHAN: Adding science to the backs v forwards session

Don’t ask me why I never thought of this before, but at least I thought of it now, kind of, so that’s progress.

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