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PA Preview: Gloucester vs Munster

Dominic Evans previews this weekend’s massive clash between two old foes; Gloucester and Munster. The previous match in a Heineken Cup pool between Gloucester and Munster provided a classic encounter in 2003, later dubbed ‘The Miracle Match’. Munster required a bonus point win along with a margin of at least 27 points. ‘The Red Army’ won 33-6, and also ending …

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Heineken Cup Round 5 Preview

Ozer McMahon previews a hugely important Heineken Cup weekend for the Irish provinces. The penultimate round in a golfing tournament is often referred to as “moving day”, when players in contention for the ultimate prize, either position themselves accordingly for their shot at victory or fall by the wayside. Well this weekend of Heineken Cup action has that “moving day” …

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TBT: Leinster defeat Northampton in memorable Heineken Cup Final

For this weeks Throwback Thursday, we look back at one of the great Heineken Cup Finals; Leinster and Northampton in 2011. In what is considered one of the great Heineken Cup comebacks, Leinster came out on top by 33-22. Led by the inspired Jonathan Sexton who scored 28 points, Leinster came back form a 22-6 deficit at half time to …

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Irish Rugby: Strength In Depth?

Joe Schmidt will undoubtedly be scrutinising the Heineken Cup performances of those on the periphery of his Irish Rugby squad in the coming weeks, writes Dominic Evans. The upcoming two weeks see the return of the Heineken Cup, as the tournament enters the final two rounds of the pool stages. For the four Irish provinces, qualification will be at the …

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Reflection on selection: Darren Cave a wronged player or northern whinger?

Matt Cassidy speaks about the international career, or lack thereof, of Ulsterman Darren Cave. “Unfortunately for me internationally the last few years haven’t gone that well and sometimes you wonder does the face not fit,” a frustrated Darren Cave stated in an interview a couple of weeks ago about his Ireland snub. At first inspection, the comments from the 26-year-old …

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The PA Sporting Week: Who’s hot and who’s not?

James Clancy takes us through this week’s edition of the ‘PA Sporting Week: Who’s Hot and Who’s Not’. Who’s hot? Ronan O’Gara A modern sportsman who is seeringly honest, making him that rarest of professionals. Thursday’s RTÉ documentary was of a similarly refreshingly open vein. Thanks for the insight and the memories ROG! Portuguese Government There aren’t many sportsmen whose …

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Five Talking Points From The Rugby Inter-Pros

After a bumper weekend of inter-provincial rugby, Ozer McMahon delivers from talking points from two titanic tussles. Christmas is a time of the year that throws up an abundance of gifts and surprises, both wanted and unwanted. It’s also a period that consists of a succession of quick fire Inter-provincial clashes that give supporters the chance to measure the strength …

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20 Questions with rising Ireland and Leinster star Peter Dooley

Pundit Arena’s Darragh Cleary managed to meet up with Leinster’s Peter Dooley for twenty quickfire questions. Peter Dooley is a 19 year old graduate of the Leinster rugby academy. As well as recently making his debut for Leinster ‘A’, Dooley was a key member of the Ireland U20 squad that performed admirably at last years IRB U20 World Cup, defeating …

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TBT: Ronan O’ Gara – A True Great

For this week’s Throwback Thursday, Dave Gantly looks back at the illustrious career of Ireland great Ronan O’Gara. Arguably Ireland’s all time greatest fly half, Ronan O’ Gara’s time in an Irish shirt was filled with highs and lows. From winning the Grand Slam for Ireland with a last minute drop goal to cruelly being dropped from the Irish squad, …

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Six Contenders To Replace Jonny Sexton If The Unthinkable Occurred

On Sunday the 2nd of February Ireland kick off their Six Nations campaign against Scotland at the Aviva Stadium. Jonny Sexton is Ireland’s nailed on starting fly half but what if the unthinkable happened and Monsieur Jonny got injured? Who would be the Racing Metro man’s potential replacement? 1. Paddy Jackson The young Ulster man, with five caps, has gone …

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The PA Sporting Week: Who’s hot and who’s not?

James Clancy gives us this week’s heroes and zeros from the world of sport. WHO’S HOT… Tom Huddlestone:   The Hull midfielder had refused to cut his hair until he broke his two-year goal drought. On Saturday afternoon, he did just that with a strike for Hull City against Fulham at the KC Stadium. It was the first time he scored …

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PA’s Top 5 Irish Sporting Moments of 2013

It’s that time of year; Christmas parties, yuletide joy and all sorts of Top 10/Top 5 lists of the year. A Top 10 list may have diluted the quality somewhat, so here are James Clancy’s Top 5 Irish Sporting Moments of 2013: 5. Conor McGregor keeps unbeaten UFC record intact Dubliner McGregor had just two fights during 2013 but they …

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A thorn in Ireland’s side?

Northampton’s stunning 18-9 victory over Leinster last weekend shows a glimpse into the future without the English clubs, writes Dominic Evans. The Heineken Cup as we know will be very different next year. Mark McCafferty, CEO of Premiership Rugby, has stated the intentions of the English clubs are “pursuing other options”. While much has been written on how the English …

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New Zealand of 2013: The Greatest Team Ever?

As the dust settles after another momentous rugby championship, and now having become the sole side in the game’s history to go an entire calendar year without tasting defeat, the question has to be asked…….is this current New Zealand side the greatest international rugby union team to grace the game? This New Zealand side seems to have moved on to …

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CALLOUS IGNORANCE MUST BE REMOVED FROM SCHOOLS RUGBY

David O’ Connor speaks passionately about all that is wrong with schools rugby in Ireland. No one does drama quite like Munster. Last Saturday’s final phase raid will rival any achievement managed by this drama addicted province to date and let’s face facts, there have been quite a few. J.J Hanrahan’s last gasp try reminded us all of why we …

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TBT: Ireland 43-13 England

For this weeks Throwback Thursday, we look back at the famous Six Nations fixture between Ireland and England at Croke Park in 2007. With Lansdowne road under construction, controversially the home of the GAA was opened to both rugby and soccer. The thought of losing to England at Croke Park seemed unimaginable. An emotional day followed with Ireland producing an …

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Munster rugby: Why has the conveyor belt of talent stopped working?

Munster rugby faces tough challenges ahead and needs to invest heavily in youth development to ensure a strong future, writes John McEvoy. Munster may face a precarious future.  That’s not an entirely unreasonable prediction; the weaknesses of the youth system, coupled with IRFU stipulations restricting the provincial sides from importing foreign talent, mean that Munster certainly have problems to overcome. …

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