14th September 1959:  Irish winger Tony O'Reilly of the Lions fends off D J Davison of the Junior All Blacks in a match at Wellington.  (Photo by Central Press/Getty Images)

When you evaluate Tony O’Reilly’s rugby career, it’s hard to look beyond the scoring records. The flame-haired wing is still the Lions’ leading try scorer with 38 in 38 appearances,…

1972:  Irish rugby union player Tom Kiernan during a match between England and Ireland at Twickenham.  (Photo by Tim Graham/Express/Getty Images)

Cool, calm Tom Kiernan never had a chance to escape greatness. The Irish Test selectors plucked him straight from an Irish Universities side and from that moment he was on…

England v Ireland - Women's Six Nations

Lynne Cantwell’s story is summed up by the idea that perseverance and hard work truly pays off in sport. The diminutive centre ended her career as Ireland’s most-capped player, with…

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He was only knocked out cold once – playing for Leinster Schools aged 17 – but Brian O’Driscoll typified the unremitting valour that team-mates respect and supporters adore. No European…

1977:  Mike Gibson of the British Lions is tackled during a tour match against the Maoris in Auckland, New Zealand.  Mandatory Credit: Adrian  Murrell/Allsport

New Zealanders rated Belfast-born Mike Gibson the most complete midfield player of a generation. He filled the lead role for Ireland and the Lions in one of the game’s longest-running…

Keith Wood

Keith Wood never took a backward step, on or off the field. A combative hooker, with an intensity that often bordered on lunacy – who can forget him maniacally haring…

Willie John McBride of the British Lions

Not the least of Willie John McBride’s battery of achievements is that he didn’t even play rugby until 17 – yet within five years was a fully-fledged Ireland and Lions…

NSW Waratahs v British & Irish Lions

Superman heads to bed each night wearing Paul O’Connell pyjamas, or so the story goes down in Limerick. Certainly, Clark Kent’s alter ego might be frightened to don anything else.…

To a younger audience, John Sydney ‘Syd’ Millar will be more familiar as an elder statesman of rugby administration, this recognition coming after a four-year stint as IRB chairman (2003-07) and…

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Such was Fergus Slattery’s remarkable longevity that he represented Ireland over 15 seasons, winning 61 caps. With an all-court game that would allow him to thrive in the backs if…