Donal Lenihan - Columnist - IRISH EXAMINER

DONAL LENIHAN: Tries hold key to Munster’s rugby destiny

The difference in the perceived challenges facing Munster and Leinster over the weekend is reflected in the fact that Leinster find themselves roundly criticised despite their win over Harlequins, while Munster have received a very positive response for their achievement in rescuing a bonus point in defeat from a game that could have run away from them at one stage, writes Donal Lenihan.


DONAL LENIHAN: Monumental Munster effort secures Euro rugby lifeline

Munster have built a reputation on delivering big performances when they’re least expected, and to survive the type of examination they were to get yesterday at the Stade Marcel Michelin, nothing less than a season’s best would suffice, writes Donal Lenihan.

A dejected Johne Murphy following Munster's loss to Clermont Auvergne. The Reds must get something out of their return trip to France next weekend.

DONAL LENIHAN: Time for another Munster rugby miracle

WITH home games against Munster and Saracens to come, Clermont Auvergne have grabbed Pool 1 by the throat and are firmly in control of their destiny, writes Donal Lenihan.


DONAL LENIHAN: Mighty Clermont pack a deadly punch as Irish rugby gets a dose of reality

After the high of the autumn international series and the feel good factor attaching to the confirmation during the week that Ireland will bid to host a World Cup in 2023, it was inevitable that Irish rugby would be dealt a dose of reality some time soon, writes Donal Lenihan.

Munster training

DONAL LENIHAN: Munster rugby is facing a stiff Clermont challenge

I’m not sure how long it’s been since Munster sat on top of the Pro 12, but there must be a feeling of quiet satisfaction within the squad as they head back into European action, writes Donal Lenihan.

CHASING PACK: Gordon D'Arcy attempts to break the tackle of Australia's Adam Ashley-Cooper and Ben McCalman. Picture: Colm O'Neill

DONAL LENIHAN: Ireland must learn from 2007 meltdown

So where do we stand after the autumn interntionals, asks Donal Lenihan?

Michael Hooper's impact has been such that he was handed the captaincy of Australia at the tender age of 23 and has already accumulated 40 caps. Picture: Inpho/Ryan Byrne

DONAL LENIHAN: How Ireland can blunt Hooper’s impact

Rhys Ruddock and Peter O’Mahony will have to workin tandem to negate the influence of Michael Hooper

MATCH READY: Australia star Kurtley Beale during squad training at Blackrock RFC ahead of Saturday's Test against Ireland at the Aviva Stadium.

DONAL LENIHAN: Wounded Wallabies a dangerous proposition

Despite all the upheaval, history has shown the Aussies are a resilient bunch.

Ireland's Dave Foley offloads to Tommy O'Donnell during yesterday's Autumn International against Georgia at Aviva Stadium. Picture: Brendan Moran

DONAL LENIHAN: Plenty of positives in trial run

Every November series carries a game fraught with danger or opportunity, depending on your state of mind.

CENTRE OF ATTENTION: Ireland coach Joe Schmidt backs himself and that unwavering belief and clarity of action rubs off on all around him.

DONAL LENIHAN: The Joe Schmidt you don’t know

Saturday’s stunning win over the Springboks was all the more pleasurable given that few saw it coming in the wake of a very difficult period on the injury front, writes Donal Lenihan.


DONAL LENIHAN: Sexton must show Pollard who’s boss

The visitors hold all the aces in terms of recent form, preparation, settled combinations and the confidence that stems from beating New Zealand last time out.

Handre Pollard: The 20-year-old is set to play a pivotal role for South Africa.

DONAL LENIHAN: Why Schmidt needs to Boks clever

A genuine treat awaits. Notwithstanding the fact New Zealand will be giving Dublin a skip this month, some of rugby’s standout performers are coming to town in November, writes Donal Lenihan.


DONAL LENIHAN: Munster hopes rest with fiery forwards

The Champions Cup is well and truly up and running.


DONAL LENIHAN: Majestic Madigan proving a kicking king

Vintage rugby was in short supply in Europe this weekend with teams more intent on delivering a result rather than a performance.


DONAL LENIHAN: Foley achieves all that was asked as Thomond rocks again

Thomond Park hasn’t exactly rocked of late, a point not lost on Edinburgh or Ospreys who seized their moment to bag rare wins in their respective Guinness Pro12 outings in Limerick last month.

Jessica O'Dwyer, Jamie Lyons, Max Lyons and Emmet O'Dwyer yesterday. More than 5,000 fans will see the Irish squad put through their paces at a Halloween open training session at Aviva Stadium on  October 31. Tickets are available at

DONAL LENIHAN: Provinces prove value of character

WHEN reviewing the performances of the three Irish provinces on the opening weekend of Europe’s new Champions Cup, one word springs to mind for Donal Lenihan: character.


DONAL LENIHAN: This will work wonders for Munster morale

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Different tournament, same drama. Munster are simply incapable of doing things the easy way.

Captain Peter O'Mahony leads the team in stretching exercises  at University of Limerick  yesterday ahead of their European Rugby Champions Cup clash with Sale Sharks.

DONAL LENIHAN: Munster must start with away win

With five Heineken Cup successes over a magical seven-year period between 2006 and 2012, European rugby had become a happy hunting ground for the Irish, writes Donal Lenihan.

BALL-WINNER: Peter O'Mahony practises his ball skills as the rest of the Munster squad  go through an exercise routine during training at University of Limerick yesterday.

DONAL LENIHAN: Vibrant clubs essential for Munster

Anthony Foley and his new management team face a host of challenges this season, not least drawing high-flying English Premiership and French Top 14 sides Saracens and Clermont Auvergne in the pool stage of the new European Champions Cup.

Anthony Foley

DONAL LENIHAN: Donal Lenihan casts an eye over what lies ahead for rugby fans in next 12 months

Fasten the seat-belt and take a firm grip of something solid, suggests Donal Lenihan.