Donal Lenihan - Columnist - IRISH EXAMINER

DONAL LENIHAN: Buzz is back but Munster must address shortcomings in attack

On a monumental, if ultimately disappointing, weekend for Irish rugby, one hopes valuable lessons will be learned by all concerned, including those responsible for running the club game in this country.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Painful lessons learned as Euro bubble well and truly burst

From boom to bust in the space of 24 hours. 

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DONAL LENIHAN: Munster won’t put up with any lip today: 3 areas that will shape today's semi-final

The odds are stacked against them but Munster wouldn’t have it any other way. Donal Lenihan looks at three areas that will shape today’s semi-final.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Leigh Halfpenny lucky to get the nod at Simon Zebo’s expense

The British and Irish Lions squad announcement followed the usual pattern — a majority of predictable selections, a few left field picks, some surprise omissions along with the customary bolter. Warren Gatland was always good for a few of those and in Ross Moriarty, Ben Te’o and Ireland’s Jared Payne, he didn’t disappoint.

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DONAL LENIHAN: The 2009 Lions squad announcement unsettled Munster. The lesson must be learned

I have always believed that the announcement of the 2009 Lions squad to tour South Africa, eleven days before that epic Heineken Cup semi-final between Munster and Leinster in front of 82,000 people at Croke Park, played a key role in the southern province’s demise that day, writes Donal Lenihan.

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DONAL LENIHAN: My Lions squad: Getting the chemistry right is key

Given all the other challenges Warren Gatland faces, getting the balance to the squad right is one of the few totally within his control, writes Donal Lenihan.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Munster’s biggest battle off the field as they need Rassie Erasmus to stay

Munster’s squad needs stability and another two seasons under the watchful eye of the former Springbok, writes Donal Lenihan.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Munster and Leinster savour sweet scent of two Champions Cup semi-finals

It will be a cause of much celebration, not least in the Neuchatel offices of the Champions Cup organisers, that the Irish are back at the summit of European rugby.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Stars aligning as Munster defying the odds again

So much has changed since Munster set out on their inaugural fixture in this season’s Champions Cup campaign that it’s difficult to grasp that they now sit just 80 minutes away from an appearance in the semi-final stage of the tournament.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Ireland find the perfect mix of technical excellence

While Ireland still have three tests to play before the season officially comes to a close in June - two in Japan and one en-route against the USA in New York - the Lions tour means it will be November before Joe Schmidt gets his full squad together again.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Ireland must ask the right questions and innovate

Joe Schmidt must have given serious consideration to putting Peter O’Mahony in the starting line-up, writes Donal Lenihan.

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DONAL LENIHAN: England have searing pace but still vulnerable

I’m confused. Just over two weeks ago I left Twickenham happy in my own mind that, if Ireland could negotiate what, even at that time, looked like a tricky assignment in Cardiff against Wales, the game against England in Dublin would take care of itself.

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DONAL LENIHAN: To finish with two wins from five would be catastrophic

Italy showed two weeks ago that when England are taken out of their comfort zone, they are vulnerable, writes Donal Lenihan.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Quality, not desperation, gets you over the line in tight games

Donal Lenihan examines the areas that will illuminate Ireland v Wales under Cardiff’s Friday night lights.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Wales up for it: Forewarned is to be forearmed

Ahead of their Six Nations clash with Ireland, Donal Lenihan says the Welsh players have plenty of reasons to dig deep and deliver a potential season’s high.

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DONAL LENIHAN: England caught between a ruck and a hard place

This Six Nations championship had already provided some engaging contests but, with six fixtures remaining, none is likely to divide opinion more than that rather bizarre game in Twickenham last Sunday.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Super Johnny Sexton shows why he’s Joe Schmidt’s man

Given the close nature of this fixture in the Six Nations in recent years, a 10 point win is not to be sniffed at, writes Donal Lenihan.

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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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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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DONAL LENIHAN: Ireland beware as coach Noves sparking off a French revolution

After a riveting opening phase of Six Nations action, we now have a weekend to draw breath and contemplate what the remainder of this year’s tournament is likely to throw up.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Tougher challenges ahead but Joe show back on the road with rampage in Rome

From the moment the final whistle blew in Murrayfield, Ireland’s trip to face Italy took on a different complexion.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Why Ireland need to get back with Joe Schmidt’s programme

The good news is that the areas of vulnerability last weekend are all fixable, writes Donal Lenihan.

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DONAL LENIHAN: How does a Scottish centre wander into an Irish lineout and no-one notices?

The most pressing issue that needs to be addressed before travelling to Rome is the ease with which Ireland concede metres on the outside, writes Donal Lenihan.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Intensity and possession - Ireland must dominate to beat Scotland

Three areas that Ireland must control to win against Scotland, writes Donal Lenihan

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DONAL LENIHAN: Devin Toner: Stooping to conquer

All great players have presence. The mere fact they share a dressing room offers confidence and surety to everyone in close proximity.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Joe Schmidt magic can inspire Ireland’s Six shooters

It’s that time of the year again when watching three international contests over a weekend is an absolute pleasure, writes Donal Lenihan

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