Donal Lenihan - Columnist - IRISH EXAMINER

DONAL LENIHAN: Warren Gatland spoilt for choice to make Lions a roaring success

If Joe Schmidt and Eddie Jones have every reason to feel good about themselves after a very productive Autumn series for Ireland and England respectively then Lions coach, Warren Gatland, will be equally encouraged after some stellar performances from a host of contenders battling for inclusion in his 2017 selection.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Six important points ahead of a Six Nations to savour

With three wins, including a first over New Zealand, November has been a hugely encouraging month for Joe Schmidt and Irish rugby in general. So what were the major discussion points?

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DONAL LENIHAN: Another big step on Ireland's road to greatness?

After this momentous win, who knows what this Irish squad is capable of achieving.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Three talking points ahead of Ireland's game with Australia

David Pocock is a force of nature and Ireland will need to keep the ball off the deck as much as possible to negate his influence, writes Donal Lenihan.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Referee inaction leaves rugby at a crossroads

Referee Jaco Peyper is a full- time, paid official, and must be accountable for his performance, writes Donal Lenihan.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Yes, there is honour in defeat

Now that was a test match. Saturday’s game in Lansdowne Road had everything — mesmerising skills, unrelenting physicality, and unwavering commitment.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Are Ireland ready to raise the bar again?

With Sam Whitelock, and especially Brodie Retallick back in black, the challenge facing Joe Schmidt and Ireland has to be tougher than when they made history in Chicago, writes Donal Lenihan.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Belief earns its reward as Ireland no longer fear All Black bogeyman

Both Munster and Ireland will have confidence soaring after success against All Black sides, writes Donal Lenihan. 

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DONAL LENIHAN: Win over Canada offers significant signposts to the future

The contrast in advance of this test against Canada to the series opener against New Zealand last week could not have been more stark.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Evolving Ireland team are going places again under wily Joe Schmidt

A special win, on a magical day, in a brilliant city. For those of us privileged to be in Chicago last weekend, it proved the ultimate in sporting experiences. It had everything.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Ireland beating New Zealand is the stuff of dreams

IF THAT heartbreaking 22-24 defeat at the death against New Zealand in Dublin three years ago and the lessons learnt from the fallout was credited as the catalyst for back-to-back Six Nations championship titles in 2014 and 2015, one wonders what the long-term legacy of this unique experience in Chicago will be.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Ireland face daunting task of stemming tidal wave of New Zealand attack

Donal Lenihan looks at three key areas where Ireland must excel just to compete against New Zealand at Soldier Field tonight.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Are New Zealand beatable? Yes, of course they are

Joe Schmidt isn’t the only one looking forward to seeing his charges face the best side in the world twice over the next few weeks.

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DONAL LENIHAN: After the darkest of days, some brightness emerges

One thing Anthony Foley’s tragic passing highlighted over the last week was just how small and tightly knit the European rugby community is.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Munster remember Anthony Foley in the best way possible

Never before did Thomond Park radiate such an emotionally-charged atmosphere for a game which, in advance at least, the outcome wasn’t the most important issue on the day. Some harboured a fear that, with little or no preparation over the course of a draining week, Munster were vulnerable and exposed to a very good Glasgow Warriors side.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Let’s stand down our famed No 8 shirt

It’s still difficult to come to terms with the surreal events in Paris last weekend. Munster trips to the French capital haven’t been the most pleasant of experiences in recent times.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Anthony Foley's passing has robbed Irish rugby of a massive talent

With the passing of Anthony Foley things will never be the same again and Irish rugby has been robbed of a massive talent, writes Donal Lenihan.

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DONAL LENIHAN: European mountain top may not be as distant as many believe

Eight years have elapsed since Munster toppled the mighty Toulouse to be crowned champions of Europe on an emotional evening in Cardiff.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Peter O’Mahony is to Munster what Paul O’Connell was for over a decade

Forget about the bonus point, the seven tries scored or the margin of victory, the most pleasing and significant moment of Munster’s comprehensive 49-5 win over Zebre on Saturday was the return to action of their captain Peter O’Mahony.

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