Donal Lenihan - Columnist - IRISH EXAMINER

DONAL LENIHAN: Indomitable Connacht ready to achieve the impossible dream

They beat the Warriors, but can they repeat the dose when Glasgow return to the Sportsground on Saturday week?

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DONAL LENIHAN: Is this the man who is going to save Irish provincial rugby?

It may have its faults but the Guinness PRO12 has managed to hold the imagination of fans, across the Celtic nations at the very least, as it enters its version of Super Saturday in three days time.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Getting Munster out of the red

Musgrave Park has hosted some of the greatest days in the history of Munster rugby. 

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DONAL LENIHAN: Unlike Munster, Connacht stuck with long-term plan and are reaping rewards

Four lessons that Donal Lenihan learned from his latest trip to Galway...

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DONAL LENIHAN: Pro 12 let down by declining standard of refereeing

After a brief respite, due to the unwelcome failure to qualify for the quarter-final phase of Champions Cup action, Munster and Ulster recommence their quest to join Leinster and Connacht in securing one of the seven slots available to the Guinness Pro 12 sides in next season’s tournament.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Interprovincial rugby is alive and kicking once again

With no Champions Cup rugby on the horizon for Munster, Leinster, and Ulster, the clock is being rewound and the internal warfare that defined the treasured inter-provincial series for over a century is back in fashion.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Pray that Joe Schmidt returns for another run

So there you have it. Another Six Nations championship has come and gone in a never-ending season kickstarted by those World Cup warm-up games back in August.

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DONAL LENIHAN: The Andy Farrell factor can now be of benefit to Ireland

AN England Grand Slam only five months after their rugby world fell apart in their own global tournament just serves to show once again that, in sport, the pain of calamitous defeat can serve to inspire new beginnings.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Three key issues that will decide intriguing Scotland finale

The Hardie boys smell a famous victory... 

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DONAL LENIHAN: Maro Itoje a global star in the making

Such was the reaction of the Scottish crowd at the final whistle in Murrayfield on Sunday you would have thought they had won the Six Nations championship.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Simon Zebo needs some arm around the shoulder encouragement

After what is proving a pretty soul-destroying season for Irish rugby on both the provincial and international front, at last, a bit of respite. An energy-filled, try-fest on a bright and sunny day that even elicited a sustained Mexican Wave in the second half, brought smiles back to the faces of a beleaguered management and a restless rugby public.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Three things Ireland must deliver in Italian job

Patience will be key for Ireland to expose Italy’s limitations...

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DONAL LENIHAN: There’s good reason for Ireland to drop debutants in at the Six Nations deep end

Is there any such thing as the right time to blood a new cap? In exposing a player to Test rugby for the first time, what are the management hoping to achieve? Is the player in question likely to grow into a key front-line performer down the line or are you picking someone with a view to adding to the depth of your squad, increasing the options available in the event of injury?

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DONAL LENIHAN: When enough is enough: How much more can Irish players take?

With just two rounds of Six Nations action to go, it’s time to take stock. To date, I have seen Ireland live in all three contests; England, Wales, and France twice each in the flesh, and Italy once.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Disappointment? Yes, but this was a defeat with difference

Ireland may not have been interested in getting into a war of words with Eddie Jones in the build-up to Saturday’s face-off at Twickenham, preferring instead to launch a war of attrition against the lippy Aussie and his English team where it mattered most, on the field, writes Donal Lenihan.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Three things Joe Schmidt's Ireland must produce to surprise England

To frustrate England, it is imperative to stop Billy Vunipola from making his trademark big carries, writes Donal Lenihan.

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