TOMMY MARTIN: Life on a sporting sofa about to get a lot more complicated

For a certain type of Irish sports fan,European Champions Cup rugby weekends like the one just gone will always be a reminder of when life got that bit more awkward, writes Tommy Martin.

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JACK ANDERSON: We are in danger of losing ethical perspective of what sport is about

Participating in sport is generally seen as a good thing for society. It has health benefits, both physical and mental. It can be a sociable activity promoting a sense of belonging, identity and inclusion, says Jack Anderson.

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RUBY WALSH: Longer trip looks sure to suit Next Destination

It’s Gold Cup day in Punchestown and while I don’t know if we’ll have the race we had last year, with Sizing John, Djakadam and Coneygree providing a brilliant spectacle, it’s still a great race.

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KIERAN SHANNON: Time for a new Munster champion. And soon after, a new system

Last July in Killarney, while we stood among the thousands in the Michael O’Connor Terrace looking out at both the majesty of the mountains in the distance and the depressing familiarity nearer by of two lop-sided Munster football finals, the thought occurred to us: This has been going for generations. Our grandfathers witnessed this and, if things don’t change, our grandkids could well be subjected to this.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Airport frustrations and European disappointments, we knew thee well

There’s nothing worse than the chaotic airport scenes that invariably follow these painful European exits.

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DAVID SHONFIELD: Post-Moneyball business models go head-to-head

Pallotta’s backroom group is focusing more on computer analysis of players and opponents, using methods developed by an American data team, writes David Shonfield

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MIKE QUIRKE: Clubs will eventually have to stand up and say ‘no’

With the Kerry club championship finals fixed for next weekend, the county league action took centre-stage on Saturday and Sunday.

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JOHN FOGARTY: Club fare alone can’t fill the April vacuum

It wasn’t the GAA that coined the phrase ‘Super 8’ — they have the Club Players Association (CPA) to thank for that one. And it wasn’t the GAA that labelled April as club month. But if they aren’t going to fill vacuums others are going to do it for them.

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THE SECRET FOOTBALLER: Youth team graduates at every club owe something to wise Wenger

Our man inside the game witnessed first hand the remarkable influence of Arsenal’s Frenchman.

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MICHAEL MOYNIHAN: We do treat sportsmen as adults

I see that Australian sportsman Israel Folau got himself in hot water over the last few weeks with remarks about gay people.

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DONAL LENIHAN: Ryan and Rog inflict further semi-final pain on Munster

The heartache continues. This is six semi-final defeats in European competition since Paul O’Connell lifted the Heineken Cup in Cardiff ten years ago, writes Donal Lenihan.

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LARRY RYAN: In memory of certainty and unbelievable belief

In a beautiful column for sportsjoe.ie last week, Dion Fanning wrote of the joy that has exploded at home courtesy of his four-year-old son’s discovery of football via the hair and then the magic of Mo Salah, writes Larry Ryan.

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RUBY WALSH: Gripping finale lies in store

After a seemingly endless spell of testing ground, the weather has finally changed and the forecast for next week is for mainly dry weather, with the odd shower of rain, writes Ruby Walsh.

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LIAM MACKEY: So near and yet so VAR

The announcement of Arsene Wenger’s imminent departure from Arsenal may have come as a surprise/shock/relief/inevitability – dilute according to taste – but I don’t mind saying that it came as a personal hammer blow to me, writes Liam Mackey.

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RONAN O'GARA: I got three minutes in a room with Jacky. I was honoured to get that

No I haven’t walked the 200 feet of tunnel that reputedly leads from renowned London wine merchants Berry Brothers and Rudd to Buckingham Palace, but I am assured such a route exists, writes Ronan O’Gara.

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RONAN O'GARA: Munster is the one I love, the club that gave me everything. But that guarantees nothing...

I want Munster to win. That’s where I am from. Home is always home. Where the heart is. But there’s a deep feeling there for guys who will be playing in blue and white as well, writes Ronan O’Gara

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BRENDAN O'BRIEN: Champions Cup not the promised cash cow

Officials from England and France sold visions of a bright new order, when they took a wrecking ball to the Heineken Cup, writes Brendan O’Brien

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TOMMY MARTIN: When some human rights are more equal than others

Little has been mentioned of the continued human rights abuses which have taken place under the regime of the club’s paymasters in Abu Dhabi, writes Tommy Martin

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JACK ANDERSON: Ryan must provide more than a steady hand

Tom Ryan was an excellent finance director of the GAA, guiding the Association through the post-Celtic Tiger recession but his ‘steady as she goes’ message was a little underwhelming, says Jack Anderson

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KIERAN SHANNON: Why is praise for Pep Guardiola in short supply?

Watching Didi Hamann and the RTÉ football panel in recent weeks question Pep Guardiola’s standing as a coach for remaining stuck on just the two Champions League titles in a career that’s barely a decade old, we were reminded of the opening scene in March to Madness, the esteemed John Feinstein’s season-long study of about the only championship in world team sport that’s as hard to win as football’s famous cup with the big ears.

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