Connacht stay calm amid the storm as Friend issues favourable forecast
You know it's a wild day out west when even the opposition subs are desperately trying to clamber for some shelter on the Clan Terrace.
You know it's a wild day out west when even the opposition subs are desperately trying to clamber for some shelter on the Clan Terrace.
It's four wins in a row for Andy Friend's side now but they made hard work of this one, even if the heavens conspired to make much of the piece a lottery.
A typically capricious afternoon in Galway and an equally fitful outing for the hosts who ended the day chasing five points but ended up happy with...
With Connacht's incipient league momentum stalled for now - three successive wins has rejuvenated their aim to make the play-offs as they eye the seasonal interpros - they could be forgiven for...
They say a man who does not care for his belly will have difficulty minding the rest of his body.
Yesterday was indeed a "red-letter" day for the GAA as Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan gushed.
Anyone would think that the IRFU have always owned the exclusive patent to competent administration. Far from it.
Some time after Brian Kerr's promotion from FAI technical director to senior manager in 2003, he was asked by then chief executive Bernard O'Byrne to inquire as to whether Gerard Houllier might be interested in taking up a similar role here.
Stephen Kenny has confirmed that there are no circumstances under which he will not succeed Mick McCarthy as Ireland senior team manager in August 2020.
And so Joe Schmidt begins the longest goodbye to Irish rugby – in return, Irish rugby hopes that their departing coach can ensure it is the greatest goodbye by achieving a World Cup high in Japan 2019.
It was a smile that illuminated an otherwise joyless, dark night; an embrace that warmed the chill night air.
Seamus Coleman, as honest as a captain can attempt to be in such straitened circumstances of late, attempted to wield some player...
All eyes were on a corner of Dublin 4 last week where a sight for sore eyes was followed by an occasion which prompted sore heads.
IRELAND manager Martin O'Neill says that Southampton youngster Michael Obafemi has a...
When there is no hope left, the safest option is to cling desperately to the past in order to change the future.
Some folk cynically say that although you may think you have met the absolutely perfect partner, it's only because you haven't moved in with them yet.
December in the Champions Cup is like a golfing major on a Saturday; it's time to move and, although nothing is won this month, teams can kiss their title hopes goodbye if they falter.
Regardless of one's opinion of Mick McCarthy - or indeed the wisdom of him returning to a role he last held some 16 years ago - even at 59, the former Ireland captain is not too old to enjoy some beginner's luck.
Former Ireland manager Brian Kerr has described the hastily unveiled succession plan which will see Mick McCarthy followed by Stephen Kenny as "bizarre" - but he still thinks it might work.
There was a time when Munster would treat European auditions with withering disdain.
Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans. There was a time when AJ MacGinty believed that all he wanted in the world was to become a professional rugby player.
Just when Irish football needs an acute long-term 20/20 vision, the FAI will once more be ensnared by short-term 2020 myopia.
JUST when Irish football needs an acute long-term 20/20 vision the FAI will once more be ensnared by short-term 2020 myopia.
Thought I'd start with a few lines of Beckett, if you don't mind.
Irish visitors to Aarhus this week will have missed the opportunity to visit one of the city's most popular summer tourist attractions.
Northern Ireland's Stuart Dallas claimed his side should have emerged from last night's goalless draw with a win after Darren Randolph saved the Republic of Ireland with a series of fine saves.
Callum Robinson didn't choose his family. They chose him.
They share the same surname and occupy the same island, though they are largely viewed through starkly different prisms.
NORTHERN Ireland midfielder Steven Davis is expecting a “hard edge” when his side tackle the Republic in Dublin tomorrow night.
It is only when he furrows his brow that you can see the scar-line above Richard Keogh's right eye, an heirloom from one of his greatest days in green.
Wesley Sneijder. David Silva. Wayne Rooney. Lukas Podolski. Glenn Whelan.
He will mark a decade of service at Goodison in January, this son of Killybegs. In less privileged days of yore, this automatically granted a player testimonial, a chance to top up a modest salary with a pension-boosting pay-off.
Brian O'Driscoll and Tana Umaga may have long since settled their differences but their differences still unsettle so many other people.
Two weeks ago Joe Schmidt rang his Grand Slam winning openside flanker to deliver a sentence that contained both bad news and good news: "I'm not taking you to Chicago, but you have a shot at Argentina and then...."
Brian O'Driscoll has leapt to the defence of former team-mate Jonathan Sexton after the latest jibe from English coach Eddie Jones reignited his ongoing criticism of the Irish out-half.
Ireland could finish the Guinness November series atop the world rankings and former captain Brian O'Driscoll has declared that the team have every right to be bullish as they seek to make a bold statement a year out from the World Cup.
Brian O'Driscoll believes that Eddie Jones is trying to shift the focus of debate by claiming Irish out-half Jonathan Sexton gets special treatment from referees.
Scientists have recently discovered that cows can ascertain certain noise patterns according to mood.
All Blacks legend Richie McCaw believes the New Zealand Rugby Union would not hesitate to set aside their long-standing policy of only appointing internal coaching successors if it meant they could snatch Joe Schmidt from Ireland's clutches next year.
Injured Irish duo Rob Kearney and Garry Ringrose are "highly likely" to be ready to face the All Blacks on Saturday week after losing their fitness battle ahead of this weekend's test match against Argentina at the Aviva Stadium.
There was a time when the rivalry between Argentina and Ireland was more to do with the Pumas' distaste with what the Ireland team represented rather than the Irish players themselves.
The IRFU, in conjunction with Rugby Players Ireland, has introduced sexual consent classes for all professional players in the wake of this year's Belfast rape trial, the Irish Independent can reveal.
THIS used to be his playground. Ian McKinley was just eight when he first played for Ireland. He’d stand in a field of make-believe and sing ‘Amhrán na bhFiann’ before launching the ball from the tee.
Ed Byrne may have two Lions looseheads ahead of him in the queue but that won't prevent him from trying to make an impression on Leo Cullen with Leinster's shadow squad - and he will look to James Ryan as an inspiration.
Anyone who has made the pilgrimage to Anfield - as so many thousands from this country have done down the decades - will know the famous Albert Pub.
How much rugby is too much?
Where are the Munster heroes of 1978 who beat the All Blacks?
A female rugby referee in Ulster was subjected to a "tirade of profanities" and sexist abuse, according to a leaked report.
Another Irish province seek some semblance of vengeance this weekend; in Munster's case, the memories are even rawer than those of Leinster.
Champions do things differently. Even after the event.
A female rugby referee in Ulster was subjected to a "tirade of profanities" according to a report leaked in the same week that the IRFU outlined plans to multiply the amount of female officials in Ireland by 2020.
Ulster's latest hot prospect Michael Lowry is likely to end a whirlwind fortnight by stating his claim to be a long-term option as the province's number 10.
Seán O'Brien says he will be "p***ed off" if not included in the Irish squad which is to due to be announced by Joe Schmidt today.
It might seem that Seán O'Brien has done nearly everything in his sport but when he takes to the field against Benetton on Saturday, he will surpass a significant personal milestone.
Some of the Leinster backlash following defeat to Toulouse was as predictably over-blown as the reaction to their defeat of Wasps.
Before Rassie Erasmus departed for South Africa, he had grown weary of repeating that Munster needed to develop their game if they were intent on once more entering the winners' enclosure.
Another curate's egg from Munster.
Many roads are paved with good intentions; not all of them lead to hell.
Tommy O'Donnell faces another long lay-off after breaking his leg in the second-half of Munster's Champions Cup tie against Gloucester.
NO miracles required in Thomond Park.
Sometimes it's difficult to judge the value of something when the price suddenly becomes irrelevant.
Ireland's players will continue to back under-fire manager Martin O'Neill despite their Euro 2020 qualification hopes taking a severe nosedive at the Aviva against Wales.
Twenty years ago this week, Roy Keane and Ryan Giggs sat in the dressing-room of the Parken Stadium in Copenhagen as Alex Ferguson prepared to deliver his final words before kick-off.
Welsh defender Ben Davies has admitted that his side must temper the enterprising approach usually demanded by their manager Ryan Giggs as influential midfielder Aaron Ramsey joined Real Madrid star Gareth Bale on the sidelines for tonight's crunch clash.
From unremitting chaos off the field to unrepentant stasis on it.
DANISH manager accused Ireland of transgressing the "rules of football" after the most controversial incident of an otherwise dull scoreless draw.
Denmark boss Age Hareide has declared that Christian Eriksen's absence won't be used as an excuse by his side if they fail to inflict a second successive Dublin defeat on Ireland in tonight's Nations League clash.
When meeting Callum O'Dowda, it is virtually impossible to conceive how he might share his name with a potentially destructive meteorological storm.
Ireland's chances of avenging their last two humiliating competitive defeats to Wales and Denmark have been boosted ahead of the imminent rematches with both teams after their only established striker, Shane Long, was passed fit.
"I never will forget those nights, I wonder if it was a dream." - Don Henley, 'Boys of Summer'
James McClean enters the room with a purposeful stride.
James McClean has reiterated his difference of opinion with Harry Arter and Declan Rice but has declared he has no problems with welcoming either man back into the Irish fold.
As the now familiarly hesitant Irish squad begin preparations for another sequence of nervously anticipated double-headers, few might have expected the figure of James McClean to deliver the most authoritative representation of absolute certainty from within the camp.
The name of the game this week is all Leinster need to remain grounded.
James Lowe could follow someone into a revolving door and still come out first. If your car is blocking his driveway, he'll clench his muscles and just push it to aside.
Munster were left seething over two controversial calls from referee Ben Whitehouse during their 30-22 defeat to Leinster at the Aviva Stadium.
Munster were left seething after two controversial calls from referee Ben Whitehouse during their 30-22 defeat to Leinster at the Aviva Stadium.
Tonight some will desperately want to see Joey Carbery thrive in Munster red. Others will pine for the recent days when he thrilled when sporting Leinster blue. Still more will eagerly await the time when he once more dazzles in green.
The higher a tree rises, the deeper it is buried beneath the earth.
James Ryan remains unbeaten in Leinster blue. James Ryan also remains unbeaten in Munster red.
The voices are relatively hushed, for now, but the whispers of discontent may become howls of anger the closer kick-off approaches.
Connacht prop Dominic Robertson-McCoy will receive a lengthy ban after a horror stamp on a prone Josh van der Flier in the 70th minute of his side's defeat.
What's the best way for a team to tackle a defence of its title? Ensure that tackling in defence is a priority.
Easy enough for Leinster in the end. Sometimes you got to send the big boys to a big boys' job.
"The problem that I and many of my peers now have, is that we believe that Ulster, 'our club', are now just a senior academy for the IRFU. At best, Ulster Rugby is how a mere franchise, its primary function is to provide assets to the IRFU. I was a season ticket holder but not anymore. I and my peers are going back to actively supporting local club rugby." (Letter to the 'Irish News', April,...
Funny that it took a near total stranger in Andy Friend to condense the latest chapter of the often acerbic acrimony between Connacht and Leinster down to its fundamentals.
James Lawton - "Oh, call me Jim!" - was a name you could trust. There it was within the pages of this newspaper, only yesterday, promising yet again more of the carefully crafted, yet cutely cutting prose that would, once again, slice through the latest outrage of pomposity emanating from the once venerable corridor of Old Trafford.
Former England assistant manager Gary Neville and retired Irish international John O'Shea have said Declan Rice should be given more time to decide on his international future.
At last the chance a city longed for to translate its grief and sorrow into a searing love's lament.
DUBLIN came up trumps in Cork; a unique twist on a special day as a galaxy of footballing stars paid special tribute to the city's fallen son, Liam Miller.
At times it felt they were like kindred spirits. Comrades in arms; or, at the very least, (damaged) legs.
Cork will play host to a poignant celebration for one of its special sons this afternoon but the whole country will be invited to publicly declare their appreciation for the former Ireland, Manchester United and Celtic star Liam Miller, who tragically died, aged just 36, last April, after succumbing to pancreatic cancer.
Conor Murray has begun taking contact in training, boosting hopes that he can make an imminent return from a troubling neck injury.
Before success, there is always pain. Leinster know. Ask Cian Healy.
Leinster needed this, a proper test of their physical and mental strengths ahead of a crucial month of interprovincial and European action.
Leinster coach Leo Cullen believes fellow coaches, and players, have a crucial role in avoiding any "play-acting" in an attempt to exploit tackle directives which now include a zero-tolerance red card penalty for offenders.
It's a third successive outing on a plastic pitch but Munster will be striving to prove that there is nothing artificial about their recovery from their harrowing experience against Glasgow a fortnight ago.
When Jared Payne was asked during the week whether Ulster would be making many changes to their side for their second successive South African venture, he replied that he didn't think so.
There was a time when Cian Healy cut corners to try and make it in life. Now he cuts corners to make a knife instead.
Dan Leavy will hand Joe Schmidt a timely boost before the official year-long countdown to the Rugby World Cup kicks off on Thursday after the back-rower was declared fit for Leinster's weekend clash against Edinburgh.
The All Blacks may have courted glory and married failure but for this Latin lover, the romantic quest signified just why Union is the game he loves.
The crisp chunk of the blade through water is the only sound she hears. This is where the race will be won.
Another week passes and Leinster are becoming more and more familiar to everyone who witnessed them conquer all before them last season.
Changed times, indeed. Not a precise mirror image of days gone by, though, unless your take on Irish soccer history is viewed by walking through a carnival of mirrors.
Leinster didn't cash in on ambition last season by trading in excuses.
The first rule of crisis management is to adhere to the law of 'holes'. When you're in one, stop digging.
When the clock ticked towards red in Galway last weekend, we were reminded of another dramatic denoument when a certain man from Portumna decided to reach behind him and pluck an unwritten rule book from god knows where.
Ryan Giggs was six-years-old when Martin O'Neill won the second of his two European Cups with Nottingham Forest, as the Irish manager once again reminded us this week.
"Go on boy!" "Ger out of it!" "Here hi!" "On me 'ead!"
He may still be chasing his dreams abroad but it is when he returns home that the reality sinks in.
Whether it was James McClean's characteristically explosive tweet about Declan Rice or Roy Keane's vituperative volley in a now infamous May rumble, the Irish squad can hardly be accused of not expressing their opinions.
We are trying to make out a distinctive figure at Ireland's training base - as opposed to the distinctive figures who are not at Ireland's training base.
Lashings of humble pie all round in the Welsh capital, then.
Andy Friend becomes the third Connacht coach in as many years to welcome Glasgow to Galway on the opening day - and he will hope it won't be his last, unlike the previous two.
Ulster know their only realistic opportunity of silencing the talk of their annus horribilis is by ensuring they can guarantee positive air time by their efforts in this campaign.