A summer of soul (and coach) searching begins for Munster rugby

When Scottish referee Mike Adamson blew the final whistle at the RDS last Saturday, it not only signalled the end of a somewhat underwhelming Guinness PRO14 semi-final, ...

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Toothless Munster fail to close the gap on Leinster

It’s not often we get a provincial derby between Leinster and Munster these days with both teams fully locked and loaded. Therefore days such as Saturday’s ...

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Cullen entitled to fire shots of his own

There will be a strange dynamic surrounding Saturday’s Guinness PRO14 semi-final between Leinster and Munster at the RDS. It’s been a difficult ten days ...

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Leinster got suckered into playing too much rugby at a time they didn’t need to

An absorbing Heineken Cup final that lived up to its billing in every way. The Leinster players must have woken up yesterday wondering what hit them.

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Could the Champions Cup final come down to just Sexton v Farrell?

Donal Lenihan on the players and performances that could shade today’s meeting of the European superpowers in Newcastle.

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Leinster and Saracens are two giants cut from the same cloth

For years, the power and impact of Munster’s heroic exploits in Europe haunted Leinster.

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Allow the club game to wither at your peril — and here’s why...

Regular readers will be familiar with my views on the club game in this country and the role it can still play for professional players at either end of the rugby ...

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If the playing personnel isn’t going to change at Munster, the game plan must

We’ve been down this road before, on seven different occasions now since Paul O’Connell, in tandem with Ronan O’Gara, lifted the Heineken Cup aloft ...

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Leinster find their swagger to set up dream final

With question marks hanging over both provinces heading into their respective Champions Cup semi-finals, the likelihood of an all-Irish European final appeared distinctly ...

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Tyler Bleyendaal's refusal to throw in towel will stand to him now

Donal Lenihan runs the rule over the Heineken Cup semi-finalists

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Has Munster game developed enough to stun mighty Sarries?

This time 12 months ago, Munster and Leinster felt bulletproof as they approached their respective Champions Cup semi-final deciders against Racing 92 and Scarlets, ...

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AIL clubs left in the wayside as the IRFU drives on for dollars

I read with interest the recent proposals from the Cork County Board to revamp their championship structures in an effort to cater for the differing demands and ...

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Revitalised Toulouse pose massive threat to Leinster’s title hopes

Four stunning quarter-finals, three of which were decided by a single score, made for a sensational weekend of Champions Cup rugby.

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Somehow the European vets get job done

By their very nature, European semi-finals should be difficult to reach, something Munster and Leinster would surely attest to after both were stretched to the absolute ...

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A weekend dripping with Irish significance

A stranger perusing the team sheets in advance of this afternoon’s opening Champions Cup quarter-final might be forgiven for thinking that a Currie Cup fixture ...

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Sexton must end the histrionics and rediscover his true self

This week represents a step back in time for some of Ireland’s senior players.

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How did Wales and England expose Ireland’s limitations?

If Carlsberg could do Grand Slam-winning opening salvos, they would replicate what Wales delivered in the opening 70 seconds of action in Cardiff last Saturday.

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Major alarm bells sounding for Ireland lieutenants

Donal Lenihan (half length cut) W

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How Munster can reap rewards of west Cork rugby revolution

In the midst of the Six Nations hype, the provincial coaches beaver away with reduced playing resources, trying to keep the ship afloat and a season’s work ...

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Front-foot Ireland rediscover missing groove

Standing pitchside as the players warmed up for yesterday’s Aviva Stadium clash, you could sense the tension. Focused minds, stern faces, sharp execution in ...

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Return of maturing Ringrose will be key plus for Ireland

Even in their darkest days - and there has been far too many lately for a rugby nation like France — the one constant has been the power and efficiency of ...

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Rugby in danger of selling its soul with plans for world league

Is the dam on the brink of bursting? Is international rugby ready to sell its soul? The haste with which a proposed new 12-team World League is being introduced ...

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Ireland must regain direction after taking turn for the worst

Apart from asking directions for the Colosseum or the Vatican City, the question on everyone’s lips in Rome last weekend was: What’s the problem with ...

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Where has that Ireland swagger gone?

Ireland were offered every incentive in Rome to get their Six Nations title aspirations back on track as they watched Wales beat England from their hotel base on ...

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Rome challenge offers perfect platform for an Irish reboot

Three areas Ireland will target for improvement

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Springtime stutters will stand to Ireland in World Cup cauldron

What a strange weekend.

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France have collapsed into a shambolic, disorganised rabble

The French federation is guilty of dereliction of duty for the manner with which they have allowed their national team become an object of ridicule, says Donal Lenihan ...

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Ireland shaken and stirred but still standing

Quite what impact Saturday’s Murrayfield result has on the next time Ireland meet Scotland in September’s key opening World Cup pool game in Yokohama ...

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Scrum must force Scotland into making difficult decisions

Our rugby analyst Donal Lenihan focuses on the three key challenges Ireland must master today in Edinburgh

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Out-thought and out-fought: Next time Ireland must be ready for the perfect storm

Some of the reaction to Ireland’s defeat by England last weekend has been crazy, writes Donal Lenihan.

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An accident waiting to happen for Ireland

When Ireland last fielded their front line troops at the Aviva Stadium, against New Zealand in November, the rapturous response from players and fans alike at the ...

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Ryan v Itoje: The beginning of an enthralling rivalry

Tactical analysis: Three fascinating head-to-heads that will shape the narrative at the Aviva Stadium.

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Spring statements: Six Nations championship littered with internationals desperate to deliver

From fighting off rivals for their jersey to fighting injury, the Six Nations championship is littered with internationals desperate to deliver.

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Even in January, thoughts are already turning towards Japan

In recent years, the drama and gripping competitiveness on offer throughout the final two rounds of Champions Cup action meant the Six Nations championship crept ...

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A case for bringing Munster Rugby to Páirc Uí Chaoimh

For the second season in a row, the prospect of a first-ever Heineken Champions Cup final between Munster and Leinster remains a live prospect with the provinces ...

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Not pretty to watch but so sweet to win for Munster

The journey continues for all the Irish provinces after another pulsating weekend of European action.

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Resilient Chiefs are capable of derailing Munster's Euro train

The omens for a first Heineken Champions Cup win on the road for Munster this season took a turn for the better when, against the odds, Chris Farrell was named to ...

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Joey’s greatest attribute and the rest of the Champions Cup talking points

No substitute for mental toughness

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Losing Chris Farrell could have grave consequences for Munster's season

Over the years, when their backs were firmly pressed against the wall, Munster always found a way to prevail in Europe, writes Donal Lenihan.

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Bragging rights secured but not much more for Munster to shout about

Let’s put this game into context, writes Donal Lenihan.

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Munster must prove they can win big games

Donal Lenihan looks at three statements Munster need to make today to beat Leinster.

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The four pillars of a truly momentous rugby year

These are the four spine-tingling moments of 2018 that will live long in the memory of Donal Lenihan

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A familiar tale as Munster must do things the hard way again

Round four of Heineken Champions Cup action, coming as it does before the Christmas break, is crucial in so many ways, writes Donal Lenihan.

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Unpleasant undercurrent tests Munster’s composure under pressure

Just when Munster were offered a bit of breathing space with Exeter Chiefs recording an excellent away win over Gloucester at Kingsholm on Friday night, Johann van ...

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Players must beware the perils of the pre-match warm-up

As if the game itself wasn’t physical enough, players now have to come to terms with the increasing demands of the pre-match warm-up, writes Donal Lenihan.

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Munster and Leinster facing very different reverse challenges next weekend

Irish rugby can do no wrong at the moment, with wins across the Heineken Champions Cup pools for Ulster and Leinster while Connacht accounted for Perpignan in the ...

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Weighing up the Chris Farrell factor

If Peter O’Mahony goes on to win another 50 caps for Ireland, bar winning the World Cup itself, he will find it difficult to experience a personal moment to ...

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Beirne, Conway, Addison shine brightly in Ireland's World Cup audition

As a sign off to what has proved a remarkable year for Irish rugby, this largely back up Irish side couldn’t have done much more.

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Lion-hearted Rebels with a cause

For more reasons than one, Dublin was the place to be last weekend, writes Donal Lenihan

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